We are home again, out of the desert, returned to civilization. It was awesome and inspiring to be back there, in that totally alien landscape. I had only been once before, in July of 2010. It was so different this time, with actual green in the higher elevations, and a slight chill in the air most mornings. But don't be fooled; the white crust in these photos is salt, not snow. We met some regulars, Gus and Vera, who told us that during their trip last summer they fried an egg in a cast iron skillet by setting it out in the parking lot. They had hoped the heat that day would break the record - 134 F (56.7 C) - but it steadied out at 132. The egg was done in eight minutes.
We went up to high places and down barely-there dirt roads, and found ourselves all alone. That place is so incredibly quiet. You can only hear yourself breathe. We found mine shafts and pink quartz, and rusted tin cans piled near ghost towns. We even saw a pair of large coyotes, standing calmly on the edge of the empty road. They were facing down that straight ribbon of asphalt into the valley, about two miles uphill from where I'd had my morning run. It gives me the chills to think about.
It was a great trip. We are so tired. We fell through the door into our apartment after over twelve hours of traveling, and were in bed by nine - missing the new year, as has been our somewhat unintentional tradition. We were up before dawn to rush up into the headlands, to make sure the sun would rise on the first day of this new year. I slept on and off the entire rest of the afternoon. I think we are nearly caught up by now. I hope so.
I am back in the ceramics studio in exactly one week. I am relieved and excited. I should start a list, before I forget the things I want to make. I should start a schedule, to best use my time. Whether either of those will happen, who is to say. First I need to clean and organize my tools.
**It should be noted that all photos (with the exception of the two immediately above this section) are Kai's. He was, as usual, the one with all the camera patience on this trip.
There are some simple items for the list, too: I want to learn to crochet. I want to knit my first sweater. I have books I need to buy, and read, and thoughts I need to cultivate. I really need to go to the dentist. Bake more rye bread. Maybe even buy a new mattress.
Here's to the new year. May it be everything we hoped, and then some.