Desert Essay

Just newly come to the valley, I hadn’t wanted to be one of those Las Vegas residents that sit at home under the air conditioning, waiting for the late spring, summer, and fall to be over. Under the broiling heat, I wanted to see the desert flora and fauna that makes Las Vegas famoustumbleweeds and cactus. So my partner and I discussed the situation.

I was recently diagnosed with an exotic disease (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) and I was unable to go far from home. We climbed into the car, drove north on Eastern, and discovered Sunset Park (between Eastern and Sunset streets). We weren’t the only ones who had found the thought of the park, inviting on a Sunday. Several families fished, sunned, played, and ate near the pond. Trees and shade invited the visitor to sit down and enjoy the day. The sun shone.

In 2003, just newly come to the valley, I hadn’t wanted to be one of those Las Vegas residents that sit at home under the air conditioning, waiting for the late spring, summer, and fall to be over. Under the broiling heat, I wanted to see the desert flora and fauna that Las Vegas is famous—tumbleweeds and cactus. So my husband and I discussed the situation.

I was recently diagnosed with an exotic disease (Wegener’s Granulomatosis) and unable to go far from home. We climbed into our car, drove north on Eastern, and discovered Sunset Park (Eastern and Sunset streets). We weren’t the only ones who had found the thought of the park, inviting on a Sunday. Several families fished, sunned, played, and ate near the pond. Trees and shade invited the visitor to sit down and enjoy the day. The sun shone.

Two boys found a ground hog. They looked down the hole, while the animal looked at them. The pond in the middle of the park was filled with ducks and coots. The coots dropped down into the water and bobbed back—black and wet. A small green hummingbird dashed over the water eating the bugs.

The park was clean and inviting. One of the park attendants cleared the garbage cans near us as we sat listening to the wind, ducks, and people. Still I was looking for a less green and more desert-like place.

Past the seeded areas, the park was covered in thistle weeds and cactus. Inside the weeds, a small desert rabbit, brown and black, ate grass next to a sprinkler system. He hopped away when he saw us, his pink ears twitching. A black bird stood in a tree and crowed at us. Several desert sparrows flew close to the ground as people ran, marched, and walked around the park’s jogging track.

That day, life teemed around me. For awhile I forgot my devastation. I ate a smoothie.