I stroll through the desert night, walking under the moon as it reflects warmth on my back. I’m in no rush and my destination is unknown. Where I end up is wherever the moonlight guides and wherever the wind blows me. It’s quiet, silent, but reverberating with life. The wind thumps softly across the desolate ground as it kicks up leaves and debris left behind. The crickets chirp, millions of them slowly growing quiet as I walk past their tiny homes in the bushes and rocks. As soon as I pass by them they start their singing once again, almost as if telling their friends that the coast is clear, and I continue to walk.
I bring nothing with me on this adventure of serenity and wanderlust, for I need not things. The only things I truly need are the light of the moon shining it’s way, reminding me it’s there to watch me. I only need the soft wind as it plays with my hair, letting me know it is there to keep me from getting too hot as it whispers such into my ears. The ground crunches under my feet and I carry on, taking in the view around me. The distant mountains silhouetting the sky on the horizon seem to never move, like sentinels forever establishing boundaries of fortitude. I lazily wander aimlessly into gods very own uncharted territory with no reason except to have no reason. I am here only because. I need not explain myself, where I’ve been or am coming from, where I’m going, where I am. For I am now, this moment, this breeze, and trail that lead to nowhere and it is nothing more than that.
I need to not need for once in my life and for the first time, while kicking rocks across the desert floor, I need nothing. I am me as the past lays behind, I am me as the future slowly unrolls into the present like a carpet of landscape, and I am now as the infinite echoes of time dance around me. For the immediate and eternal moment, nothing matters. Not the howls and yelps of distant coyotes as they fight over their prey, not the rattlesnake eyeballing me from the bush I just walked past, not the crickets quieting in alarm of my presence, not the owl gliding high above me inquisitively. No thing will touch me in this moment.
The cacti cast shadows on the dim land like grotesque apparitions reaching out to each other, reaching out to grab me, but always missing. The life blood of the land has now been recognized as I take it all in. The delicate balance of good and evil, right and wrong, and duality all start to make sense. My mind is calmed and the wind tells me things most men have forgot. It whispers into my ears the simple and complex answers to some of the greatest mysteries.
I find a rock to sit on and relax under the stars, the planes blinking on by, the complete absence of traffic, streets, houses, sirens in the distance. For the moment, as far as I can tell, I am the only man on earth, surrounded by the cascading symphonies of the desert night wildlife. I willfully engage my surroundings, noticing a small desert flower on the side of the rock I’m sitting on. For the moment I set eyes upon it, I realize it was there for itself, and there for me and me alone. Had it not established a strong foundation of roots, it would have no means by which to bloom into the beautiful night plant it was. Without me it flourished, without me it grew, without me it received enough sun and rain to survive, and still somehow there, now, in the moment, the single night I sit next to it by chance. I think about picking it as a souvenir of my travels, only to realize as the wind reminds me before I do, to what end would I end such a delicate turn of events in a hasty and unforgiving death. It was there before me, I was lucky enough to not only pass it’s way, but be a chapter in it’s short life. I leave the flower for it’s strength merits life under a dark canopy of glistening eyes to forever witness it’s gifts.
I see an interesting shape in the distance and approach it. Many arms outstretched to the sky as if beckoning for help. It’s tall and has many appendages. I slowly approach and discover what may be the largest cactus I’ve ever seen in my life. At least 16 arms I count, contorted by the shadowy backdrop of the moon. It stands there as if paralyzed in eternity by the fear of being alone. It grasps into the dark, reaching every direction it can, all trying to find a hand or someone to pull it to safety. It needs, or would appear to need. But as I walk around it to the side on which the moonlight hits it, it turns into something uniquely strange and beautiful. Something that needs no help at all. It’s been standing there for years, giving the appearance only to me, of needing another so badly. But only from the right angle do I realize it’s the strongest, and the biggest of them all. Curiously it reminds me of myself, just wanting that deeper connection in life but to everyone else who can’t see, it looks like a lumbering monster. It stands not realizing how many years it’s been there, not quite giving itself the credit it deserves for never failing to stand like the sentinel it is. It might be a somewhat heinous sight but upon further inspection its strength gives it a beauty not seen elsewhere in this world. I revel in respect for the metaphor, and continue my walk until my mind clears. My soul deepens. My heart is content with my journey and as I change my direction, I thank the night-scape, I thank the symbolic metaphors that are teeming in the desert with it’s dull and dead appearance. What once appeared to be the shell of damnation itself, keeps it’s beauty secret. It doesn’t need to flaunt it’s glory and it’s strength for it is content with itself wholly. The desert has nothing to prove because it knows who it is and what it is capable of. It reminds me of who I am, what I am, and what I can become if I will just take a walk and talk to the guardians of the desolation around me. In one form or another it has been, it will continue to be, and so will I.