I find the desert beautiful, but I grew up in the deep dark fairy-tale woods of New England, and the desert constantly challenges my ideas about “nature” and “beauty” and the like. There are some apartment complexes around here with grass lawns, and every time I see those blankets of cool emerald green, I have the same knee-jerk reaction: “How pretty!” Then I remember that I live in a desert, lawns here are unnatural, and it’s a tactic to make an inexpensive prefab complex look appealing. It works, it totally works, and I don’t know if my gut will ever get over wanting to see green grass.
But there are lots and lots of other kinds of green in the desert, even if they don’t usually look at all like what I associate with “plant.” They look like they come from a faraway planet, governed by different rules. For that very reason, they’re fascinating, and I can’t stop looking at them, and looking, and looking again.