Friday, November 27, 2009
turn left at the joshua tree
all the folks with whom i would usually have thanksgiving are out of town this year. so, in a fit of emotional equilibrium, i decided i'd better do something other than sit at home and suck the mop.
thanksgiving morning, i packed up my camping gear and headed to the mojave, hoping that most folks would be at someone's house, either having a good time or making each other miserable. in either case, i had a shot at getting the campsite i can reach in my low-ground-clearance, definitely not off-roadable car.
and it worked!
i was there by 9:30am, and all set up by 10:30am. there was one camper near me, no big deal. i had a fire ring, a flat spot for my tent, and a gorgeous juniper tree above. i was thankful. and then i was hiking.
i wish i was more eloquent with the written word. i am, most assuredly, a talking woman. i learn better, think more creatively, connect ideas more rapidly, in conversation. (and no, talking to myself doesn't count, most of the time.) i would very much like to be able to describe what happens when i'm out in the desert, by myself. the noise in my head stills. my thoughts slow. my vision is sharpened. the only sound is that of my footfalls. occasionally, a bird will chime in an opinion. my entire physiology calms. i can breathe. i feel whole. silence heals.
so i walked and walked. i discovered 2 other campsites that i think i can safely get to in my car, farther from the road. i took some photos. i sucked up as much silence as i could contain.
as i'm sure you've noticed, it gets dark early these days. so at 4:00, i built a fire. good thing, since the temperature dropped quickly out there. i got to do my second favorite thing when camping, play with fire! it had been pretty windy all day, and it didn't slow down much in the evening. the fire burned hot and fast, and i sat as close as i could get without melting the soles of my shoes. (i've done that in the past.) as the fire burned down, the lantern came on. i love lanterns. another form of fire, with a different sound and a different glow. by 6:30, i was in the tent, in my sleeping bag. the wrong sleeping bag, as it turned out. that's a post unto itself.
i fell asleep reading, and dreamed odd dreams. i woke periodically, thinking i was in a straight jacket-it was the sleeping bag.
this morning it took me an hour to talk myself out into the cold. once i was out of the tent, the path was obvious. go hike. so i did.
there were more people about today, more campers, more hikers. even with that, if it hadn't been for that damn sleeping bag, i would have stayed another night. or 3. so i packed up, slowly, and drove home. slowly.