Well, it was a calculated run away, with kid care and animal care arrangements made ahead of time. I felt frazzled and hungry and near desperate for some alone.
Don't get me wrong! I love my family and home deeply and thoroughly. But life is full of stress and concerns and medicine to me is alone time.
I took care of church business, took care of kid stuff, loaded up a sleeping bag, camp stove and ice chest, a few books, journals, hiking boots and plenty of coffee and cream, of course, and drove down south to Big Bend National Park, my favorite retreat. The goal was a two night, day and a half silent retreat.
With permit in hand, I drove through the park, turned left at Panther Junction Visitor Center, a few miles down the paved road I made a right turn onto a fairly smooth Glenn Springs Road. I sang with the 70's station, feeling free at last! No cell service, no email, no bills, no worries. Dusk descended and the Chisos Mountains, a sky island with peaks almost 8000 ft high, silhouetted in the darkening sky. Many songs later, I reached Juniper Canyon turn. A dead end road that leads to two significant hikes, but not much else. Besides solitude, big skies, mountain views and peace.
As soon as I turned onto the rutted, 4wd road, my nose was surprised by the most amazing gift! The richest of perfumes, a blend of bi-colored mustard and moist creosote came in and filled the truck cab. It was magical! As if the land was spreading itself out in a welcome to me! "We knew you were coming! Delighted to have you! Come on in, come on in. We were waiting. Do we ever have a feast prepared for you!"
I turned off the radio. Let the sounds of the mountainous desert begin to soak into my bones.
I spread my sleeping bag onto the ground. Well...okay, onto my thermarest pad! and watched the constellations make their appearance. I watched the clouds scurry across the sky. I decided that instead of spending hours working on important stuff, I would spend hours being still, watching the clouds, the mountains, the sun and moon. I would be quiet and explore and dally, and sit and walk and try to just be.
And I did!
I wish everyone had the opportunity, or made the opportunity to experience a little quiet in their life sometime. Quiet, but with background orchestra of perfume, stars and evening bird song. Plenty of effort to get there, but worth the price paid!