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Monday, July 20, 2009

The Desert Through My Eyes

Spring Flowers, Anza Borrego Desert State Park
As much as I love the ocean and the mountains, I also feel a deep connection for the desert. In fact, it is the inspiration from the desert that motivated me to write an outdoor themed blog outside of friendster. Perhaps I wanted the desert to reach out to more people and be appreciated as much as the oceans and the mountains. Unknown to many, the ecosystem that exist in the desert is very complex and fragile, the life within is very diverse and it would take longer years for a desert to rehabilitate once devastated. What follows below is a composition inspired by my affection and love for the desert and my desire to preserve its fragile resources:
The Desert Through My Eyes
by Betchai
The first time I met you
Tears were running down my face
For you taught me how to look at Earth's geological past
Of what was before, that will prepare us for what is to come
You had been mercilessly whipped by the unforgiving forces of nature
Yet you left us with a beauty beyond compare
Showing us that deeper beauty and strength of character 
Comes after passing all the harshest tests of time
When others see in you simply rocks
I see sculpted masterpieces
That were crafted by nature
No man can equal
When others see no foliage
devoid of lushness
I see the inner beauty
of our naked Earth
When others see a wasted land
I see hidden wealth
That would please and excite
Every artists' eyes
When others see all but dirt and sand
I see animal tracks following your curves and forms
Whipped intelligently by nature
Alluring on its own
When others see you as all brown
I would say, have patience to wait
For God transforms this very dirt and soil
Into a wonderland
When others see only the scorching sun
I see the soft colors of light
Transforming rocks and canyons
Into a various display of colors
When others see only your dryness
I see the promise
Of a hidden and peaceful oasis
That supports a very diverse life
The desert, barren it may be
But if we look deeper
We uncover its hidden and incomparable beauty
Teaching us to keep strong whenever we are tested by time
The beauty and magnificence of the desert
Reminds us not to look on skin alone
For deeper beauty is not what on what is obvious
But what lies inside!

Let me end this post with a short description of Joshua Tree and Methusela.
The Joshua tree- its limbs are outstretched like in a prayer, thus it got its name. This desert yucca which is also the title of U2's Joshua Tree Album, one of the world's best selling albums of all time, was chosen by U2 to pay tribute to America: for the plant is a symbol of strength in prayers, of independence, of strong will, of hard work, of how inner beauty is shaped by gracefully withstanding all challenges that passed us. And in the desert, we find the oldest living inhabitant of this Earth, Methusela, a bristlecone pine at 4777 years old. It survives the most brutal environment in the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, in California's Eastern Sierra's Desert. What does nature teach us here? That the oldest inhabitant of this planet is not the one who lives in the most pleasant environment, but is the one who is able to withstand all the harshest challenges in the desert. 


  1. what a wonderful post you have here, betchai! indeed, beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. with all honesty, i've never appreciated the beauty of desert until i met you. thank you for always sharing with us the beauty of nature just as you unselfishly share your beauty that comes from within. :)

  2. Beth, you're my idol in photography. You're in a row of "gifted child". You're special but i can't label you as "special child" hahahaha You're simply superb!

    Cher's photoworks are great too! Wow!Two gifted children in photography! Continue sharing your magnificent works Doc!

    Btw, i just noticed that ratings at the right most corner of our site. Can't believe I was counted- in as top 5 commentators for Salitype Sociey members? haha Really, huh?! Great!

  3. Betchai! everything is so awesome! magnificent! fabulous! each photo is a whole new world in intself and i love your words! "When others see only your dryness
    I see the promise
    Of a hidden and peaceful oasis"......to borrow your words, this post is a masterpiece!

    i can not make up my mind which photo i love most this time because...the desert through your lens is paradise!

    thank you for showing us "that deeper beauty and strength of character
    Comes after passing all the harshest tests of time"....
    gosh, it would be such an honor to meet you in person....make me a model for your photos....i would jump off the cliff.. if i need to he he he he

  4. hi sissy! thanks for the special mention and for believing in us. :)

  5. thank you so much for your inspiring words and support Cher, Els, and Zen.

    @ Cher, I never appreciated the desert too until I came to see it face to face. All I heard before is how dull and boring it is, and how hot too. Now, I realized some of our desert can be as cold as Antartica.

    @ Els, yes, you are in the top 5, yehey!!! Unless the counting of google is wrong, we did not count the comments manually, otherwise, it will be so tiring :)

    @ Zen, would love to meet you and everyone someday too, let's all look forward to our grand EB, sabi nga ni Eng 2 or 3 years from now. oh please no Zen, don't jump off the cliff for me. Yes, sometimes I wish to have a wacky model that would make the pictures more alive. would love to have you Zen make the pictures more alive.

  6. I'm starting to look at cactus in a different view and feel. You certain bring out the beauties in the dessert through your fantastic photos!

  7. What a fascinating and beautiful post! I love this part, "When others see all but dirt and sand, I see animal tracks following your curves and forms..." And the picture with the water falling looks especially gorgeous right now as I patiently wait for more rain here. :)

  8. Your photos bring out the best in your subject, Beth! Beautiful pictures taken by a truly skilled photographer! :)

  9. hey Tes, what a pleasant surprise always to see you here, knowing how hectic is your travel schedule. Glad you are able to squeeze some of your time for us here. Hope you are enjoying your vacation.

    Thanks for the inspiring comment Tes.

  10. Betchai dear i love how you express how you feel about the desert, same here Betchai i love the desert... it's unique when you are there... so quiet, so peaceful, so beautiful, it's magical! like you said, "the desert wants to reach out for more people and be appreciated". Thank you Beth for sharing your wonderful experience and love in nature.

  11. Betchai- you had me blubbering here!!! I LOVE the desert and it's amazing features and wildlife! My husband and I were in San Diego 2 summers ago and I was at the Desert Garden at Balboa Park...San Diego is my favorite place of all time...unitl I found Joshua Tree State Park, and Palm Springs! Have you been out to the Living Desert in Palm Springs??? I was sick I missed it. There is so much beauty in these areas! Another fun place to see while you are out in that area is Pioneertown...a movie set out in the middle of nowhere...on the side of a mountian in nothing but rocks! Pretty cool. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics and poem with us!!! Happy Cactus Monday!

  12. thanks a lot Icy, Diane, Tes, Choi, Car and Julie.

    @ Car, am glad you like the desert too, you too have been to wonderful desert and I love your header which is from the desert as well :) yes Car, what I love about the desert is the peacefulness, so quiet, and the stars, never have i seen a horizon of stars in the sky as if there are no spaces in between the sparkling stars but in the desert only. and many more of course.

    @ Julie, I am glad you like The Desert Garden in Balboa Park here. Oh, I love Joshua Tree National Park too, it's really great for photography. I have not been to Living Desert in Palm Springs, thanks for telling. Next time we are in the area ( we're in Palm Springs almost every year for the Indian Wells tennis event) I'll try to squeeze in that park. Thanks for sharing Pioneertown, will put that in mind too.

  13. the colors, views, sights and all are so good! i an say that there's beauty in everything, may it be desert, fields or mountains. i love the set of pictures, thanks!

  14. kimchai help! bakit nawala ang petsa sa latest post ko na beauty 101 sa edit post ko? nakalagay lang oras?

  15. These pictures are soooooooo pretty ! Thanks for sharing all of these pictures with us Betchai !

  16. beth, i love your insights on the desert! i am a big fan of people like you ... "deep-minded" folks who see beyond the surface, who appreciate wonders that most don't even take the time to explore. your photos, as usual, left me speechless. they are beautiful beyond belief, beth! if you didn't have the time to speak of your love affair with the desert, your photos could stand on their own; that's how awe-inspiring they are! yet i'm so glad you shared your thoughts with us. i learned so much from this post, beth, so i owe you many thanks. i particularly found interesting your last paragraph on the Joshua Tree ... didn't know U2 was referring to that tree. how amazing! and, wow, there's even a 4,777-year-old bristlecone pine in the desert?!! incredible! it's so, so true, beth: just like Methusela or the Joshua tree, individuals who are subjected to trials and tribulations are definitely the ones who persevere in the end and taste genuine happiness. what a marvelous lesson we can learn from the desert! thank you, beth, for sharing all this with us!

  17. I have been to Borrego several times, but the bloom was not as beautiful as it is in this photo.
    Great pictures.

  18. My eyes are feasting with nature's beauty! How I wish we have more time to explore!

    I could spend hours in one area just enjoy the beauty and glory!

    BTW: yung photo ko sa Photoshop yun, natutunan ko lang overnight. I have been learning on my own, bakasyon si anak.




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