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Jackie Schuld Art Therapy Blog

Dear Desert,

I came to live within you before I ever saw you. I imagined sand dunes and barren land for miles.

I was shocked when I saw the amount of vegetation. The bright flowers and almost alien structures. You’re a land full of unique rock formations, seasons, and creatures.

You have your own vocabulary. Washes. Javelinas. Monsoons. Prickly pears.

A close-up of an agave plant.
"Agave" Acrylic Painting by Jackie Schuld

Things I didn’t know or understand till I was here.

I know I don’t talk about you very fondly most of the time. This is because I grew up in a pine forest and I miss that lush environment. It also didn’t help that I moved here directly from Hawai’i. It felt like my bones were drying up and my body ached for months.

I’ve now lived with you longer than I’ve lived anywhere. In just a few days it will be eight years. That is hard to believe.

So much has come to me here. Healing after the death of my mother. My own self understanding and personal journey toward emotional and mental health. Jobs I’ve loved. Starting a new career as an art therapist. Opening my businesses.

There has also been much pain here. You know of that too.

I say I would never choose to live here, but you’re also mighty hard to leave. More days of sunshine than anywhere else in the country. Big, blue open skies with gorgeous clouds. A stunning set of mountains. Glorious winter months. That’s all pretty nice.

I just miss trees and feeling a sense of quiet in nature. I miss shade. I miss lying down and not being worried something will poke me. I miss running streams and brooks. I miss pools of water.

I’m sure you miss these things, too. You used to have more of them. As more people like me move to your land, suck from the aquaphor, and derail your natural brooks. There used to be a running river that moved through here. That boggles my mind.

I’m sorry for what we have done to you. I guess the things I dislike aren’t really your fault.

So thank you for welcoming me anyways. Thank you for being a place of healing for me. Thank you for tolerating me even when I complain.

I hope I can return the favor.

With Love,



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