Thursday, September 13, 2012

I stand perched on a small rock, probably the only one that exists on the desert road that stretches from Los Angeles to Santa Fe.  I teeter on it, trying to get a better view of the speeding bullet of a car that is due to arrive any minute now.  I place my hands together to form a shield over my eyes to block out the scorching sun and it’s searing rays.  As far as I can see, it’s straight highway in both directions with no car in sight.  What if he doesn’t come back?  I’ll be left as a prime filet for the carnivores that come out at dusk in this no man’s land.  I’ll find myself being stalked and eaten, not a morsel left for identification.  If I manage to survive till dawn without being devoured by a coyote, I still might freeze to death.  How cold does it get out here at night?  All these looming thoughts flood my brain and fry my nerves as I strain to see any movement on the desert floor.  

I think I hear something.  Am I imagining it?  No ... I definitely hear something far away but it’s getting closer  ... I think.  Yes!  I hear the long distance sound of what I think is a car engine and my heart begins to beat double time.  How long have I been standing here?  My eyes squint and I feel a bit dizzy from the pounding of the sun and the emotional strain that is running through me.  I am on the edge with fear and panic but now I see a white dot in the distance, mixed with the heat waves that rise from the pulsating desert sand.  The engine sound increases as the white dot becomes bigger and gets closer, close enough to finally realize that indeed, it is a car.  The white of the car and the heat of the desert reminds me of the space shuttles that touch down, descending from great heights and distances with tales of outer space adventures on board.  That’s him for sure, a person that I have known less than a week, at the controls of his sports car doing about 140 MPH and making his way directly toward me in the Mojave Desert.  

The man behind the wheel is a friend of a friend, someone who’s background is a bit “iffy”, but that seems par for the course once you’ve lived in Los Angeles.  Everyone recreates themselves once they hit the California border, so you let a lot slide when it comes to people and their history.  There was something that I really liked about this person though that made me naturally say yes when invited to drive to Santa Fe with him one afternoon. He was fun and adventurous, a lot like me or so I thought before I agreed to being dropped off in the middle of the desert.  

On our way to New Mexico I could tell that he was enthralled with his new car and wanted to make the trip special.  It’s almost impossible to have an accident on route 40 unless you either fall asleep at the wheel or get taken down by a gaggle of Road Runners or tumbleweeds.  The road lays out straight as far as the eye can see and you can easily cruise over 100 MPH.  So in a fit of enthusiasm about the merits of his new car, he asked me if I wanted to hear what it sounded like at a high rate of speed outside the car as he flew by me.  Before I gave it a second thought I heard myself saying, “For sure!”  His enthusiasm was contagious.  The moment I uttered those words, his foot was on the brake, pumping gently to bring the machine to a halt by the side of the road.  I undid my safety belt, opened the door, stepped onto the melting pavement and with a smile on my face, watched as he sped away -- going, going, gone.  Silence.  Major silence.  What just happened?  What am I doing here?  What have I gotten myself into?  Why am I even thinking in such a fearful way?  I let out a nervous laugh.  He’ll be back.  I don’t know him very well but he’ll be back, I’m sure.  And yes indeed he was back, roaring past me like a ball of thunder.  

The ground shook with power and the noise was deafening.  He was going so fast that it took him a while to slow the car down, turn it around and come back to pick me up.  He finally cruised to a stop and in a nonchalant manner, flung open the passenger side door and simply said, “Get in”.  His face was flush with accomplishment and he was grinning from ear to ear.  “Did you like it?  What did it sound like?”  Without skipping a beat I said in a cool and controlled voice; “It was great!” and it was.  I conveniently left out the part about the quaking nerves and my lack of trust.  He stepped on the gas pedal and we were off again.  

I look back at that time fondly and with hindsight realize that there was nothing to worry about, we were just two kids having fun in the desert and that was it.  But I also see that because of the fear, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy those moments left alone in the middle of nowhere.  There was such sanctity out there and if I had listened, my heart would have been filled with wonder instead of fear.  

Fear is a big part of our lives and seeps into our consciousness without us even noticing at first.  You get used to feeling on guard.  Fright can immobilize and manipulate.  I mention this story now because I am sensing the maturations of fear on the rise.  The machine is being fed, tweaked and getting ready to rumble.  Just like my friend’s speeding sports car that shook the earth as it approached, I can feel the same tremblings being disseminated now.  Drip, drip drip. Slowly anxiety is being ramped up.  I see the process, the signs that we are in for something big.  Don’t fall for it.  Your fear will only provide fuel and energy for this locomotive engine to careen it’s way into your life.  We don’t have to get on board.  It’s a choice.  

As a sovereign being I could stand in that desert now, fearless and safe, knowing that it’s up to me as to how I choose to see the world “and things that go bump in the night.”


  1. So well written! I can totally relate to this. I seriously need to be "dropped off in the middle of nowhere" to fend for myself, but it's pretty scary.

  2. Wow, what an adventure, both inside and outside of you!! I like to read your stories and imagine myself watching them in a movie theater! That desert was immense on the screen just like the desert of Fear - immense inside of us sometimes.

  3. It feels that we are all in that desert now, choosing between fear and trust. Damn, we've come this far, right? I'm all for breathing in the peace of my surroundings now and admiring the view. xo