It was July 5, 2006 the last time I was in the Mojave. September 5, 2007 will be the day I return. I have picked a typically unlucky time to visit. The nighttime low temperature in Needles has plummeted nearly to 80 degrees every night for the past month, reaching 78 on August 8. My campsite at Cima Dome, 4500 feet farther from sea level than the weather station in Needles, will likely be even colder than that. But I will be prepared: I will take clothes. What worries me is the daily temperature change, with such lows coming after cool, comfortable afternoon temperatures in the three digits. I hope I don’t catch cold.
It is only a few days, true. Not even long enough for the comment spam to pile up here, and besides there will be a magical blog guardian here, an e-faun, who will wreak a terrible, Daphnean vengeance on spammers and trolls. Which is good. We could use the bay leaves. This e-faun is a shy one, but there are those who claim they have heard a strange music emerging from the intertubes when no one is looking, a siren song that lures unwary surfers to their doom or to posting at Democratic Underground, whichever is worse. If you are very very lucky while I am gone, and if you set out the proper offerings of wormwood ashes, and dried chicken strips for her consort, the e-faun may sing for you here as well. Just lash yourselves to the mast is my advice.
Hmm. On second thought, “blog kobold” has a kind of ring to it too. Maybe set some cookies out there with the bitter herbs and jerky treats.
I expect to spend a significant amount of time sitting. This trip, I am hoping, will serve as a lens to focus me. The Mojave is a place where the skin of the Earth is stretched taut, crazy jumbles of mountain ridges chockablock with saline hotspring valleys, the turmoil of the mantle there to bleed through with a scratch, and so it is the place for me. These days I have been asked by more than one person what I want to do with my life. I have had no answer, and my life at least half over. Inchoate feelings rise in me like subducted batholiths, approaching the surface only by increment, until my skin is stretched taut as well. I could use some slack in that skin, some room to store water or words. Something else other than this mix of urgency and doubt in equal portions.
It should be interesting. The neotropicals will be at least checking their watches, thinking of flying back to Costa Rica, but summer still blankets the landscape. If the Scott’s orioles are there when I arrive it will officially still be the hot season. I may awake at four, use a few temperate hours to watch the sage sparrows and cactus wrens and whoever else shows up, and do the same in the evening with a long siesta between. There are worse ways to focus.