A love letter to: the desert


Every place you are, you’re distinct. Sometimes you’re cappuccino; other times, you’re pink like the Arabian desert. In Antarctica, you’re white everywhere, from the clouds above to the ice below. You can be hot or cold, flat or mountainous, with sand dunes and cliffs that extend far into the sky.

One characteristic that always remains is the quiet. Nothing lives in you. There are no birds tweeting, no sounds of humanity, flora, or fauna. I might hear a wolf howling in the distance, but rarely. Water gives life, and without it, there’s silence. In that space, I feel grounded and connected to the earth.

The focus of my training is not at all on athletic performance. I run so I can reach you, desert. With my efforts, I want to show what our world will be like if we don’t take action on water today. If we don’t do something now, if we continue to waste and overuse our underground resources, there will be a desert environment everywhere we go. You will encroach upon all our communities and societies.

As I stride through you, I can move at a pace that allows others to join me. I can speak to locals and understand their water issues. I’ve run in areas near your edges where they turned off the taps because they’ve run dry. Kids stay home from school to wait for the water trucks. Fights break out in the streets. Those are harrowing sights to see.

When I’m not with you, I think of you often. Your stark beauty moves me to protect our planet. The people I meet in your expanse also inspire me, people who have figured out how to adapt and live close to your incredibly harsh habitat.

Your enormity makes me feel small, dwarfed in size, almost faint in significance. It helps me to realize our earth is old, that it existed long before us and will remain long after we’re gone.

But I also grasp how much influence we can have. We’re not inconsequential at all. If we don’t figure out how to act today, you show us our future tomorrow. People think you’re far away, but you will come to our doorstep if we’re not careful. With your help, I hope we can all understand this and act to change.

Love, Mina

48 hours in Milan

There are over 100 miles of cycling paths inside the city.