Friday, June 10, 2011

The Meaning of Vast



Too far to see.

Too much to imagine.

Today we drove from Monterey to Desert Hot Springs, up over the plateau (avoiding L.A.), and into the desert. The heat was huge. The wind unrelenting. The sky forever. The hills were slow and creeping so that we almost didn't notice we were suddenly many many miles above sea-level. California is vast.

Vast: The number of almond orchards we passed. The number of trees of one species, in rows stretching further than our eyes could see. Endless: Propagation, irrigation, devastation.

Vast: The number of bees imported into California's almond orchards with one purpose; one use; one reason to live. Endless: our using them.

Vast: The sunny yellow dry dirt. The orchards. The hills. Endless: The sky. How many almonds are in the back of that truck? How many do we need to sustain our appetite?

Vast: Promise of money in the ground. Endless: Our thirst for it.

Vast: White blur of windmills. Quantity needed to rival oil. Endless: Proliferation.

Vast: Land covered with Joshua Trees. Endless: Going. Highway and humans speeding past them, our goal more important than stopping to look at those trees propped by Dali-esque crutches. The Antelope Highway runs through a vast land of wildlife sanctuary, preserving the finite for now. But the future and greed is endless.

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