When your friend asks you to help out at her booth at Bhakti Fest you say yes. So I get up early. But I always get up early. I eat breakfast and load the car. My mind wanders and I pace while I wait for our meeting time at 10am.
When we meet, we exchange hellos and information on what to do at the festival check-in. Then I start off by myself. Again on the road alone. It feels familiar and free as I drive in silence. Because the silence calms my soul. A lot has happened lately. My heart is still letting go of the past and at the same time, trying to open up to the future and to the now. There is love all around me, but I’m still learning to accept it. I hold it at a distance, only taking small sips.
I pull up to the retreat center and start to set up and unload. When the heat is too much I take off for better conditions. I wander Yucca Valley and then Joshua Tree. While I wander through the heat I wonder why I keep coming back to the hot, unbearable desert. Other than sun, Yucca Valley is full of antiques. Furniture and knick-knacks that meant something to someone a long time ago. You can see the age in them. You can feel the age in them.
In Joshua Tree I eat the best black bean burger I’ve ever had. Just before the sunsets, I leave to visit the park. Inside the trees get denser and the rocks get bigger. I’m driving away from the sun, but I stop to admire the red, yellow glow. Then I drive some more. Then I stop again. Because when you’re traveling by yourself, you can decide and undecide at anytime.
When I’m sick of driving, I pull over and explore the rocks. I grab my chair from the trunk and set it up on a clearing. Then I wait for the sliver of yellow to fade away and leave me with the stars. Because what’s the point of camping unless you get to see the stars?
As I wait with the crickets, I realize that in a month of camping I never saw the stars. When you visit the trees, they don’t move for you. I guess going to the desert is a good thing after all.