Archives for September 2005

Ghost Piano

I can smell the rotting wood floor, warped by a hundred years. The roof of the skeleton is still up, but a whole corner of the building is caved in. Bats hang in the corners, mice scurry underneath. I lift up some rusty sheet metal and a kangaroo rat darts blindly into the desert. The wind beats the old building and it creaks and groans with pain. A tumble weed runs through the center of town. There?s no humans here, no cars, but mine. Off in the distance bone colored mountains dance on the surface. There are no clouds in the sky. It?s the end of September, but feels like July.

I think of the 19th century, as I am heading home after dusk.. Men would kill each other over a smallest things. Look at a guy wrong, and he?d murder you. Over in Pioche, Nevada, seventy men were shot dead before someone passed away of natural causes. You go back in time while walking through that town. The only difference is the paved street. Like any place with a bad history, Pioche suffers a severe melancholy, and when you go through some of the historical buildings, they feel haunted.

In the rearview mirror I notice the eastern sky turning maroon and purple. The highway is monotonous. A ghost piano begins to play softly, taking me back.

I pull the car over, and just ponder in silence. This whole world seems crazy. I become restless, because the piano doesn?t stop. It is playing in my head, and I walk out into the darkness of the landscape, beneath the dense starry sky. The beautiful tune brings tears. I take a deep breath and lay on the desert floor, sifting my fingers through cold sand, listening to the dark wasteland beneath. A vehicle passes by on the highway every ten or fifteen minutes, but all I hear is the howling wind, the crickets, the bushes squeaking.


When I dissapear into the aged mountains, I don?t miss dreadful cities filled with uncordial human beings who are too busy, too rushed to know what nature sounds like. The uncanny wild is waiting for me, almost calling me by name. My companions are the faceless shadows that wander the landscape. I am mortal, but I know the personality of the wilderness, what she has not forgotten. If humans go to far, she will eventually stop them.

The people around me are so persistent, always persevering; they march forward with psychotic dreams of progress. They believe that they can conquer nature, and the Earth Mother in order to advance. They believe that somehow nature must adhere to them, and serve them. I’ve never put the wilderness above human welfare, but I am against those that exploite and would destroy beauty. Some can go into a deep canyon, and never really see anything. I sure do feel sorrow for their lack or sight. I believe people can listen to the strange things in the forest, or the mystifying roars of a river, and care for such things. Let the unknown continue it?s enigma, and secrets remain.

Yes, I prefer the dazzling vistas of cloud and rock to the monotony of everyday life. Like everyone else, I am plugged in. Like a virus, I wait.

Absolute Silence

There was an old man up there on the mountains near New Harmony. He had a long white beard, was missing a few teeth, but had the deepest gaze of any human being. He wouldn?t say a word, but he would wave, smile, and continue on in his routine. He lived in a parked trailer near the edge of a creek, and drove around in an old Chevy caked in mud. I never had the courage to go visit him, but he soon disappeared and I never saw him again. That canyon is now empty and quiet. When I go up in there, I only hear the elements, the sweet birds.

There are these reclusive types living all over the Great Basin, way out yonder where no tourist dares to venture without getting eaten by vultures. As I drive the old dirt roads across long basin valleys, ravens roost on fence lines and hover around juniper covered desert hills. It happens sporadically, but when I venture down some dirt road, I?m never surprised to cross paths with these people.

Yes, I may be very na?ve, or very rude in mentioning the private lives of these individuals, but I hope that isn?t the case. Their way of life sparks my deep curiosity… For me, the dirt road is my trail of beauty, and the quiet landscape is my home. Home is where deep dark cloud shadows pass over carved and painted wastelands. It’s not hard for me to fall asleep a hundred miles from any services, beneath the galactic sky. I am accepting the possibility that I may become a lone drifter to the hills. When I die, I?ll be the ghost that haunts the empty landscape.