Notes from the Desert / by Heidi Geist

The meaning of the term culture cannot be simplified into general categories such as art, religion, language, or tradition. 

The culture of a group of people extends inward, to the very biological core of their being, and draws out the behavior, beliefs, communication, and creative expression…a strikingly unique community.

This is true of all people, in all groups, all around the globe.

It’s easy to forget, here in the United States, that hundreds, if not thousands of unique cultures exist under one ginormous roof. Sometimes we lose sight of the importance of each group, each individual, in all their beautiful differences, and all they have to teach us. It’s in the spectrum of the arts, intellect, spirituality, cuisine, ability, compassion, empathy, familial relationships, social relationships, language-that our grand community dynamic is given life. 

We can’t know ourselves without knowing others, and vice versa.

To see the world with lovingly objective eyes is a great stride toward personal transendence and ultimately, acceptance. We certainly don’t have to be unrealistic in our perspective. Bad things happen, traumas and despair are quite real, but so is the human capacity for seeing the bigger picture, for forgiveness and processing. To maintain a positive relationship with the self offers us distance from anger, hatred, shame, regret…apathy.

Life is a journey…one of many perils, successes, falls, birth, excitement, sorrow, etc. This is how humanity is so fucking complex…within each culture-a shared language, and norms, all the creativity, and tradition-is a host of individuals, each even more unique, each with his/her own experience. Within each of these humans is a unique biological ancestry, that can be traced back to the beginning of time, as we know it.


Traveling is the greatest way to truly experience the diversity within this country, and you don’t have to drive through 48 or even 50 states over the course of a year to do it. I am, however, grateful as hell for this opportunity, spending more than a plane ride, or a solo bar hang talking and listening with strangers. I have only come to care more for my human family. Embracing the sharp differences of opinion, and opening up to other considerations is incredibly liberating. The longer I am out here, struggles very much included, the more empowered I feel, and better equipped to be an ear for others, to be a rock when needed, and hopefully a great teacher.

One thing that I have come to appreciate, is my true self, my body as it changes through seasons, my occasional loopiness, and even my regular garlic breath. My clothes are paint stained and ripped, stretched from weight gain and loss, and none of that matters. I am out here to learn, and to show, to share, and observe.

Time is effortless…ripping across itself with the most delicate precision. Time is acutely clear but also abstract and illusory. I am weaving a story of time-history of places and cultures, evolution of an industry, and the connection of our human family.  

Arizona should be a sanctuary for writing my story of you, for you. I will be here, intermittently, throughout the next six months…hands up for the sun!!