“We are Nevadans. We fall and fail and get back up ready for what’s next. That’s how we are made. We are Battleborn.” ~ the man with the Battleborn tattoo
Desert dwellers get this. We are made of rocky, parched landscape. Our roots are deep, allowing survival of the inhospitable. Because to us, we nourish underneath. We wait for the rain to come, and it always does. Even offering just a sip, it sustains us.
We are open. We know the low places where the Joshua trees bend into crooked shadows in the early evening sky. Where the wild horses still run into the brambly void. Where you can see nothing and everything all around.
We are connected. We know the high places where the aspens unite for miles underground. Where the Bristlecones gnarl stories of thousands of years into their beings. Where Stone Mother protects her people of the desert lake.
We are in-betweeners. We know the slotted canyon places, where Bighorns spring between stones that once lived thousands of miles underwater. Where if you run out of gas in the middle of the night, chances are you will be stuck til morning. Where bullet holes riddle the ceilings of saloons with people who two-step fully holstered. Where ichthyosaur bones sprawl as deep as the creosote roots.
We are tousled. We know the sage will bloom with scent and roll away. Where cities will build and collapse to rubble with only ghost-dust footprints. Where the heat waves will help you dream insanity on the long stretch of highway nothingness.
We are withstanding. We know the steps to twirling naked in sandstorms in cities we build for a week. We drink whiskey and shoot bullets into the middle of nothing. We grow organic food in downtown abandoned city street corners. We climb rocks and slope down mountains and lose ourselves in the vegetation for days. We glimpse mountain lions behind pines, bears in the city, and rattlers when we squat to pee.
We are stilled. We know the silence that comes from unmarked crooked wooden crosses at sunset. Where you can hear absolutely nothing but the breeze confiding into your ear. Where the morning sun slowly yawns across peaks and valleys and the crisp night sky awakens the movement from within.
We are pulp inside the spines. We know which plants to cut into if water cannot be found. Where secrets of survival bury behind outlandishly spikey exterior. Where 5,000-year-old rock stories retell of those who also knew, just like us.
We are brokenly unbreakable. We know how to struggle through drought and slip through floods that come to revive us or wash us away. Where hallucinations of rivers streak boulders smooth. Where the ground cracks in patterns that remind us of the beautiful fragility of our ruggedness. Where we know we must stand through the blaze holding patience for the whisper of rain, however long we must wait. Where when it does come, we open in magentas and tangerines and sunbursts for only a moment to revive the desert floor before retreating back to the quiet, undisturbed spaces.
This is how we live here, and this is who we are.
We are Battleborn.
How does where you come from make who you are?
Image credit: Natasha Majewski