Spiritual Director, Desert Rain Community
Desolate Beauty: A Contemplation of the Desert
BY DAVID MORRISON
@ VOL 16
ON JUN 29, 2017
Contemplative writer David Morrison and Monk Drums (El Paso vol.11) creator Jacob Neria takes us on a journey of of sound, image, and spoken word celebrates a vision of desert spirituality.
As David explains, there is a beauty that can be experienced in the scarcity of desert if we come to it with contemplative eyes. The word, “contemplation,” in Latin, means to “gaze intently upon.” It’s possible to walk in desert landscapes and witness its emptiness until a stunning beauty arises. And further, this beauty begins to gaze into the beholder, and one is transformed forever. In the Irish language, “to contemplate,” means to place oneself at the “edge of waiting.” The desert is a liminal space on the edge of what’s familiar, and it draws and enchants those who dare to walk in its kenotic embrace.
The images are not professionally shot nature photos, but rather the simple snapshots of a lifelong desert walker. The haikus are not literary as much as they are experiential. Mary Oliver sums it up perfectly: "Every day I walk out into the world / to be dazzled, then to be reflective."
David Morrison and Jacob Neria are members of Desert Rain Community, a contemporary community of Christian contemplative monks located outside El Paso in Chaparral, NM.