“I travel in wild country a great deal, often alone, and my friends find this to be fatally eccentric, although they use the more polite term “stupid.” They feel sorry for me because I miss the fun of camping in groups, same-sex or mixed. Perhaps I am too cranky to know any better. I go afield to calm myself, to sort out the demonic squirrels in my head, a self-indulgence that lasts about thirty seconds, or as soon as the first petroglyph or curve of the canyon wall comes into view or a ravenous swarm of gnats eats my entire skin, or heatstroke finishes off what the lobotomy began. Then I succumb to pure sensation. I try to notice how the desert is put together, with the expectation that if I look hard enough the land will open up to me, spilling an endless stream of color, light and living things in bright ecstasy.
In company, I would likely remain completely silent for two days straight and everyone would take it personally. I would try my best to troop down a slickrock trail with a gynocentric agenda. I would fall flat on my face with strong women walking over my back in single file. Perhaps in a herd of gazelles, there is always one animal that faces the west when all of the others face east, one animal that drinks backward at the waterhole and is actually not very gazelle-ish at all, but rather awkwardly assembled and inclined to involuntary utterances such as deranged hiccups when the lions are eating it’s compadres.”
ellen meloy… the anthropology of turquoise