The desert has always stood out for me as inherently beautiful. Where some see flat, featureless landscapes devoid of greenery, I see subtle beauty and extraordinary adaptions for survival.
For example, a cactus has developed needles instead of leaves to deal with a severely dry climate, one so hot that even the heartiest eucalypt would burn up no time. A burrowing frog of the central desert can live underground for up to two years, until a long droughty season runs its course.
The American travel writer William Least Heat-Moon understood that people underestimate the allure of the desert.
To say nothing is out there is incorrect; to say the desert is stingy with everything except space and light, stone and earth is closer to the truth. – from Blue Highways
When I drove in from the desert to the treeless town of Coober Pedy, I could see how most tourists would find the town uninviting. With its countless mounds of small, defunct opal mines, Cooper Pedy looks blemished. Some say, like the far side of the moon.
Adding to the sense of isolation in Coober Pedy is the fact that there are so few people on the streets. I was told that this is because 70% of the population resides underground. A sensible escape from summer temperatures that on occasion will hit the mid -forties.
Daniel and I stayed at Riba’s caravan park. Riba’s advertises underground tent camping as part of its accommodation but obviously not for camper trailers like ours.
Nighttimes, from our camper we could hear the howl of dingoes. The dark moon sky was alive with stars, the Milky Way and a necklace of planets: Venus, Jupiter, Saturn and Mars.
Daytimes, I set my yoga mat out on the fine gravel in early sunshine and felt the burnished desert all around me.
Here’s a taste of Daniel and my impressions–images and sound–in which we’ve also included the vast painted landscape of nearby Breakaways Conservation Park.
Hope you get converted to the magic of the desert, too.