A perfect ratio

The dunes at Jockey's Ridge, on the outer banks of North Carolina, are great for strolling, kite flying, and staying sane.  September, 2013

The dunes at Jockey’s Ridge, on the outer banks of North Carolina,
are great for strolling, kite flying, and staying sane. September, 2013

“There is no shortage of water in the desert but exactly the right amount , a perfect ratio of water to rock, water to sand, insuring that wide, free, open, generous spacing among plants and animals…There is no lack of water here unless you try to establish a city where no city should be.”Edward Abbey

Sometimes we make the mistake of seeing deficits in any situation that lacks the elements to which we are most accustomed.  Thus a geographic region, a climate, a culture, a house or even a person may seem inadequate to us, when it’s actually our perception that needs adjusting.

I don’t count myself among those who love the desert, but I must admit that there’s a singular beauty in wide panoramas of sand, uninterrupted by the water, trees and flowers I normally prefer.  There’s a sort of mental cleansing that happens when one is in such an environment, which complements the physical exertion of walking in sand.  Climbing a high dune often ends in a breathlessness that is quite fitting to the expansive view that rewards plodding to the top.  If the dunes are adjacent to water, a stunning combination of sand, sea and sky stretches as far as the eye can see.

If you are fortunate enough to live near such an area, you might find a quick outing there is a perfect antidote to the overwhelming stimulation of contemporary life.  If you are too far away to visit a desert or dune in person, a bit of the same serenity can be found in any area free of visual distractions and noise.  Some of the long, monochromatic and unadorned hallways of the massive medical center where Jeff spent so much time this past year provided me with a refreshing break when I would stroll through them in the evenings after most employees had left for the day.

What we usually might see as barren can be a balm to the soul when we feel bombarded with too much to process in too short a time.  If you’re feeling overwhelmed, I wish you an expansive place of quiet where you can escape, even if only briefly, to a perfect ratio of less and more.

One year ago today:

Something is there

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! I like this photo and quote. I find myself studying this photo, too; it’s a definite contrast to the busy painting at the medical center, but it’s enticing in a different way.
    Abbey’s quote reminds me of Arizona, where there are more grasses, brush and cactuses than in your photo, but to me, represents an ecosystem in balance. It would have to be in balance, for the Saguaro 🌵 to live so long, wouldn’t it?
    There are quite a few people in your photo. They must have brought their own water. 😄

    • I didn’t see anyone with water. We didn’t have any. Remember, this was not Arizona but the North Carolina coast. It was cool, not hot, and easy for a relatively fit person to walk for an hour or two (maybe longer) without needing refreshments.

Thanks for encouraging others by sharing your thoughts:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: