The Desert

The desert offers solitude, and a simple mode of existence: mere survival. Granted this is a somewhat moot point for me, but it acts as further guarantor of my privacy, for the desert is both swift and merciless in its dealings with fools.

Modern society has effected sufficient intrusion that it attempts to protect those so unwise as to venture in to the desert unprepared. This is not an act of altruism rather it is simple efficiency. Every preempted lost hiker represents concrete savings in search time and potential bad publicity. That it also saves lives is a secondary, albeit welcome benefit. As a result of this well-developed attitude towards tourists I elected to abandon any idea of walking to my chosen spot, opting instead to pay a young man to fly me out and return to collect me a few days later. Profligate waste, but necessary.

I could have locked myself away in my apartment. I have access to other places, properties I either own outright or have an interest in through membership in assorted foundations and organizations. There is a particular monastery where people are welcome to come and find the solace of introspection amid the grounding rhythms of a simpler, less hectic life. There are numerous parks, forests, jungles, and mountains… all are accessible to anyone who might seek a few days or weeks outside the sphere of the modern.

I prefer the desert. It is something about the hardscrabble nature of the flora and fauna, and the stark beauty of the landscape that suits me when I need to be shuck of mankind. It is dangerous for me- I could set out for a week or two and stay for a decade or longer. Even this little expedition- after three days I found myself musing on the notion of heading deeper in to the wild, finding a cave and sitting out the next fifty years. Fortunately (or not, depending on how you choose to view it) I had left far too many loose ends to merely walk away. It was deliberate on my part for I know myself well enough to anticipate that urge. I may yet indulge it, but not this day.

It was a desire to take some time, put things in to perspective, time away from my normal haunts, away from e-mail and computers and the web, away from the lawyers and that bloody fool of an accountant who is determined to prevent me from doing as I will with my own money. Away from all the yammering, and posturing, and postulating… I needed years, but I allowed merely days. I suppose it sufficed.

I am in love with the night sky- one of the things I truly despise about living in the North East is the lack of any truly clear, dark sky. Civilization’s fascination with light renders the canopy of the heavens a pale mockery of itself. Ever since my earliest memories I have been fascinated with the stars. I ran to the desert so that I could lie beneath them in their glory and seek… something. Balance, I suppose, though that is a poor descriptor.

I needed to know I was doing the right thing. As important, or perhaps even more so, was I doing it for the right reasons? Somehow sitting beneath the stars smoking Camels seemed the proper avenue for pursuing that thought. Warm, sunny days; cool, clear nights with a sliver of moon and a dazzling array of stars- there were no answers, but there certainly was peace.

One Response to “The Desert”

  1. The following comments excepting only minor formatting corrections are as they first appeared on the old BlogSpot/Haloscan system. –ZM

    “MD” – I was just going to keep walking. Shame on me for not being able to resist the temptation. Forgive my inability to just ignore it, I don’t seem to possess the mercy to allow others to live in porcelain adorned worlds of their own making.

    “There are those who insist that one such as I must view all those about her as nothing more than mayflies, lesser things to be used for amusement and hardly missed upon passing…”

    I think if you were to point that ray of “merciless self-analysis” upon your own delusions, you’d see that your interactions with those around you are limited to the distinct roles they serve for your own purpose. Once they have outlived their useful shelf life you move on. Some would argue that we all live our lives in this manner, however there is a distinction to be drawn between helping a homeless person because “it makes me feel good” (i.e. I’m just doing it for my own benefit in the strictest sense of the word), versus viewing those around around us, as just mere “adornments” in the grand stage of the play you call your life. What I am saying is that you are narcissistically self-indulgent. To a fault. No amount of sugar coating is going to make this pill easier to swallow. Blame it on the lack of parental involvement, or the callous distance you’ve guarded with so much pride from your fellow class mates. In the end, the effect remains the same. What makes this tragic is that it would be laughably easy for you to alter the course of your life. Hence my comments.

    “I would ask them how they have come to such an understanding, and I would tell them their assumptions speak volumes regarding their own private demons, but they say nothing regarding mine.”

    Indeed. Not treating others in this manner allows me a very clear perspective on those that do. I have plenty of demons that need exorcising, however this is not one of them. As a matter of fact, I am helping you right now for no other ulterior motive than for the fuzzy feeling I get from knowing that I may have helped another human being in some small way. Anonymously no less.

    “I am often asked if I am bored and I always reply in the negative. Boredom is not the problem I face, and no one seems to be inclined to ask regarding what that problem may be.

    Being your own favorite subject pretty much guarantees you will never lack “entertainment”. It would indeed surprise me if you claimed boredom as one of your vices. I would also argue that the “weight of ages” isn’t the culprit either, rather the unique set of circumstances you’ve created for yourself.

    “I never share everything with you. Never.
    There is more to say. I choose not to say it.”

    No doubt there is comfort derived from secrecy. After all, I am posting anonymously myself. But let me assure you, that with every word you write you give a little bit of yourself away. You may cleverly think that you’re fully controlling the dissemination of yourself across the ether, but every utterance you make only serves to give a little bit more of yourself away. Bit by bit. It is the nature of the beast. This, in an of itself, isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however, I despise the arrogance with which you dispense it. If only I could claim stupidity as the culprit and be done with it. Sadly, you don’t have an excuse that easy.
    Alice | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 2:14 pm | #

    I shattered someone’s “porcelain adorned world” on at least one occaision. One deliberate, willful occaision. I think there have been other accidental ones as well. I shouldn’t have done that.

    Years later, I still feel a deep sense of remorse.

    From where I stand, the human mind is really a very fragile thing. The price of my learning that has been far too high.

    Alice, if you truly wish to attack someone’s “porcelain adorned world”, I would offer you mine in MD’s stead. Contact me via e-mail. I have a tale to tell at least as extravagant as MD’s, and rather more immediate.
    Dishman | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 5:02 pm | #

    Don’t take this the wrong way, but you’re coming across like someone who walks in to the middle of a conversation and tries to take it over without knowing what it’s about. We get it- you think MD’s a fraud and you think you’re the only one smart enough to figure it out. We read your contempt- and it ain’t directed at her. Just a friendly clue for you- I don’t think anyone who stops by here regularly is stupid enough to believe we’re chatting it up with a 3500 year old woman. She’s a storyteller at best, a harmless kook at worst. Oh, and she seems to understand plot development…

    I’m not telling you to can it, or move on, I just want to make sure you’ve got an idea of how it looks for you to come in here acting as if you’re taking something down. You seem to have a pretty good head on your shoulders, so it’s a little strange that you seem to take this so personally.

    Just my 2 cents. I’ll shut up now.
    John | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 7:10 pm | #

    John- See that you do, my freind.

    Alice- you might wish to look in to for anonymous e-mail. I have found them to be quite reliable, and the price is right. This assumes you might be interested in striking up a private conversation with Dishman.

    As to your comments regarding me, I believe I have already answered them, many times.

    Be well.

    MD | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 8:07 pm | #

    “DISHMAN” – “MD” is anything but fragile. As she said, I’m sure she isn’t indestructible, but that isn’t even remotely the aim of my points. I don’t enjoy wreaking “DISHMAN” – “MD” is anything but fragile. But your point is well taken. As per her own admission, I’m sure she isn’t indestructible, but that isn’t even remotely the aim of the points I’ve tried to make. Contrary to appearances I don’t enjoy wreaking anyone’s sand “castles”. I just have a difficult time pretending not to see them when I feel this omission is mistaken for stupidity rather than deliberate ignorance. There is more. But I chose to leave it at that.

    “JOHN”-I’ve been reading this blog for quite some time. Maybe I know something that you don’t. However, this hardly changes that you’re quite right. I won’t be addressing this any further. I feel I have said my piece, albeit I fear quite convoluted at best. I’m afraid I am not the writer that “MD” is. I will resist the temptation in the future.

    Alice | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 8:33 pm | #

    MD. I will just fade back into the electronic noise from which I came from. No need for anonymous emails or private conversations.
    Alice | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 8:42 pm | #

    A pity.
    MD | Email | Homepage | 12.01.03 – 11:41 pm | #