Last year I journeyed to Death Valley in defiance. I was surviving. This year I rejoiced in my resilience and realized that HEY! I'm thriving! Oh what a difference a year makes.
I could expound in great detail about my solo week of inner and outer adventures in the desert, instead I will pull a couple of excerpts from my journal to give you a taste.
Some people like always to go to new places-- perhaps because they yearn for new experiences. I like to return to places, especially extraordinary places like Death Valley, to gage how new experience roots from the inside out.
I'm sitting here now, reading and writing, in the wash maybe a few hundred yards from Emigrants Camp, the same place I pitched my tent a year ago.
It is vast and silent, except for the occasional distant sonic boom from the top-secret government facilities that surround the park. This place is burned into my memory and I am so happy to be back.
I notice that I've healed, I'm stronger, I've grown. I'm kinder, less selfish, perhaps more aware. Being here connects me to the raw tenderness of my heart a year ago. I simultaneously feel compassion and gratitude for who I was then and who I am now. ~~
I hiked to Wildrose Peak today. Strenuous 7000 ft or 9000 ft? But it was high. Sometimes I imagined that I was hiking inside myself. That the outside was the inside.
If this outside was my interior --let's say that it was, is-- because it felt that way, I noticed how expansive, how good it felt to be solitary.
Perhaps I have mastered being alone with myself, that I have mastered knowing myself as a solitary person. I am at ease with myself. It's peaceful. I've mastered surviving. I've mastered independence. I've mastered resilience. I can do this.
So what's next?
Maybe it's time to begin populating my expansive inner landscape with the company of others. ~~
The Pinyon smelled so good when I crushed it. I imagined that this is the smell of the heart --of love being released. Sometimes the heart needs to be broken for love's scent to fill the air.
Sometimes all it takes is the warmth of the sun and the breeze...
flowing gently through a community of trees...
for joy to unfold! ~~