I have an odd habit of traveling to wildishly lonely places.
Where cell signals disappear and the horizon is unbroken.
Where winds gather dust to swirl them across cracked soils.
In these places, faces are darkened and lined from sun and weather, roads are never ending.
It's a landscape that does not welcome life and what grows there is defiant. Animals are divine.
It’s the unfamiliarity of it. Rock and stone and prickly things as far as the eye can see.
But mostly it’s a longing to connect with a space that echos a mood under my own skin.
The desert, she is so fiercly feminine.
Don’t ask me how, it’s just something I know.
This is not about novelty. I don’t want to go where the tourists go, though that is becoming harder and harder these days. We are all wanting to experience awe, as I witnessed on Zabriskie Point. A small crowd gathered in the dark to wait for the sun to the come up and as the light broke over the mountains, we turned our backs to watch the sun paint the siltstone, rhyolite, and lava into a million shades of pinks and creams and golds.
I go to these places for the silence that is so deep you can hear your own heartbeat.
Imagine walking six miles through a canyon and stopping periodically just to hear your own body thumping in your ears.
I don’t know how to write about all the things we experienced. “We” being me and Retta.
It’s a jumble of details that are slowly tucking themselves as memories in my heart.
6 mile hikes, peanut butter sandwiches while sitting in the cracks of mountains, a sunrise that belonged to just us, dark drives through eerie landscapes, a million selfies on the salt flats, ghost towns and wild burros and the fear of flat tires near broken cemeteries, water-fill stations like they were holy, pitching our bodies over rocks as if we were kids again, walking and walking and “it’s just walking, Misty”, how so fucking amazing it felt to go barefoot on those sand dunes at dusk, the best damn Burger King, Red Rock Canyon ohmygod, this playlist, 26 000 steps, and then 30 000 steps, and listen… it is sooooo quiet.
These deserts in their vastness.
It’s breathing room.
It’s an old friend, from lives I don't remember living.