Heart of the Great Basin

The stars stand bold against trees. The fire is dancing. The smoke drifts in my direction and soaks into my skin. This is a quiet moment in the Great Basin; where the little people roam the night. These individuals are knee tall. They move through the juniper mountains like ants. I can hear their whisperings, as they work in busy networks… preparing for what may come this way, someday… The thunder storms of summer claim these valleys and the thunderheads are in control. Bolts of lightning draw near, and slam the earth. At night the sky seems to clear, but the storms are like power houses, and linger late into the night.

You have to be careful of the little people. They are there. As I search up winding canyons, what surprises may be waiting? This is the middle of nowhere, which is a place for the remote few of us that desire such isolation. The wasteland may not seem like much to a lot of people, but they are afraid of it, and they hide in great cities. But when I visit their cities, I feel really lonely. When I journey out into the wild, it feels like I’m going home every time.

Going down dirt roads, my car eats the gravel. The dust comes in through the windows. I breathe the dirt road into my lungs, and the dust collects in the jungle of my scalp. Sage Brush, tall as trees, grows along the road and I love the smell of sage after a fresh cloud burst. Sometimes, when I’m driving across basin valleys late at night, I imagine those little people roaming around in the eternal hills. I cannot stop thinking about the mysteries of the rolling, Juniper-covered hills.

In my desert camp, I watch the fading sunset burn the low rising ridges and basin hills. Crowded Junipers greet the setting sun. Clouds ignite in orange, pink, red, and maroon, then purple. All colors silently fade without a noise, as the crickets serenade. Coyotes howl in the distance; thunder sounds somewhere far, far away. The stars come out like bold specks against the dark earth. It is not an evil dark, but a pure black darkness that haunts my imagination. It has provided many sleepless dreams.

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