Within the Sonoran Desert, we are in a place of migration. Birds overhead flock to warmth and water. Snowbirds from the north load up in RVs searching for rare gems and warm nights. Migrant laborers come in buses dressed head to toe in clothing protecting them from sun and pesticides, searching for work and a future for their family. The river we have been following for 2 months virtually ends here, in a marsh, pushed up against concrete, and shipped away. All that’s left of this source, sprayed, spread, strained sits before me, vastly different than the rushing creek in the Rockies. This river of use, this american Nile, is tired. Tired because it has been uprooted from its source, unconnected to the delta of life at its end and shipped around the world. Much like this river, we are uprooted. A people who plucked ourselves from home soil like an unripe beet, shipped across the sea. There the root grew, looking down for soil to sprout. Quickly we found that all that would sustain were other humans. People who were planted deep in their home soil because an untethered root is hungry. They invade and stangle, their sinewy, dry wood digging its way into the land and any sign of difference. Instead of the unfamiliar soil, we found nutrients deep in the throats of the indigenous and the necks of those we uprooted to grow in someone else’s soil. We went west in search of a rain that would follow, riches that would sustain, and land for our ever hungry roots. There too we dug down into the people that were here and tangling up a river in a maze of concrete and pumps. They say this digging was for progress, to provide us with the water and soil we craved, but when the topsoil blows and the water evaporates where will our hunger go? We pretend this desert of migration and change is meant to be a stagnant field of uniformity and “health”, after all it is full of spinach. Still we keep coming, planting the same thing over and over again knowing it will not sustain our hungry roots. We keep coming, for the sun but not the rain, the food but not the hungry, and flood the places we love with footprints. We blame the tamarisk and migrants for taking advantage of the holes in our self-imported roots for the lack of soil within our tight grasp. Still they say, go west and grow, this time not for the rain but for the aqueduct. Still the topsoil continues to blow away at our feet lacking the care of a root to nurture, opting for the cold hard till of this progress. This desert is tired and lost, filled with people, vegetables, and water from miles away who are attempting to stay, ignoring the migratory nature of the land. But they say food is not the problem, after all it was the apple that caused this whole mess, Eve and her bite uprooting a culture hungry for food but not sustenance.
So plant a seed, press its being of life deep within the soil, finger against seed, seed against soil, and reconnect. The dirt under your fingernails a reminder of the earth’s love. Growing food is where we begin removing our roots from the necks and soils of others and beginning to grow and create our own.