Tuesday, February 12, 2008
wandering and wondering through death valley, I was filled to the bursting point with life. earth pushed up and turned inside out all around me, exposing itself unabashedly. buildings bleached by the sun stood crumbling and bare. even box springs laid scattered, stripped of their fabric. everything was naked. I felt silly in my clothes.
it seemed simple enough. sara kaye would pick me up at 9 and we would head east. the california sky knows so well how to be blue and the open road moved against its horizon effortlessly. in no time we were there, in baker, filling up on gas and gas station snacks about to turn down the 127. this was a first, and it seemed unusual that it was so easy to leave the usual of los angeles living to enter into the vast space of death valley. but there we were, and there it was - purple mountain majesty, and orange and red and green and gold mountain majesty too.
death valley is a land of extremes. it is the hottest and driest of the national parks as well as the largest outside of alaska. it also contains the second-lowest point in the western hemisphere at badwater basin, which is 282 feet below sea level. standing at this point you can imagine yourself deep underwater - the stillness makes you feel more like a fish in the ocean or an astronaut on the moon than a person holding a camera in a park. the air feels different and the sun sets in a way hollywood can only dream about. I stood there astounded, how brilliant the sky and how loud the silence.
surrounded by so much space, your mind is left to fill in the blanks. we bury ourselves with too many distractions. in our endless journey to get somewhere, we forget the substance of where we come from. the desert is a powerful place, it forces us to remember all the things the city has forgotten. being out there, unprotected, I wondered what it was I needed protection from? we are only afraid of the moment right before we understand what we fear. what feels like a giant leap is really only a small step - a small step well worth taking.