desert moonlight: part one of our spring trip, death valley
we were off to a great start; lucy slept over the mountain pass and woke up on the east side of the sierras.
made it all the way to the bishop city park before we stopped to eat the egg salad sandwiches i'd packed for lunch. lucy thought that was pretty dang tasty, but not quite as tantalizing as the inquisitive ducks waddling about.
it was late afternoon when we rolled into Furnace Creek, Death Valley after miles of desolate jaggedy terrain through wicked canyons and undulating endless road along shimmery smoldering desert floors.
down into those whispering howling craggy desert canyons to a depth of 190 feet below sea level, to this little stretch of land where we set up camp.
april 24, 98 degrees, 6 pm. in the desert everything is illusion, water, tree, time, space. you can decide your own path and your own guides, be it sinking sun or rising moon, the creaks of your bones or coyote's song.
we watched the sunset at zabriskie point.
"for all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breath, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars." - mary austin
we decided to go to the stovepipe wells sand dunes to mark the rise of the full moon.
"it is hard to escape the sense of mastery as the stars move in the wide clear heavens to risings and settings unobscured. they look large and near and palpitant; as if they moved on some stately service not needful to declare. wheeling to their stations in the sky, the make the poor world-fret of no account. of no account you who lie out there watching, nor the lean coyote that stands off in the scrub from you and howls and howls." - mary austin
lit only by moonlight. world-fret of no account indeed. i nursed my babe in the sand and watched the stars wheeling.
a mysterious guardian back at the camp trickles her bony fingers through moonlight.
"somehow the rawness of the land favors the sense of personal relation to the supernatural." -m.a.
everything feels a little more ghostly here.
for me, sadly, this desert did not afford a deep sleep. too little padding and a restless teething babe, a sore hip from nursing on my side, and we were up at 6:13 a.m just in time to greet that hot hot morning sun. i felt surprisingly spry and happy for getting...oh...about two hours of sleep, so i let darin sleep in, (did i just say sleep in? we're talking seven a.m. folks. i am officially an old lady) and told cheerful tales to my girl who is definitely a morning person, and dug around for matches so we could get that coffee brewing.
how did i not know that mourning doves love the desert? her gentle coos keep the peace in the wild land, day in and day out.
while she was still in her cheerful morning mood, daddy got up and took lucy for a little ramble.
and then she had some breakfast. darin took one look at this picture and said, CLASSY lady.
but a little lady who was bound to give us a run for our money that day. it turned out to be the only "difficult" day of the trip, and it definitely had its share of glorious moments as you'll see in the next post! but it had a good dose of these moments too....
by ten the day was scorching and we were packing up and seeking shade along the roadside mesquite and pinon. lucy fell asleep nursing in the shade and we were able to go on a peaceful driving tour of the "artist's palette," a rugged area of pastel colored badlands, mineral deposits and volcanic debris. darin likes to listen to epic music in the desert, like silver mount zion or six organs of admittance, or of course bob dylan, howe gelb, calexico, townes. it creates an experience of soundtrack and landscape that sets up a haunting desert camp in the memory. a little tent with prayer flags blowing in a hot wind of the mind, forever and ever, on the borderland.
two days in to our trip, we'd be crossing the mojave preserve and heading down into joshua tree by twilight...