Dust In My Pocket
I find my way back to the desert often. Over and over again it has become a comfortable place. The openness and wildness appeal to me. It reaches some place in my soul that I cannot reach on my own. I can cry or scream or sing or shout and the space can take it. It rolls my burdens away like tumbleweed.
I let the sun darken my skin and bleach my hair until I am monotone. Anything rough or harsh smoothed over by the grit and sand. I think I know who I am here. In civilization I don’t know if I do. Among people. But there is no comparison here. In the desert, I am only me.
In the expanse, my soul can wander free. Like a child set free in an open field. My time here in the vast is a privilege as much as a necessity. The desert provides a recess from the pressure to study, work, talk, perform.
I lay down in the cool clear night air to sleep. To rest. To let my mind flit and float wherever it will. To make the connections I cannot see when I am awake. Comfort and quietness roll over and cover me like a thick blanket.
When my eyes open, with the dawn light streaming through, I feel newborn. Naked and too-new, a little raw, and very alone. Do I feel aching loneliness or the deepest of peace? I can’t tell. But the day seems fresh and the space seems wide so I unfurl my limbs and stand and walk into the new day.
Back in the city, I hear the voices and see the smiles and the tears. I hug and hold and listen and smile and talk and frown. In my pocket, I carry back the dust of the desert. When things start moving too fast and the clamor gets too loud, I reach down and feel the grittiness in my fingers. I remember the desert peace.
Sometimes I see others. With dust on their wrists and sand under their fingernails and I know they are kin. I see they have also been to the wilderness and clawed their way through dunes. I see the hard-won hope sparkle in their eyes like the bright desert stars and my soul leaps. I reach for their hand and beg,
Tell me of the beauty of you have found in the unlikely places.