I failed miserably at plans to draw and journal the entire road trip from Monterey, California to the Grand Canyon and back. Instead I surrendered to long hours of speeding through Mojave Desert highways and the altered state of contemplation that it stimulated.
Jewel turned 40, and sang to songs like “Omaha” or we listened to the latest news drama in American Politics.
It is forgotten in the mainstream, how mostly desert California is.
The skies continuously bubbled up different clouds and animated red rocks or Joshua Trees, then endless landscapes of aspen and pine, the altitude tickled the ears. When it rained it was warm, in our tents we laid in sleeping bags in the middle of the afternoon absorbing the second lightning storm of the desert monsoon passing, vibrating through the ground and making our hair stand up, for three hours admiring what the earth must have sounded like when the Grand Canyon was still the Colorado Plateau. At night, the carols of a pack of coyotes and how it echoed! The shooting stars and big dipper, flashes of faraway lightning in a silver cloud over the black abyss of the night canyon, more austere in the darkness.
The blatant, shameless exploitation and appropriation of Navajo culture is everywhere inside Arizona (at least the small part we traveled), even gas stations sell pink bedazzled medicine bags, feathered headdresses so out of context it was heartbreaking to navigate in search of public restrooms. People from all over the world traipse casually with selfie sticks without a respect for the mile drop below, without reverence to the centuries of ceremony it took a people to know front and back the symbols and colors decorating your Urban Outfitters t-shirt.
Hidden in everything: the bizarre pioneer worship, the deceptions of Kit Carson, the decaying hotel signs outliving their lost meanings; copper saloon ceilings, turquoise weighted white folks.
Atavistic memory incised into the warm lines of the canyon that the eye can see and more so what it cannot see. The earth might be so much smarter than us. The sky definitely is.
Everyone, in some small sanctuary of the self, is nuts.
I have come to realize —
Watching, admiring, or questioning people highlights my fears about them. It feels safer to observe the ones who wear their crazy on the outside, because I so despise deception. The walls people have built to protect themselves elaborate as SCUBA equipment fascinate me and I enjoy discovering in others slivers of myself that i have never fully accepted.
I have put myself—through a deep religious conversion—in order to learn to change my beliefs——-
pure |pyo͝or| adjective not mixed or adulterated with any other substance or material: cars can run on pure alcohol | the jacket was pure wool.• without any extraneous and unnecessary elements: the romantic notion of pure art devoid of social responsibility.• free of any contamination: the pure, clear waters of Montana.• wholesome and untainted by immorality, especially that of a sexual nature: our fondness for each other is pure and innocent.• (of a sound) perfectly in tune and with a clear tone.• (of an animal or plant) of unmixed origin or descent: the pure Charolais is white or light wheat in the coat.• (of a subject of study) dealing with abstract concepts and not practical application: a theoretical discipline such as pure physics. Compare with applied.• Phonetics (of a vowel) not joined with another to form a diphthong.• [ attrib. ] involving or containing nothing else but; sheer (used for emphasis): a shout of pure anger | an outcome that may be a matter of pure chance.