It’s been a long time since I’ve been to Los Vegas. It’s not very far away and some people drive there all the time. It’s called the playpen in the desert, full of fun for grownups.

The first time I went with a friend, and saw a show. The second time I went, I went with the man who is now my husband. We hadn’t known each other very long, and his idea was to go spend the day hiking nearby in the desert and then have a nice dinner.

At the time, we lived in northern California, near the coast and definitely not in the desert. I grew up in very wet country, with a very green forest and swamps everywhere I turned.

He drove me out to Red Rocks, which is a nice place for a hike. He kept talking about how important it was to hydrate. Every time he talked about how important it was to drink water I felt very thirsty.

It wasn’t even summer. This was early spring, and not very hot at all. But I looked around and saw all the desert plants and knew I was far from home.

“Look at these plants. Look at how they have to struggle to life here. There is no water here. These plants aren’t doing well. I don’t think people would do well here either.”
He laughed at me, and said it was fine because he had a lot of water and would make sure everything was ok.

That only reminded me that things were NOT ok.

The desert is stark and beautiful. I live on the edges of the desert now. I’m more used to it now, and I trust it more.

Then, I was sure that this was not a safe place.

The plants in the desert learned exactly how to live there. The way the handle water, and how they defend themselves is a thing to behold.

Realistically, I never thought about how hard the plants in my Alaskan home had to deal with the long months of cold.

We can adapt. I understand now how to live in the desert. And I pack a lot of water with me all the time.

We are all so much stronger than we think we are. The day I hiked the desert canyon I was so worried that I would dry out like a Skeleton and never return, that we didn’t go as far as we might have.

What a beautiful memory, of Chris taking care of me, and sharing the beautiful desert!
I still feel shame that I wimped out and didn’t keep going. He didn’t push me, and we had a lovely fancy dinner that night.

As I drove to Los Vegas this week, I watched the desert fly past the windows of my car and I remembered that time. I remembered all the ways that beauty and adventure can show up, and how the plants and animals and people can adapt.

We are all so much stronger than we realize.


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