Spending the last week in a remote desert landscape, I was struck by three facets of its beauty: its silence, solitude, and secrecy. I was also struck by the longing I feel to connect to these spaces and that my soul feels incomplete without them (and I’ll hazard a guess that I’m not the only one if the explosion of visits to wild spaces, national parks, and public lands is any indication).

In silence, I can begin to recognize my own thoughts, separate from my daily to-do lists or whatever the ideological flavor of the month tells me is truth. I can start to formulate some wonderments and whys that come from this moment in my life’s journey. Solitude allows me time to “lean into” these wonderments and whys. To allow them to become more than just a passing thought but instead, expand and root themselves deep in my soul.

But my favorite thing that I get in the desert is secrecy. In this place of connectivity blackout, I can think all my thoughts and NEVER SHARE A SINGLE ONE OF THEM! (and yes, I’m aware of the irony that I’m putting these thoughts on my website and social media, but bear with me).

In the desert I can have a thought, maybe a stupid one, a mean one, or an insecure one. But then I can ignore any compulsion to share it with the universe (where it may even do some damage or hurt someone). I can think a little more on it; maybe refine it. I could also have a deep thought, or a beautiful one, or a profound one and STILL not feel duty-bound to share it with others. Instead, I get to keep it for myself, a prize found in the deep places of my heart. A private treasure.

Here’s my desert revelation that I WILL share (in contrast to the many, many treasures I won’t): I am allowed to have hidden depths … and shallows. I can have a secret place I don’t have to share with anyone. Sometimes, I can be as silent as the desert … we all can.