When nothing is everything

I want for nothing.

Content.

Centered.

At the knees of the sacred Sierra Nevada, humbled by the majesty of Mount Whitney. Drenched in the sun, tumbler of filtered water at my side. Just the clicking of the keyboard to stir the silence of this incredible place, Alabama Hills in Lone Pine. It is lonely. It isn’t that piney. It is boulders and peppered dust and tumble weeds and a slight breeze and wispy clouds predicting Monday’s impending storm. The dogs are napping. My left arm is tanning. My just-washed hair is drying and I have my writing, my art, my music, my vitamins and veggies, my solar panel and mini electronics generator, a book—of course—and silence. 

I want for nothing.

Sometimes the spirit needs nothing but surrender, mixed in with a bit of fear. 

I’m camping on the Moon. The scene of many, many movies from “Gladiator” and westerns to the “Long, Long Trailer”, in fact, I’m looking at the incredibly dangerous road Desi and Lucy drove up toting literally tons of rocks in their Airstream. I was supposed to camp at the Mount Whitney Portal Campground but decided, NOOOOO, having been warned of the steep and dangerous road. Looking at that same road from this vista at the foot of the mountain range, I’m so glad I followed my instinct. Not a tall-heights person. No, not me! This campsite out in No Man’s Land is enough out-of-my-comfort-zone for me. Other than the occasional biker or Jeeper, I’m here alone with my thoughts. Sometimes, that’s all a person needs to feel whole, repaired. Nature. Something to write with. An opportunity to ponder and not talk.

I want for nothing.

This is the same mountain range I have driven past for 35 years, yet I never thought to pull off the road and sit a while. Camp. Feel the heat. Feel the cold. Be musty. Walk around without a shirt on. Squat when it’s time. Be raw. Be natural. 

Honestly, my first instinct is to flee. This place is way too wild for me. I like to see people, talk to them. This place is desolate. No stores. No gas pumps. No other travelers closer than two miles away. The silence: it is a bit unnerving. The view, sharp grey mountains scalloped-pie-crusting a layer of toasty egg custard nutmeg dusted landscape. It is not a place I am naturally drawn to. Out of my element. For sure. But it is exactly what I needed at this point in my life: Different. Even the air feels different, like a sheath of bridal satin tickling my freckled, dry arms. 

Tomorrow I will return to civilization, escaping two days of rain, staying in a predictable, dog-friendly hotel. Wine tasting in my sandy sweats. What I’m used to. The comfort of the Central Coast. Three more days of camping up the road from my beloved Cambria. What I’m used to. What I like. Soon, being here, when nothing meant everything, will be a memory, one I hope never to forget, the time I decided to push the boundaries, take a chance, so that next time I don’t have to be afraid. Maybe a little, just not as much. 

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