Edward Abbey Desert Solitaire in the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve

by Audrey Medina

The first rays of daylight creep across the jagged black landscape, pushing shadows back beyond the dormant volcano to the sea. The birds have been singing for more than an hour, their solos building to a crescendo just before dawn. Loggerhead shrikes, red-eyed phainopeplas, canon wrens, tiny gray darters. Slowly, the chorus dwindles with the rising temperature.

I sit in my lawn chair by the fire, still wearing my sleeping bag. The sun rises into my eyes, and I only have a few more minutes alone with the desert while my friends are asleep. I sit and listen. The wind is p...

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