I spent the first half of 2016 talking to the desert

and interpreting its many wild omens and memento mori: a bison jawbone, scorpion, a dust devil, German strangers, a team of wild horses…

Trips were taken in January, March, and May to the following places: Caliente, NV; Cathedral Gorge State Park; Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge; Golden Canyon, Badwater, and Artist’s Palette all located in the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park; Longstreet Inn Casino and RV Park; Dennis Hof’s Alien Cathouse Brothel; Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge (where one day I hope to be married); Amargosa Opera House and Hotel; and China Ranch Date Farm.

Three natural phenomena stirred us out of our seats from under the Amargosa Hotel colonnade, and into the desert night: a scorpion charging at us with raised tail, the salty moon rising, and a one-night-stand. We lifted our hands to the Milky Way. We touched the green carpet in our room. Our headboard was a mural of peacock feathers fanned out.

Everyone talks about the silence here, of course. The living thing, that connects you to me, is totally lost, refuses to call out, but is still breathing.

“And I saw, while the silence of those who really had died was invading me as ivy invades the mouths of the stone lions…How luxurious this silence is. It’s built up of centuries. It’s a silence of a roach that’s looking. The world looks at itself in me. Everything looks at everything, everything lives in the other; in the desert things know things. Things know things so much that that’s…that’s what I’ll call forgiveness, if I want to save myself in the human world. It’s forgiveness itself. Forgiveness is an attribute of living matter.” -Clarice Lispector, The Passion According to G.H.

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