Storymaker
Published in

Storymaker

The Lady of the Desert

I plan on being a hermit when I’m an old lady.

I see myself living alone in the desert on many acres of land. My house is fucking awesome, and there is a cactus maze on my land that the kids come play in at Halloween.

I’m the crazy old lady with the cactus maze. Perfect.

I see myself standing out in the desert as a visitor approaches the house in a jeep, a dust cloud billowing in its path. The wind blows my long gray hair and my long flowy skirt around me.

All I have are long flowy skirts and lightweight, tye-dyed scarves to wear because that’s what a desert artist-lady is supposed to wear.

All of my shirts are worn tees from rock concerts that I went to forty years ago.

There are several half-buried wagon wheels on the property because this is the old west and it’s only right that there are some damn wagon wheels. The land is red and hard-packed and dusty. It gets on my shoes to the point that I abandon wearing shoes and walk about the property barefoot. It grounds me.

I install a tin feet-washing basin outside the kitchen door.

There is an abandoned mine within a mile of my house. Nobody goes there because tourists hear voices there. Sometimes I go for walks to the mine, but I don’t linger because the energy is weird.

There are several buildings on the property and one of them is an art studio.

What else would a crazy cactus lady have?

I paint stuff — big abstract murals that only make sense to me — and since I’m old and live in the middle of nowhere, I also do ceramics and have a kiln on the land.

The kiln adds a tickle of mystery. Maybe I also secretly burn the bodies of children.

This is the lore that spreads about me in the nearby town, which has an old west town name like “Rough n’ Tumble” with false front buildings, wooden-planked sidewalks and an old-timey candy store that also sells keychains and bolo ties.

There’s a rumor that there was once an X-Files episode about me.

I call my place “Rancho de Pamo,”or Pam Ranch for the gringos. It’s a hilarious joke I have with myself, because I’m alone all the time.

The stars shine brightly at night and the Milky Way ribbons the sky. I have a stargazing platform.

If I had a partner he would be an ex-rocker, or a reclusive photographer, or a retired ice cream tycoon.

I always have paint on my hands and clay under my nails because I am an artist lady. Artist ladies in flowy skirts who live in the desert should always have evidence of their art-making somewhere on their body.

I sleep under a copper pyramid, but only during the full moon.

The hum of the desert energizes me. It rises off the land. The coyotes howl every night and come on my property, but they don’t bother me.

Sometimes I feed them scraps.

I’ll probably want to get a dog while I’m out there in the desert.

Alone.

And maybe a gun.

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Pamela Parker

Pamela Parker

Pamela is a health and humor writer who also writes one-sentence autobiographies.