A clapping cloudburst created an instant stream in Palm Canyon Wash—a small gush of water with a tenuous life span. With one strong breath the cloud fled, leaving the birthing steam.
I sat by the newly created brook, which had awakened after a long hibernation. Although it had been here before, the brook chose to meander a slightly different path this time. “This is my home,” she said, “but today, I go this way.” I heard rhythmic trickles, as the water moved over smooth stones and dry roots.
I listen to her story. She is born about once a year. And as she travels, she sings her song. Her song is her life history; an autobiography. It is repeated joyously over and over. It is the history of this place; here, she is inseparable from the Earth.
“My ancestors are from the Colorado River,” she says, “and my descendants are in the Salton Sea. I have been here for millennia. I will travel this way again and again, and my sand brothers and sisters will come with me to our final home.” This melody is repeated in a mesmerizing chant, soothing and hypnotic to the ear.
If you are ever by a desert stream, stop and listen to her story. If you feel a deep sense of peace and a loss of time, you have heard the river’s song.