“The desert is the environment of revelation, genetically and physiologically alien, seriously austere, esthetically abstract. historically inimical… Its forms are bold and suggestive. The mind is beset by light and space, the kinesthetic novelty of aridity, high temperature and wind. The desert sky is encircling, majestic, terrible. In other habitats, the rim of sky above the horizontal is broken or obscured; here together with the overhead portion, it is infinitely vaster than that of rolling countryside and forest lands… In an unobstructed sky the clouds seems more massive, sometimes grandly reflecting the earth’s curvature on their concave undersides. The angularity of desert landforms imparts a monumental architecture to the clouds as well as to the land….
To the deserts go prophets and hermits; through deserts go pilgrims and exiles. Here the leaders of the great religions have sought the therapeutic and spiritual values of retreat, not to escape but to find reality”
– Paul Shepard, Man in the Landscape, A historic view of the esthethics of nature.