The forecast is for waves of rain all week, predicted to be "the largest El Nino event since ’95," says the automated voice on the weather band radio. George, the head honcho of this place of desert respite, took the big dozer up canyon several miles and into the wash, digging trenches to deter flash floods. To delay the deluge.
I headed for some peace and quiet in the final hours of sun, into the barren mountains. No falcons or wild burros this day, but something bright red moved in the distance. I drew closer, lifted the binocs and saw a red and black balloon bouquet trailing the ground, following one final heave of helium. Thinking there might be a message attached (“Hi! I’m so and so and this balloon comes from ____”) I detoured around and made my way up the ball-bearing-slick cliff. The bouquet had a third tendril…a black inflated photo of a wrestler with biceps the size of my thigh. It read, “wrestle mania.” Aha. A message after all. I smiled as I reckoned this to be a reflection of my state-of-mind; the tussle underway as I questioned how much of my life was the product of inertia and how much was authentic to the moment. I walked on with the balloons and dropped into the canyon of George and his heavy equipment.
Rarely are mornings so, well...heavy. I had the rest of the day to balance things out with a strong dose of yin. I kayaked on glassy waters into near by coves; read a mystery book in the sun as I sipped my favorite gewürztraminer wine. Then, the little miracle.
A spindly desert milkweed grows opposite the campsite. She is my favorite plant of this Mohave Desert. Her seven-foot stalks cling to the rocky soil, a creature of 120-degree summer heat, sand and rock. Six seed pods adorn her sage-green branches this year. The day’s last sun illuminated the landscape as I looked up to spy a newly-opened pod and a silky line of parachute seeds awash in a spray of backlight. I stared down in awe into this gift of the desert. Then I extracted a few seeds, dug a hole with a sharp pebble, lovingly planted and patted.
Winter…I walk the trails and ferret out the metaphors, somewhere between heavy equipment and tender touch. Then I light a fire and await the new sliver moon.