It's a full moon night. I am the only one awake.
Another set of high thin clouds silently proclaim more of the continuing frontal activity we have observed earlier. Stretching their processions across the sky, these thin veils of water vapor, kissed by the full moon's light, became as if they were electrified pieces of silver gauze, pierced here and there by pinpoints of starlight.
I peer down at my son Tyler, all balled up in his sleeping bag, lying beside me on our big blue tarp. Fast asleep. His first tent-less repose, into a desert’s night.
Dreaming of tarantulas, rattlers and bats? His first venture out onto new ground, past the threshold of a young boy’s world of dark closets and things that followed, unseen, within that ever entreating darkness, trying to swallow him up.
For tonight though, here in this place, the most menacing thing to happen upon us, out of curiosity, sniffing out tiny bits of human food, would be a kangaroo rat, passing by . . . in the hop, hop, hop of secretive feet and the whip of its long kangaroo tail.
With a smile, I recall times I myself have slept out Under the Stars. . .
Watching satellites slowly trace their orbits above me in Bear Canyon, Zion National Park … Huddling under a tarp as rain pecked at myself and three buddies lying like sardines on the shores of the Carrizo Impact Area, Anza Borrego, CA … First night of a week long trip in the Sierras, perched high on Taboose Pass, the wind howling relentlessly, I can remember bolting upright in my sleeping bag as splinters of granite sheared off from somewhere on the surrounding mountain walls to cascade down into an abysmal dark … Camping along the Verde River near Jerome, AZ with the sound of one lone night bird calling, calling forlornly into the night … And as a kid, about the same age as Tyler, I can still recall to this day sleeping outside my parents’ old Ford Econoline van on one of the two detachable passenger bench seats; waking enveloped in the cold, wet fog of an ethereal night at Point Mugu, CA, many years ago.
Tyler’s slow and steady breathing comforts me, He’s doing all right.
I wonder, in the near future, on one similar night like this, if Tyler will gaze down upon his own son, smile and, come back to this night – our night, his night with Dad and the desert.
to be continued . . .