Today we are camping in the wild again. In the United States it’s not difficult. We enter a picturesque area, take some side road, and the gravel trail takes to the nooks, where someone once camped before. We find a ready bonfire place, sometimes even a skeleton of an animal. Probably hunted and consumed. The question is only by who: the local hunters or a herd of hungry coyotes, which roam in the evening, and I calm them down in my mind and direct in a different direction.
I have the impression that we are now a bit like the primitive people. We adapt to the conditions of nature. The aura dictates our course of the day. The rising sun effectively draws us out of the tent because it gets stuffy inside. At dusk, in turn, being deprived of electricity and multimedia distractions we watch the night screen of the constellation and the flames of the whispering bonfire. We never sit as long as we used to in front of computer monitors. If the sun goes to sleep, we will follow it shortly… Unless an exceptionally clear milky way hypnotizes us with its glittering beauty. We sit on old, fallen tree trunks, organize table and kitchen on larger boulders. Sometimes because of that I feel like I went back to my childhood. The times when I and other kids were setting “the house" in the copse and we would make a hanger from the tree branch, a sink from the puddle and a chair among the roots.
I feel connected and synchronized with the planet like never before. My bare feet overheated after a full-day drive in motorcycle shoes now blissfully walk on the cool sand. I feel every needle and pebble. The skin of the Earth massages my skin.
I turn away from the bonfire to let my face cool down. We are in desert areas. Gradually we blush more and more, but the skin is not sloughing off. "It's important to hydrate from the inside - advised a resident of Moab - eat lots of avocados, olives, drink water".
I'm breathing here full breast. There is oxygen, a lot of oxygen. And the smell of burning tree resin. We probably do not even realize how much it affects us. Away from the radiation of civilization, we stopped complaining about the pain of the eyes, head and runny nose caused by air conditioning. We are wondering about our current wandering life.
We wanted to get away from the comfort zone and established routines, but during the trip there are also some patterns of the day, dictated by the lower level needs. Provide yourself with water, food and safe sleeping. We always keep these tasks somewhere at the back of our mind. However, during such a vagrant lifestyle the form and place are unknown. Many things clarify spontaneously. And new characters show up that may affect the course of events. The journey is our personal quest. It’s like the computer game moved into the real life, playing characters on various boards, in changing circumstances. There is always a mission, collecting treasures or objects that can be useful, solving problems and developing our skills. New doors keep opening for us, new threads appear and it only depends on us which path we will choose. That’s the life, right? We experience that every day. The thing is that in the “ordinary, grey reality” we move from point A to point B (home > work, work > home) and we forget how great an impact we may have on the present moment. Or we just move this thought away because it would knock us off the accepted rhythm of the day and duties. It’s safer. It’s the price of staying in our bubble.
But when it bothers us enough to take the risk and break the suffocating umbilical cord, we pack our belongings, put out the light and set out for our personal quest. Now the conditions are dictated by the aura, our organism and ordinary willingness. And we pay more attention to these aspects than ever before, at last! We do not miss colorful performances in the sky any more, with fascination following spectacular sunrises, sunsets, rainbows, storms… The wind tangles our hair, rain drops fall into the cup of tea, and thunderbolts banging around the tent awaken us from sleep and add a thrill of emotion. The act of eating becomes a ceremony when we eat a sandwich sitting on the edge of the canyon with a view of the ribbon of the river and bizarre - shaped rocks above it. Our physical condition… it improves with every little path we walk, a tent set up every day and a good dose of clean air and sun rays. We listen to ourselves, our needs, let our own curiosity of the world push us further beyond the horizon. Towards new scenery, people and tasks. We build our characters and level-up like never before.
The treasure hunter
We met Chris yesterday at the campsite in Hanksville. He has been traveling around the USA for several months with his dog Cliv. He was tired of working behind the desk and needed a time for himself, his thoughts and passions, for finding his own way. Recently, he has been fascinated with astro photography. He hunts for a fat milky way and luminous antelopes. We met him on Jokie's birthday. When he learned of this occasion, even though we had only exchanged a few sentences, he immediately offered a jubilee dinner at his expense. From the moment of dining together in the restaurant, conversations continued until late evening. Because of that he was late with a planned trip to the Goblin Valley. Chris wanted to be there at midnight, with a supply of candles. Their flame were supposed to illuminate the bizarre rocks against the starry sky so that he could capture their singularity in the middle of the night. I could see that during the trip he celebrates every day, tracks the position of the Sun, Moon, stars, gets inspired and moved by the beauty of nature.
“Look, you will not believe what we got from Chris!” excited Joki puts two small items into my hand. “Do you know what it is?”
“Nope, these are not stones”
“Also not. These are bones. Dinosaur bones!”
With disbelief I look at Chris and he nods and begins his story. He recalls a private possession in Montana, where together with an encountered family they found rich deposits of dinosaur bones, including T-Rex teeth. And yes, the bones of dinosaurs can be so easily dug out of someone's garden, collected into a bucket and driven away and nobody is surprised, because here in some states "there is plenty of it" as he says. In fact, there is reportedly such a big amount of it that no one carries out any close archaeological supervision of all lands suspected of such resources. But the mere memory of the discovery gives a twinkle in the eye of Chris, who is already planning another expedition. The recent adventure aroused a hunter in him, a seeker of tangible traces of the history from millions of years ago.
Joki is also delighted. He finally has a material for a quaint pendant. For years we’ve been searching for some original necklace that would assist him during the journey. Just as we thought it would be - it came by itself to him at the right moment.
While rotating our new treasures in my hand, I think about what Chris said: "Too few young people I meet on the road, who travel. Americans define happiness through the amount of things they own: home, cars, toys... They wake up when they are old."
[A note from the travel journal: October 10, 2016]