Some of the greatest fun of hiking the desert is stumbling upon interesting garbage. Some people take stuff out in the desert to shoot, some of it is washed down from the mountain from long-ago work crews (New Deal era), some are from railroad crews who made their own garbage dumps for their camps (around 1919).
Years ago I had a Death Dream with a funny ending.
I was in a school, full of students and activity going on that I guess you would find typical for a school. People interested in each other and in their work. I felt welcome here, and I “got it” as far as how to “be a student”, but I wasn’t into it. I knew the people around me were sweet souls, and progressing happily, but I felt like I was going along with it like I had no choice and had to resign myself to a life I didn’t fit into. A pretender, due to no fault of my own.
A teacher, full of life and enthusiasm for the job and the students’ processes met me as I walked a bit off of campus to hang out by myself in the grass at the school’s border. I can’t remember his face, but I remember his smile being genuine and I felt a connection to him because he was pretty loving toward me. He asked me “where do you want to go”? Excited to be granted what I felt was going to be my wish made true, I pointed at the horizon where the beautiful sun was setting upon a simple landscape made beautiful by the golden light, and said “There”. I thought I would be taken there immediately – thought we would fly there – and was excited to have it happen. Instead, he smiled, took my hand and lead me down the grassy hill as I became aware immediately that he was going to take me there, but we were going to walk. I was disappointed, but also had to laugh inside at the typical nature of having a life where human rules apply, and while I was alive I had to walk life, not fly. (Ok, well, I thought it was funny).
Violin honey, tears that are weak from clinging, fall into the dust of the desert for eternal safekeeping. I miss December’s sunset, saturating the fallen leaves jerking around weightlessly inside the wooden cages of sleeping things.
Music – Cat Stevens, Morning Has Broken. Because my words are true, but they decant only sadness here. Mr. Cat’s song, from a long long time ago, expresses better my whole feelz about December. I recommend listening to it whilst viewing the horribly shot, low-rez, vertical video to get my meaning.
I saw a fluff of rabbit fur, just outside the ever-open door of an earth den. I took it up and held it like a glowing orb. Soft and magnificent, flecked brown-grey strands. I turned it over and the black flag marker told me that this is a jackrabbit’s pedigree. It was the entire tail, not just fluff. I felt the tiny-delicate tentacle bones. Surmised it had just made it after a frightful run. (the coyote chasing, stretching it’s neck, it’s jaw, snapping!) Little jackrabbit, its heart exploding like fireworks, sitting still in the dark womb of home…
Winter is turning into Spring but to me it feels like an ugly in-between. Maybe it’s the day, weighted down by a too-early waking; the anxiety-high of timekeeping; the tired eyes of midlight.
I’m going to make something special out of the rabbit’s tail.
I found this amazing and mysterious group of man-made structures yesterday. There are five total, and each one is carefully made. The soil around each one is undisturbed and I saw no sign of recent people. From where I parked on a dirt road, I walked an hour through the desert up to this foothill that sits right up against a bare and rugged mountain range, just behind what you see here.
Each one is beautifully formed, made up of a combined possible hundreds of rocks, some of them quite heavy, I’m sure! They are around 3- 4.5 feet tall, of varying heights. They really do look like grave-markers, don’t they? This one has a little animal’s burrow underneath it.
Here’s a video of the site/landscape:
Each coral tube fossil is about as big around as my pinky. One of the best specimens I’ve come across! It was a big, solid thing, going who-knows how deep underground! Once, the entire area, way up through Nevada and further, was a shallow sea.
I will tell you a magical tale. This will be one of many, for many wonderful synchronicities and amazing finds occur for me in the wild places where I am free to be sincere and non-chalant in my searches and askings.
So, I was up on the pine-shaded slope of Mt. Charleston enjoying the air and trying not to slip on the packed remnants of snow patches – where the sun doesn’t have a chance to linger long enough to melt it. This meant my hike was jig-jaggy, zig-zaggy and it made me feel silly and good and athletic in my leaps and turns.
After a nice while, but with nothing left to ascend but a cliffside to my left or toward voices of people from up ahead, I decided to make a start back but wanted more of something. So, in my pouting relent to the end of the afternoon, I asked – out loud, for one must always request pleads to the invisible companions and helpers around me out loud – that they “let me find treasure. Please.”
Now, I’ve never had this out-loud requesting not work. The key to it being made real is to feel the sincerity of the wish in my own bones and a real kind of innocence in the moment. It can’t be wishy-washy wishing. It can’t be faked. Anyhow, my wish was granted and this is what I found on the way back (see below). Mind you, part of the way back was previously traversed on the way up, so the appearance of my found treasures was doubly delightful in its being given to me and the mystery of its origins! Like the Universe, or my angels, or my spirit-helpers drew these things up from …from where? Underground? From all over the mountain? I don’t know, they just lay there (unearthed?) for me to find, one at a time, scattered here and there, right in front of my eyes! But god did I giggle and delight at magic. I’m sure my mouth was gaping every find. I know I said “no way” at least a half-dozen times. Their sense of humor is irrefutable. Here’s what I found (later put in one of my treasure boxes at home):
Here in my sweet and lonely desert, it is made known to me, simplified, that nothing is separated though none merges with the other. At first instinct, one sees the desert as a flat, repetitious pattern of struggling and depleted life, of a gasping and burning place; even hopelessness of a kind for which we seek barriers of self-protection. But in my years of experience within it, I have come to deeply love this place, so deeply, this life separate from myself. I enter into it like a child onto a stage. My mind opens up to it and my dreaming self comes through to participate it its shattered scape of shining truths. Here, my reality is glowingly represented as is my persona. A shining light imbued within each object and each direction is a horizon of vast potential and limitless freedom. Here, life is death and death is life. The hot sun, the shaded arroyos. The rabbit runs, the helpless tarantula does not know I am a god as it inches through my shadow to its destiny and then home. Here, I am the center and the sun does indeed circle around me.
My sad and wandering soul is grounded here in this place. My joyful and bright mind is cherished here – my love is received. I am enriched by it, and communicate with it privately in mutual acknowledgement. My heart knows what is true. When my love is received here I am made aware of my specialness and I marvel at my strange fears as they expand into my awareness as strange lessons and other beautiful-inside things. An interloper, I am the rabbit’s guardian and the mother of each stone, and in turn I am the child of it all.
Separated from the squall of the city and the neighborhood, I am made naked and unafraid of my life, my Self. Mirrored here, I am made a better communicator. This is my love letter to Forever, my love letter to you whom I nurture through my love for your soul, my endless acknowledgement that you are my treasure by which I measure the tragedy of my human life and compare it to the depth and breadth of my effortless love of your garden. Drawn out of me is the gold from my muddied personhood. I am shown through each flash and shine, each strange newness of place as the shadows of time change every perception of this landscape making itself a constant mystery.
In this ancient land, my tears are welcomed and my joy is enjoyed. Flash, and shine, and weeping, I am made equal to It and It is made equal to Me. Respectful distance is maintained and understood, for to lay down upon it is to risk the dangers of its underworld, but oh how I desire to lay upon it and curl my body against its every grain. To fall asleep inside it and rest inside the lullaby. Our song brings me sweet ache and tears, beloved, beautiful desert. Until that day, each time I leave you I am refined and cleansed by you. For that, I am forever yours and you are forever mine and all that must be done is nothing the Universe won’t do for us as we transverse this Mystery that we share – whether we are asleep and dreaming or awake and screaming.