May 27th, 2008

Desert Sky

I begin to understand the reason that saints and crazy people go to the desert. Brent and I spent the weekend in Nevada at Black Rock Rendezvous, an event organized to bring together all the groups who use the Black Rock desert area, from the Burning Man crowd to the model rocket launchers. There weren’t a whole lot of people, maybe two hundred or so and that meant we were all swallowed by the giant open space of the desert.

The sky is very big there. I pay attention to this because at certain times I can look up into the sky with impunity and at others it makes me anxious. The sky is not hemmed in by buildings or trees. The mountains around the edge of the playa emphasize the vast sky because they are so large and so far away that watching a train snake along the base of it is akin to watching a train from an airplane. The plants clump along the ground, mostly gray-green and threatening to brown into spiky balls. The clouds become the most striking feature of the landscape as they grow and boil and rain.

I don’t have the words to convey the space of the place. I felt small and insignificant and at the same time exposed in the clarity of the air. It changed my balance. I had vivid dreams.