I finally started to cry, then opened my car door and vomited onto the gravel parking lot. I sobbed and wondered where I could go. I stared into the silent dark around me and shuddered. The wind rocked my car and sent a small tumbleweed scurrying across the hood and into the sagebrush to roll among the creepy crawly things.
I knew I didn’t have any money with me. I thought I could go to the library and take money out of petty cash to pay for a room at the Shiloh down at the freeway exit. I blew my nose, and horror at the direction of my thoughts overwhelmed me. I sat and sobbed and wondered why I was crying. A disconnected voice in my head told me I am practical and never cry. I told the practical voice to shut-up and blew my nose again.
The practical voice refused to shut-up. It told me I must stop crying and take control of my surroundings. I stopped crying enough to think about the world outside my small car. Some part of me recognized the beauty of the desert night. I sat behind the steering wheel while the practical voice soothed and caressed my battered soul. Looking back I realize that while I’d been confused, I’d never been afraid. Maybe I should have been afraid, things got dangerous enough before everything got settled.
The high desert on a clear night might be full of coyotes and rattlesnakes, but God it is beautiful. Even through my confusion and grief, I could see the beauty. The stars hung low in the night sky causing the sagebrush to glow silver. Looking around, I realized the turnoff sat in the darkness sheltered from the highway by tall sagebrush and tumbleweeds.
I think I finally became too exhausted to cry. I slid into a state of disconnected, altered consciousness as snatches of poetry drifted through my brain, and I began to soak in the peaceful beauty around me. I imagined I could fly on the wind up to the stars. Forgetting reality helped. The hard lump in my chest seemed to melt in the presence of the infinite night sky. I remember thinking, “I can do this.”