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October 05, 2005

In the desert with Martin Buber

Rainbow Basin This is 425 miles away from my house.

I figure with good traffic on I-5, and careful acceleration to 95 miles per hour to get past The Apricot Tree in Firebaugh as quickly as possible, I could be there in five and a half hours.

And then what?

The slow, slow osmosis of self-involvement into the desert sky. The sudden silence, wind and wingbeats of the pair of ravens at the far end of the canyon, the descending liquid trill of the wren.

And then what?

There are times in the desert when I fall away, when I forget momentarily to mediate the exchanges between my center and the rock. The scurry of the night lizard an inch from boot's toe, and there is no Chris and no lizard but only "we."

One of these days such a moment will end up being permanent. They will find me some weeks later, or months, or preferably not at all, a rictus on my skull where that last blissful smile melted into the gravel. With luck, that will happen while there is still a Mojave into which to diffuse. Two years from now? Thirty? Doesn't matter.

Until then, the mediation always comes back. Intellect rears her ugly head and explains once again about the "I-Thou" thing, necessarily shattering it. And then the long drive back.

Posted by Chris Clarke at October 5, 2005 07:37 AM TrackBack URL for this entry:

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Sounds like you already know how to retreat to the inner desert, the place where I and thou dichotomy no longer holds sway. On the other hand, maybe a few days in the real desert will restore you to yourself. It's quiet on the road these days. Gas is expensive, kids are back in school. You could have the highways pretty much to yourself outside of the major metro areas. Last week we drove from Orange County to Monterey in 6 1/2 hours, and that included our blissful picnic lunch at Shell Beach photographing pelicans.
Do you have the time?

Posted by: Rexroths Daughter at October 5, 2005 09:02 AM
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October 20th.

Posted by: Chris Clarke at October 5, 2005 09:14 AM
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Two years from now? Thirty? Doesn't matter.

I pick the latter.

Posted by: nina at October 5, 2005 09:32 AM
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don't take martin to the desert. he's a nice enough guy but he does natter on and on.

Posted by: dread pirate roberts at October 5, 2005 09:59 AM
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Oh, enjoy! It sounds like just the thing!

Posted by: Space Kitty at October 6, 2005 08:04 AM
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Get thee to Rainbow Basin, man, before it's too late! (Oops, I forgot it already is - so what, go anyway.) And then, "No more talk of me and thee". And, while you're there, do the hike up Owl Creek canyon out of the upper campground area - it's short. fascinating, and you won't regret it. Have fun!

Posted by: Fred Levitan at October 6, 2005 09:55 AM
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