Blasphemy in a Beer Can

My friend Kristen enjoying a peaceful moment in the desert morning

“The fire … One breath of juniper smoke, like the perfume of sagebrush after rain, evokes in magical catalysis, like certain music, the space and light and clarity and piercing strangeness of the American West. Long may it burn.” – Edward Abbey

A friend has been trying to get me to go to a spiritual retreat and it looks so lovely. But truly, my religion is in the desert. Not to discount my friend and her retreat. Like canning, it’s something I want to do when the time is right, when my body is quieter. I have treasured my time with a spiritual teacher. But what’s left of my youth must be spent in physical motion. Now – when the sun is up and the weekend is free – there is nothing I can do but run to the desert canyons.

My friend Kristen enjoying a peaceful moment in the desert morning

My friend Kristen enjoying a peaceful moment in the desert morning

There is something about being in an enormous landscape and being so small – standing on a sandstone rock, surrounded by red cliffs, with only the sound of a raven’s wings – that causes me to shed everything.

Stepping across the rocky ground in early morning light, through shaggy junipers so bare and twisted I can physically feel their hardship… Being so still in this landscape that a jackrabbit with foot-long ears bursts through the sage! … Or hiking lost in thought on a long dry trail, to have consciousness shattered by the rattle of a five foot snake. I praise this communion.

Swimming, aka "Fish Surveying" was an important part of our duty as Wilderness Ranger

Swimming, aka “Fish Surveys” was an important part of our duty as Wilderness Ranger

I worship the baptism of skinny dipping in deep pools of spring snow melt. Jumping off red rock shelves into sparkling water, and warming skin in the glorious rays of the sun. Barefoot, care-free and aware ONLY of sweet physical sensations.

It is our duty to notice and appreciate these gifts of the Earth. The alternative, to wallow in the pettiness of our everyday woes, driven mad by the turning of the clock and its disconnected rituals.

Run to the wilderness while you can. There is no quicker way to enlightenment than laughter, adventure and inspiration – these are the seeds of our soul! Hands and feet in the dirt, the laughter of fellow souls around the campfire, and the crack of the beer can at the end of an arduous adventure. xo

Kellie Day mixed media artist

 “… the paradise of which I write and wish to praise is with us yet, the the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real earth on which we stand.” – Edward Abbey

2 Comments

  1. Andrea says:

    Love this Kellie! Here’s to the wilderness within and outside all of us! Andrea

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *