I left Pecos after another abnormal sleeping arrangement. Sleeping on the ground doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. I feel more in touch with the earth. I woke up covered in dirt, but I felt great. Physically and mentally. Since leaving Los Angeles, I have grown more connected to the earth. When I was in Indio, CA I saw a woman sitting on the ground, picking up handfuls of dirt and throwing them on herself. It was obvious that she was on a mind altering substance, but I didn’t comprehend at the time that the unashamed joy on her face had a direct correlation to her connectivity to the dirt. I may be guilty of overthinking this, but I don’t believe I am. Losing touch with one’s relationship to the Earth can be a devastating enterprise. Reconnecting is a whole different story.
I wrote this in California desert somewhere and forgot about it. I think being in the epicenter of the dead calm of Pecos reignited these considerations, so I thought I’d share them now:
I was riddled with distraction in L.A. I grew anxious and worried that I wasn’t going out and experiencing new things enough. I stayed cooped up in my room and created cavalcades of unnecessary stress. I adopt a different mentality on the open road. There are no artificial lights out here. Only fire. There are no horns honking or screeching tires. Only the dense, intimate reverberations of nothingness broken up by the occasional coyote howl. Time becomes irrelevant. There is a dramatic shift in life come nightfall. It is profoundly romantic. One is free of distractions. They become forced to contemplate their existence or think of nothing at all. My consciousness is entrenched in the foliage surrounding me and the stars above. It’s a feeling I struggle to hollowly attain in a city’s setting yet fall short every time. Out here it’s so simple. I am surrounded by life in both settings, but here I can physically feel it. I only wish I could open a dialogue with this aura. However, I am confident that our awareness of each other is ample ground for higher thought. This feeling is extraordinarily difficult to translate into words…
I took drugs when I wrote that. Marijuana opens up a new realm of consciousness and awareness for me. Its illegality and misunderstanding is infuriating, but I understand why. It has been a while since I have participated in its bountiful properties. The lack of usage has not diminished my relationship with the earth in the least, but I do feel that extra creative and thought provoking factor omitted from my discourse with the earth. I think what I’m trying to say is that I want to smoke weed and talk about the solar system with my friends. But that is “irresponsible” and will get me nowhere in life. Well, it got me to Pecos. TX. And now as I enter the enormous open landscape between here and Fort Stockton, I will examine my relationship with the Earth, the people on it, and the roles we play. I will internally debate if I am an imitator in this society, or if I truly have free will. But first I have to take a shit.
I didn’t think about those things. I thought about girls and potentially having a pet barracuda named Harpsichord. And then I got to Fort Stockton. I don’t fit in here. I don’t work on an oil rig and I’m not Hispanic. Those seem to be the two requirements for habitation in this town. But that’s alright; I didn’t have plans to move here anytime soon. Plus the people are super nice. Although people are nice everywhere. Even the people who curse and throw things at me. Maybe they’re not nice to me, but they nice somewhere else to someone else.
So I’m in Fort Stockton and I have time to kill. I’m going to look and see if there’s a fort in Fort Stockton. There is! Once you look past the Wal-Mart and combination KFC/Taco Bell, she’s sitting right there. Well it’s not much of a fort. There aren’t even any walls. It’s just kind of an open field with a few barracks and a guard house. Upon further research, I learned that because this part of Texas is so dry and flat, if any potential threat approached the fort, they’d be spotted miles away because of the dust that they’d kick up. The more you know. I also spent three dollars to go inside these archaic structures and marvel at the lackluster interior. I shouldn’t be so negative. It was interesting. I learned a ton about Buffalo Soldiers and how they basically had to do accomplish the near impossible task of hunting down guerilla Apache throughout the deserts of Mexico and Texas. Fun fact: It’s speculated that these African American soldiers adopted the name Buffalo Soldier, because the Natives of the land thought their hair felt similar to that of a buffalo’s head. “I’m just a Buffalo Soldier in the heart of America. Stolen from Africa, brought America. Said he was fighting on arrival, fighting for survival. Said he was a Buffalo Soldier, win the war for America.”
This is a complete side note, but it just popped into my mind. My biggest regret of leaving California is having not visited the internment camps where Japanese American were held during World War II against their will. That thought just popped into my head while walking around the Fort. That happened to me a lot. I think about things. I think walking around the Fort sparked the vision of what I assumed the camps to look like. I don’t know, I have no frame of reference when it comes to what they looked like, only speculation. I do know, that it was unbelievably fucked up what this country did to its own citizens while millions sat back completely idle and watched. From the words of the late George Carlin “Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. All we’ve ever had in this country is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you’d know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter.” I love this country, but I stay up at night thinking about how little of a fuck it gives about me. Woah, this took a paranoid and cynical turn. Here, let’s ease the tension with some Velvety goodness:
Total Ascent: 813 ft.