Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Desert Walkabout

It's this time of year that we are reminded of the things that are bigger than humans, and humanity. Religion, Science, Faith, Family, Community. Some of their components are pleasant, like volunteerism and charity, and some of them are rather ugly, like poverty and disaster. I think December, and the winter in general, evokes a primal need in humans: the need to feel small and insignificant next to something bigger and brighter.

I am always preparing for a journey, I feel like that is something I can usually say... I travel for work, and for myself, and because I'm looking for something. Well this week, we're setting off toward the west with no real destination in mind, except my ideal holiday, and a way to feel small.
Since I've done a really bad job of taking time off this year, I'm going to enjoy a long break from work... in fact until after the first of the year. I plan to get up very early tomorrow morning, and pack up to leave Dallas and drive toward the grand canyon. I have a lot of things to see between here and there, some tangible, some entirely intangible. I want to see the sky through a 107-inch telescope, so I'll be doing that at the McDonald observatory telescope in Ft. Davis, Texas. I want to see inside my soul, so I'll be doing that in Sedona, Arizona. Along the way, I hope to see a lot of other things, but mostly just the desert and some miles of road spreading between me and the horizon.

Some of the things on the agenda for this trek include snow at the grand canyon, monument valley, the petrified forest and painted desert, and the vermilion cliffs... I expect nothing less than spectacular photos and stories. I'll be keeping you posted here, since I think its important to journal an adventure like this. I'll update each day with my progress. Today, I have a lot of work to get done, I can't wait to set up my hammock in Big Bend country, less than 24 hours from now... where there might be snow on my tent this weekend!! (That's exciting!!) Who knows, maybe I'll find some kind of a promised land out there, it's happened before...

Tomorrow's destination: Balmorhea State Park, a natural spring-fed oasis frequented by scuba divers where the Civilian Conservation Corps built the park and its irrigation canals.

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