It is pleasing to describe a landscape through what is visible and delightful to look at—an abundance of green trees; lush, friendly fields; colourful flowers; flowing water—one would imagine we are drawn to this imagery because it speaks to us of life. Following a similar sentiment, we demonize those places which appear empty and barren. We form a relationship between scarcity and the desert based on heat, drought and lack. But there is a delusive anthropocentric quality to this dualistic comparison of hostile and hospitable when talking about nature. The environment here is neither completely dry nor completely dead. Life is as much present within dryness as it is missing within moisture.

Our language within these spaces speaks of cycles of life and death through the discovery and ruin of monuments, civilizations and relics; the appearance and disappearance of seas, forests and pastures. Within the folds of the desert, legends of revival through divine intervention; a myriad of sacred occurrences and the existence of precious natural resources form the foundation of a contentious political geography—one based on assertive, oppressive claims to the same land and the control of one community by another.

A fascination with birth, fertility and growth.

To be able to settle, live, develop and prosper within a landscape that is perceived as challenging and seemingly bleak.

We irrigate, till and sow—cultivate the lands, cultivate our minds, cultivate our bodies.

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