Alone with the sky. And full of joy.

November 29, 2013 by  
Filed under current, Mothering Space, Wisdom Space

miki joy

I live in the desert. Beyond my backyard is a wide-open expanse of scrub bushes, a few cacti, and low, creosote covered mountains. We bought this house for the view. Watching the sunrise and the clouds shift and the light change has indeed brought me much joy.

But I can count the number of times I’ve actually walked the path toward the mountains on one hand.

There are reasons, upon reasons, upon reasons for this. Time, of course. It’s at least a 20-minute walk to reach the turn where it leaves the view of houses behind and becomes anything close to interesting. And it’s an in-and-out path, so to get home you just have to turn around and walk back the way you came, past all the tract houses that gain nothing from viewing them from the other direction.

But the biggest thing that kept me off that path was that I don’t really enjoy walking on it. I know I should. I see people out there every day, getting their daily exercise and nature fix. But the few times I’ve walked I just felt bored. It’s just too well paved.

This past weekend, though, a friend from out of town wanted to go for a walk. So we went. And even though I’ve seen those same mountains out my window day after day, I have to admit that I was taken aback by how beautiful they were when viewed from a slightly different angle. Seeing them face to face rather than through a window, I felt connected to them in a new way. As cheesy as it sounds, a slight shift in perspective really did change and deepen how I experienced the mountains.

Then yesterday I had a few moments to myself while my daughter was at piano, so I decided to go out to the desert for just a few minutes just to see if I could recreate the feeling of connection that I’d felt a few days before. Maybe it was because I knew that I only had that short span of time, but as I crested the rise at the start of the path, I went straight out into the desert rather than turning to follow the path along the houses. And as I took that first step forward into the open desert, the sky grew a shade brighter, each rock stood out from all the others. The cactus, the bird song, the clouds, everything was just a bit realer.

And the crazy thing is, there is no wall, no hard boundary marking the line between path and desert. No crossing guard saying, “Go this way.” No sign saying KEEP OUT. STAY ON TRAIL. But for the last three years, I’ve been blindly trudging that path. Following it just because it was there.

I know. I know how schmaltzy this sounds. “Mother wanders off beaten bath. Blazes own trail. Finds joy.” Honestly, I couldn’t even believe it as it was happening to me. But it did.

And I gotta tell you, as soon as I took that first step in my own direction, I felt better. I woke up. I had to be fully aware. Choose my own steps. Plot my own course. Pay attention. It is snake season after all.

I picked my way around the cholla, past the lone palo verde tree and the ocotillo. Rocks sank into the earth underneath my feet, but I left no trail behind me. The land sloped down toward the wash, hiding all but the very tops of the roofline behind me. About 50 paces in, I looked up to face an entirely new view.

And I stood still. Alone with the sky. And full of joy.

About our Wisdom Space Contributor

Miki DeVivoHi, I’m Miki. I am a photographer, family history chronicler, and creator of The Book of Love. I create and tend spaces in which we can be truly seen and deeply loved. I am passionate about collecting and tending stories, capturing moments of everyday tenderness and beauty, and reflecting back to people the very best parts of themselves. Come share my story (and share yours if you like) at


4 Responses to “Alone with the sky. And full of joy.”
  1. Carla says:

    Hi, Miki. I truly enjoyed your post this morning. It was simply beautiful, in the truest meaning of those two words together. The cliches may seem cheesy indeed when we share them, but they became cliches because of the truths at the heart of them … and cheesiness doesn’t make these truths any less true. I’m glad you shared, both your words and the photo.

    • Miki DeVivo says:

      Hi Carla. Thank you so much for your kind words. I’m glad this resonated with you. You are so right that there is a universality to these truths. I think that’s part of what makes them all the more powerful when we find ourselves living that story line–we feel connected to the larger human story.

  2. Maree says:

    I would love to see your desert Miki and to take you on a wonderful train called the Indian Pacific to see the Aussie version called The Nullarbor Plain. It is dead flat, semi arid land and practically treeless but has a beauty of its own.

    • Miki DeVivo says:

      Wow, Maree, I would love to see that. A train through your desert sounds so divine. I’ve long been fascinated with all the different landscapes Australia possesses. And you’re welcome to visit ours anytime =).