Archives for August 2006

Billy the Kid

Tomorrow morning I leave to go back to Northern Arizona. I have to  say hello to Billy the Kid, our live-in road runner who isn’t afraid of people. We feed him live mice which he whips around and swallows. It’s back to visiting the Grand Canyon every day and getting paid for it. The nights out there are quite rare. Even in rural Utah, the stars don’t stick out as boldly as they do there. At night we have frogs croaking, desert pack rats moving about, and so many different insects making noise besides crickets. It almost feels like your stuck in a trance after the sun goes down. I can’t help but wander what I’ve been missing, even growing up in Southern Utah. The Strip is so different. It’s the 80 mile stretch that really changes the aura. Right before I go to bed in the bunk house, I pause to view the busy stars while listening to desert toads and hearing the wind shifting cottonwood branches.

The landscape around the ranch is covered with evidence of previous cultures and people who called this home. It’s so bone dry, you can only speculate as to how they survived such ruggedness and harshness. It’s cooling off a little; they say it isn’t as hot as it was the week before I came. I sure do love educating the folks that fly in from Vegas, they are so overwhelmed by the beauty that the ranch offers, especially in such close proximity to the Grand Canyon.

Billy the kid is the most interesting bird. He hangs out with us, literally. It’s hard to believe he’s even wild. He acts like he was raised and nurtured by humans. I may have to write some more in the journal tonight. Supper is calling…

Black Rock Wasteland

Death glistens in
the desert like a mirage,
spectors in the diffused shade.
The sun adds a strange glow to the heat.
It has pulled them out into the open.
They spend dangerous amounts of time
away from their towns in the crevices.
The ghosted wind moves the Creosote
and I hear whisperings in the silence.
They hunt and gather in smeltering black seas.
Dust devils sweep by in dreams.

Heart of the Great Basin

The stars stand bold against trees. The fire is dancing. The smoke drifts in my direction and soaks into my skin. This is a quiet moment in the Great Basin; where the little people roam the night. These individuals are knee tall. They move through the juniper mountains like ants. I can hear their whisperings, as they work in busy networks… preparing for what may come this way, someday… The thunder storms of summer claim these valleys and the thunderheads are in control. Bolts of lightning draw near, and slam the earth. At night the sky seems to clear, but the storms are like power houses, and linger late into the night.

You have to be careful of the little people. They are there. As I search up winding canyons, what surprises may be waiting? This is the middle of nowhere, which is a place for the remote few of us that desire such isolation. The wasteland may not seem like much to a lot of people, but they are afraid of it, and they hide in great cities. But when I visit their cities, I feel really lonely. When I journey out into the wild, it feels like I’m going home every time.

Going down dirt roads, my car eats the gravel. The dust comes in through the windows. I breathe the dirt road into my lungs, and the dust collects in the jungle of my scalp. Sage Brush, tall as trees, grows along the road and I love the smell of sage after a fresh cloud burst. Sometimes, when I’m driving across basin valleys late at night, I imagine those little people roaming around in the eternal hills. I cannot stop thinking about the mysteries of the rolling, Juniper-covered hills.

In my desert camp, I watch the fading sunset burn the low rising ridges and basin hills. Crowded Junipers greet the setting sun. Clouds ignite in orange, pink, red, and maroon, then purple. All colors silently fade without a noise, as the crickets serenade. Coyotes howl in the distance; thunder sounds somewhere far, far away. The stars come out like bold specks against the dark earth. It is not an evil dark, but a pure black darkness that haunts my imagination. It has provided many sleepless dreams.