[Stovepipe Wells, Death Valley]
I stand, as if on the prow of a great ship, watching waves roll out from beneath my feet, climbing in crests and troughs as they race out ahead of my progress. Scents of mesquite and creosote are faint the air as I move, shouldering my load across a static landscape, locked in equilibrium. Ripples of sand across the slopes would almost make you believe there is motion all around me, here in the antithesis of a real ocean. I have wound my way through the caliche as much as I can, but, forced up onto the dunes, I try to follow the sinuous route of the harder packed sand along the rims, as long as I can. These dunes are in a unique place, built of the achingly slow crumbling of gypsum and quartz in the mountains, into particles small enough to be picked up and carried by winds, to be dropped here, where they converge in the shelter of this valley. Maybe the wind has blown me here too, even though I pretend it’s of my own free will and purpose. There is a map within me, like the country I live in: cities, towns, fertile valleys, dizzy mountains, deep water and barren deserts. It is populated with relationships. People and places that I know and love. I used to feel a balance between them all, but in a world of restrictions, doubts and imagination tug like a choppy sea. Today, as a celluloid reel of images spins in my head, the wind picks up each thought and carries it like a grain of sand, to where the winds converge over the dunes, to fall into equilibrium.