Gone Missing

Please note: The travel described here occurred in the past. Today, I do not recommend that anyone who is, or may possibly be, pregnant travel to this state. A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy cannot be safely treated under this state’s current laws. Please care for yourself and travel to places where your life and health are valued.

Not Flat

Against my better judgement, I wandered out into the California desert (see Desert Dust from October 2011). I should not have left my car, especially since no one knew where I was, but there’s something about a place of quiet and solitude that beckons.  A bit of brush, a few rodent-sized hiding holes in the shade, and expansive miles of flat sand ringed by the highest mountains in the state. Yes, this is one tiny bit of the Golden State drylands (see Every Kind Of Desert from October 2021) and I am surrounded by every last grain, rock, branch, and hiding spot, but not another single soul.

I bring along my phone, because I’m not entirely insane, and a large bottle of water, because I am in the desert, and a countdown of twenty minutes.  I will walk only as far as I can forward advance in that time, then turn around and return to my rental car.  With the sun ahead of me and Mount Whitney to my right, I dodge the holes, which could easily hide a snake as a rodent.  When the alarm sounds, I pause, drink me water, turn around, and my rental car is gone.  That flat sand masked a slight incline, and descent over a barely recognizable rise.  With the car out of site, I truly felt alone in the desert, and I loved it.

Park And Go

When just a tiny pup, I took our two dogs to a local veteran’s park.  Flanked with flag poles and memorials, I thought it not an appropriate place for pups to play and poop, so we wandered down a few steps towards the softball fields, out of sight of my vehicle.  Despite the green grass and open spaces, no one enjoyed their lushness besides the three of us.  We played – well, one of us played, another refused to partake in such puppy silliness, and I photographed the mischief and mayhem.  We ascended the hill, finding our vehicle precisely where we left it, with plans to try to socialize the two again in the not-too-distant future.

We do return, park our car, and wander towards the flags, even though I cannot see them from the vehicle.  But wait, as we approach, the flags aren’t on the flag poles, because there aren’t any flag poles.  The memorials, the steps down to the softball field, the grass, everything is gone.  Only mounds of dirt remain, fenced off from the surroundings.  How odd, that in the midst of a massive desert, a vehicle vanishes over a low hill, yet over this low hill, an entire park has been removed and erased – gone.  I enjoy the uncertainty of disappearing into the wind, or into the desert, but having the scene disappear from me I find entirely unnerving.

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