You tried to make time to go into the wild on Monday and on Tuesday but nothing felt quite ‘wild enough’ so you decided that today you would take a trip to the desert.
You set the alarm for 4am but in anticipation you wake up at 3am. You lie in bed for awhile wondering if you might go back to sleep – and if you do, then wondering if you’ll miss the morning because you have your heart set on seeing the sunrise.. You don’t go back to sleep. At 3.30am you get up and make coffee and pack some food and leave the house. You have to drive for just over an hour, mostly in the dark. You arrive at a gate on the side of the gravel road and you pull over (remember we’ve passed through this place together). You stop the car, put on your backpack and start walking through the scrubby bush towards the mountain. The air is still very cool, cool enough to be wearing a jersey.
There is no clear path but you are aiming for a mountain ridge and find a way through a dry river bed. Now everything is still in the shadow. The Sun is not up yet. The smell of the early morning is fresh… herbal smells from the plants and the dry air make you feel like you are somewhere far away from home. You think about the wild and what it means. The immediate idea of a jungle or thick forest, exotic animals and danger. There is none of that here but you feel lost in a huge landscape with no sign of other people, only hills and scrubby bushes stretching out into the distance, hitting ranges of blue mountains far off. The insects and you, and some birds calling as the Sun rises. That is all.
You see the Sun hit the tip of the mountaintop and you know there is no going back, the Sun will soon envelope everything, the day will become too hot to handle but inevitably night would come and everything would end and start again. You feel the silence, a deep silence sustained by the mountains towering around you. It is too hot to stay too long but you feel satisfied with your choice of place today.