The road to Gabbs

My Nevada is not Las Vegas. It is not the land of mega-hotels and dueling egos, silicone and stage shows. My Nevada is the land of ranches and mines, open range and barbed wire, the land of rabbitbrush and alkalai.

My Nevada is the place of solace my family fled to when my baby sister was allergic to Bay Area smog, when my father was looking for good pay and a lack of law enforcement, and when my mother was looking for the mountains she had sought out like most people seek out enlightenment. The vast warp and weft of non-Vegas Nevada is a tapestry of sky and mountains. It is a place where you can hear god if you listen and older deities if you listen closer. It defies its statistics. It belies first impressions. It is a place of profound reverence and venereal wonder not available to those who don’t bother to seek.

But it took me until adulthood to appreciate the hallowed desolation of a land whose beauty was defined by texture rather than color. A land more subtle and beautiful than those seeking groomed grass and over-developed stamens. It was a land I grew up in, but blind. A land that would never be sought out on Google, but rather discovered on the open road or the unmarked path.

It takes a discerning eye to see the beauty of this wasteland that stuns me at every turn of a washboard dirt road, that challenges me with the unexpected boulder and the seemingly random placement of a tree that proves the existence of god. This is a place of wonder not available to the casual eye. A place that converts the wanderer with the seduction of roots. A place where nothing comes easy, but what is found comes to define the profound.

Nevada is filled with transient beings made stable, where the ephemeral becomes enduring. This is the place where the misfits and lost find the voice of reason and maybe something more. Where everything makes sense beneath a big enough sky. This is the place where biology meets magic and the random meets the preordained. This is a place easy to travel past but hard to ignore. This is my Nevada.

Black Rock Playa

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8 Responses
  1. Bobbie says:

    Thank you for the view of Nevada. You capture, so completely, the essence and beauty of the Nevada Desert. I look forward to reading more of your blogs. It takes me on a wonderful journey. I appreciate your view, you ability to see the space between the trees in the desert and the lives you have been entangled with.
    Thank you beautiful writer.

  2. I did my first road trip to Vegas the Friday Elvis died. The east coast card dealers I was staying with took me on a side trip to some nearby mountain. Pine trees fer gawds sake! I’ve always wanted to return. Nevada is a mystery. I’ve heard wonderful things about it from a fellow who grew up in Wyoming. Similar terrain? Me wonders

  3. Jason says:

    An the blogspehere starts. You should add that photo of your foot overlooking the playa.

  4. Lyn Worthen says:

    As someone who has driven back and forth across northern Nevada several times in the last few years, it’s nice to see that there are others who see the desolate beauty of the high mountain deserts.

    When I finally get around to writing about Utah — from the mountain snowpack to the red rock canyons — I’ll have to link back to this post! People need to know that nature isn’t only about manicured lawns and autumn leaves!


  5. Robert Charpentier says:

    Purple schmerpal! It’s the poetry of the dust. Make more!

  6. Doug Smith says:

    Hey Cid! Welcome to the blogoverse. And no, don’t dial back the purple. The world needs more purple


  7. Cindie says:

    Can I leave a reply on my own blog? Only one way to find out.

    Hey, Cindie, pretentious much? Howse about we dial back the purple and go for a shade of baby blue?

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Cindie Geddes

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