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At Least Two Deserts Simultaneously Exist in our Lives. Material, and Transcendent.

In his essay for the UA Press/Southwest Center anthology, Ruben Martinez reminds us that (at least) two deserts simultaneously exist in our lives:

“I am writing of two deserts – one material and one transcendent. Christian tradition casts the desert as its central spiritual meeting place [for those on] an arduous journey into the darkness of the desert, hoping to find illumination in the silent land.”

“This is not the desert I would have written about [earlier in my life]. When I thought of the desert – which was all the time, since I’d been living in it for the better part of a decade – I considered the place part of my birthright through my Mexican grandparents, who grew up in the arid lands of northern Mexico.”

“The journey north into the United States from Latin America crosses the desert physically and symbolically. My people wander into the desert, exposed to dangers natural (exposure) and human (Border Patrol), yearning for Canaan… the desert for me was an herida abierta, an open wound where two nations bled, violently and politically, erotically and spiritually, into one another.”

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