On break from a long drive to California, I took respit via a hike in Joshua Tree National Park, hiking up Lower Cottomwood Wash to this place- wash meaning maybe some soul cleansing under the desert sun, or also in this case, the dry sandy bed of a river currently without water flowing in it. At this spot, the water’s route comes over this dry fall. Walking inside the crack, I found the tiniest dribble of water, and it spoke as a spot for a new Slice of Life audio reflection. It’s been a few weeks since the last one.
Having just re-listened to it, 2 days later, on one hand I am wondering who I am listening too, but I know the voice. I am feeling a strong tug to return to this peaceful place, but am far away. The nudge for this came via an email from my friend Raj Boora, who I met for lunch in Edmonton back in mid-August. He recently emailed me a brief but big question about my road travel in 2011:
What did you learn about yourself on this trip, Alan?
Having tried to answer it, I am still wondering if I did, but there you go.
To get this spot I had walked up a dry river bed, all sand and gnarled wind blasted trees, many bent over, like old men others hoary with mistletoe or flood debris. They have a tenacity for life worth respecting.
At the place of the dry waterfall where I recorded this was a place of picture words for Scpttlo– the weathered granite formation this place is known for, boulders looking like giant toy blocks, pillows of rock, looking like like piles frozen from squeezed out mud.
Inside the crack of rock where I recorded this is a a drip of water down crack. Water in the desert very magical and a hopeful sound. My hope in 2012 for the next few months is to do 2-3 Slices per week, especially in light of sorting to teach a section of ds106 starting next week, and reflect on my own process of becoming a teacher.
In thinking about Raj’s question, what I thought I learned is (at least when this was recorded):
(1) That I could do the trip – that I was able to live out of the truck for 5 months, to be away from my home, to cover a lot of distance and be with many people.
(2) That I could make mistakes, not see it at the time, and face up to regrets. I have much more to do here, but am learning in the face of times of despair, life does go on.
(3) That I have a lot of good friends out there. So many people went the extra mile/kilometer and then some. Connecting with them in their space, where they live really matters beyond the connections made online.
(4) That I have a lot to improve on- s.g. fitness, getting out hiking, getting back to the space of nature.
That was a very special spot, and is now so far away.