"The consciousness of the universe is infused in the earth, and we have come to learn from it." --Rudolfo Anaya
What is a soul looking for when it journeys into parts unknown? What makes us say goodbye to things we love?
Summertime is never long enough for me. And it is my favorite time of year in Tennessee -- where I was born and raised and have spent the better part of my life. Yet, right in the heart of summer, on the last day of July, I drove away from the place I have been most attached to on this earth.
I went swiftly and with tears in my eyes. Covering that common ground, winding thread, historical pathway -- that legendary highway and everyday traveling ground for thousands upon thousands...
I went west.
I landed in the High Plains of Colorado -- high desert country, mountains all around. The air is thin here. The exaggerated space between things can be arresting, disorienting, intoxicating.
I have been staying in Denver, and now a nearby mountain town called Evergreen. But on my way out and since I have taken every chance I can to explore surrounding (less-peopled) areas. I call these little trips my sojourns. When you're looking for lonely, beautiful places, you don't have to travel far out here.
I've stopped to watch sunlight chase the shadows on majestic rocks and valley floor. I've witnessed silhouettes of giant clouds flood across the sand dunes. I have wondered why I feel most myself in the desert, as I admire every life-form that calls the desert home -- from beetle to cactus to rattlesnake.
I've let the winds pass over me, softening my own internal landscape. I've felt the unfiltered sunlight electrify my freedom, excavate my loneliness. I can feel the elements chip away at me, taking away what is no longer needed.
According to Barry Lopez, one enters the desert by a "series of strippings".
I have been a long time arriving here, and what brought me here is still moving.