As deserts go, the place I live now is modest. Albuquerque is in the 10 inch (25 cm) per year range. The deserts of my youth, where I developed my fondness for arid landscapes, were the real deal – creosote and year-round sun. I can remember once as a teenager sitting with a friend on a bluff overlooking the Colorado River at Yuma, Arizona. Average annual rainfall there is 3 inches (7.5 cm). Rivers have a whole different meaning in a place like that.
Aquafornia, a blog I’ve been reading with pleasure lately, has a post today about Borrego Springs, a community on the edge of the Imperial Valley not all that far from where I sat those many years ago looking down on the Colorado. These desert places I so loved in my youth are improbable – the bone-dry creosote landscape interspersed with splotches of artificial green. From Aquafornia’s bit on Borrego Springs:
On my trip to the Salton Sea this summer, it was hard not to notice the bright, improbably green agriculture growing in the middle of the hot, dry barren desert. The town is facing fundamental questions about how to survive with limited water resources and how this could change the character of the whole town.