The closing of the saguaro harvest brought monsoon rains.  This photo was taken at the closing of the last day of the 2016 harvest, just before the Bringing Down the Clouds ceremony, marking the Tohono O'odham New Year.

Forty Days: an Invitation to the Desert

For the 2016 Dia de San Juan Ceremony at the Tohono O'odham Saguaro Harvest


The saguaros stand

Arms open in invitation

Extended in praise

Hearts full of birds

And boots

And water 

And they call to you

Come to the desert

The place of trials

The land of healing

The full empty spaces

Where gods speak to men

Where ravens feed prophets

And scales fall

From cynics' eyes


And let the sun purify you

Bake you into something stronger

Let the ancient cells

In you

Remember what they used to be

And allow the soft dry wind

To evaporate your cares

Turning them to dust

As your own body's saltiness 


On your skin


It is safe

In this hostile place

To dissect the excruciatingly imponderable

Tease out the raw nerves

Of your deepest soul

And heal the wounds



Come out here

Into the wilderness

Of thorns and grit

To find your own soft lushness

Once again