An End and A Beginning

The first post of a new blog might always be the most difficult — It stands out entirely on its own, nothing to precede it, nothing to follow it, nothing to soften the stark reality that this is the very first post. It’s lonely here; this one solitary, individual, single post, standing on its own. I hope you don’t judge too harshly.

I had many hopes and many grand plans for this ephemeral introduction to what may turn out to be a very personal bit of me laid out for the world to devour. So vulnerable. So telling. It’s possible it will not even be read …

But, setting these thoughts aside, my subject matter came to me in an unexpected whirlwind. I will preface with the fact that death has been a prominent topic in my personal writing, and that death has found its way to me on many levels in recent times. Death is one of the most difficult things I have learned to cope with. Three days ago I received word that my grandmother had passed on. And I took my whirlwind of a mind out to the desert for clarity … to mourn in my own special way. With four hours of Friday afternoon traffic in Southern California behind me, a trunk full of minimal camping gear, a gallon of water, a sandwich, a notebook, a half liter of wine and my one broken soul, the hot summer Joshua Tree afternoon welcomed me. What the desert showed me during this time was magical.  These are my notes:

Joshua Tree Sunset

The sunset is a phenomenal tangerine glow, upstaged only by the cotton candy clouds petering into vapid wisps of gossamer and lace; puffs of cotton and tendrils of soft woolen thread.

I am drinking wine atop an inviting granite podium, adjacent to a grandstand of cracked and mottled rock; boulders that have no business congregating in such a vast expanse of humble Joshua trees. Horseflies hum around lazily, as if the world was only theirs, and not also belonging to jackrabbits the size of terriers and the substantial cicadas that sing for all the desert. Somewhere nearby a bird calls for our amusement, crying out to its brethren or a possible mate, with only hope and beauty in his joyful, yet somber, voice.

The sky changes again, transforming into a lemonade glow filled with cream and honey; reflections of the heavens. Night is coming and the desert is teeming with life; beauty that never ends, but evolves before us if only we might chance to open our eyes.

And yet the sky continues to change, on fire, the heavens ablaze.

Now, the full moon rising from behind a bank of solid clouds, through wisps of the night. Lightening flashes in the distance, telling of a storm that may wet us in the night. I’m glad I pitched the rainfly before dark. The subtle glowing from within the tent feels like home and comfort, and the moon, continuing to rise, illuminating the desert in a cool yellow glow.  The moon, rising, a brilliant illuminated orb of mottled glass, searing the night, as it cools from the day. Wisps of wind, puffing through the grove of boulders, bring sounds of night insects, alive and hungry. Stars so vibrant, shimmering between streaks of cloud cover, surround the full moon, as if bowing down to it, nodding to its complete godliness. For this full moon dulls even the sun’s performance.

And now I sleep, the call of the cicadas surrounding me, my bed in the midst of mountains blackened in mystery, the moon to guide my dreams and watch over me.

The night was pregnant with nature’s activity: buzzing, singing, howling.  But all sounds faded into a surreal nothingness that brought about a silent, pastel swathed morning. The sky began to blue once more, as if the single bird call was awakening the sun, summoned to its sentry above the desert.

And with this, my soul was cleansed of all its worry; my thoughts became serene and I was able to take the calm of the desert home with me. Death can (and I argue, must) provide for us a catalyst to clarity; to deep thought, and to connection with our innermost being. There will be more on this topic to come, but let me not overwhelm with one single post …

… one solitary, individual, single post, standing on its own. I hope you don’t judge too harshly.

Joshua Tree Afternoon

Sometimes a walk to nowhere takes you to the most important place you can go.

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