The desert is quiet

By Blanca Torii

Traveling to the desert, the weather changes about an hour into the ride.

We passed white wind turbines. The image of sleek machines was the last of urban sprawl until we reached nature. Then we trekked for about 15 minutes before reaching a spot of level land. Time was shut into a catatonic expanse where for once it didn’t have everyone’s attention. Our group had the attention of a few tourists new to the area, though.

It was a pretty California thing to do, yoga in the desert.

The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is the largest state park in California. There were cacti and jackrabbits (I saw one). The weather was 15 degrees warmer.

The food tastes better in the desert. The wind doesn’t bother you so much. The sky is (somewhat) clearer. It’s like being in an oasis in the midst of the stress of what some like to call senioritis. The desert is silent. It’s big and calm.

Being in an area with that magnitude of solitude led us to focus on the people that surrounded us. There were the kids playing in the outside pool. There were the parents lounging on the plastic chairs outside, eyeing their kids. There were a few tourists huddled together with cameras close by. There were a number of senior citizens staring back at us.

But the majority of pool dwellers were kids and elderly folk. That’s where we filled in the gap in between the two groups. I think I can learn something from both of them.

For the kids, they’re more focused on having fun. They’re worried about play dates and nap time. Then–though I’ve never experienced being older than the age I am now–I can surmise that senior citizens are content with the company they keep. I know from my grandmother that she enjoys having people over, sending correspondence and receiving phone calls from friends. I think our generation is somewhere in between having worries and not. It varies for everyone, a lot of people have their own responsibilities, but the attitude of a young 20-something is pretty universal. Or there is a projected attitude of searching for something to belong to, of trying to succeed. Few of us have felt like we’ve reached something. To be in your 20s feels like being in a sort of purgatory or limbo, not for the reason that there is nothing happening, but because this period feels like a process of waiting for something bigger to happen. Or of an effect later unfolding. Or like being in a temporary space.

I know that perhaps these are the formative years. These years have been recorded, replicated, romanticized–on the somewhat recent shows, “Blue Mountain State,” “Workaholics” and “Girls.”

Not that I’m saying life ends once you hit 40, 50, even 70 or 80 years old, but it seems that stability and contentedness with “just being” seems more common in those ages.

Thought Catalog, a website that publishes articles written by students on topics that are aimed for college-age people, recently released an article entitled “In California,” written by Liz Colville.
“Young adulthood is the battle between pleasure and joy, between fun and obligation, between now and always,” Colville said. “When we’re young, we’re often convinced that everything we’re doing is forever. We will be with our boyfriend forever. We will live in California forever.”

This feeling is not limited to 20-somethings. If you’re 18 or 19 years old, the feeling is mutual. It’s about the culture of youth, of being perpetually uncertain, or hopeful for what’s to come, or somewhere in between.