THE DESSERT OF THE DESERT

The cool, dark, and star-studded sky gives way to primordial heat and dryness my ancestors knew well. In the middle of the Baja desert, the eye adjusts to infinite tones of browns; foreign and seemingly monotone only days ago. Starting a rapidly obsolete mode of transportation, I kick the red metal mule to life. The dirt bike’s carbs suck in liquid dinosaur bones and spit out heat and a staccato barking sound. As the bike vibrates through my body, I think of my grandmother’s stories about traveling by camel through the deserts of her homeland, leaving the safety of the caravan oasis to travel to another village. I feel the excitement she must have felt, first time leaving her village, as I let out the clutch and bury the tires into the sand.

Many decades have gone by since I first heard of this sacred place, and here I am basking in its cleansing fire. Amazing how the mind works, projecting itself out into time and space, borne out of desire. A young boy’s burning desires in the form of a poster of a desert racer on a bedroom wall in one continent and time are experienced by a man in another. The vastness of this place enforces a sense of an utter smallness that the boy could not have grasped, but is humbling to the man.

I say a prayer for my grandmother; all the hardships she endured for me to be here today; propelling pieces of her DNA across this baking landscape. The little boy that envisioned it, screams out loud with joy in my heart. And now I stand on these here foot pegs digging deep into this delicious dessert, grateful for each mouthful of sand dust I am being served.

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