It’s been one week since I left California and my family vacation. I was feeling sad and lonely, just like the Wilco song. Fittingly, the time had come for my yearly sabbatical to Joshua Tree.

This year I decide to stay at Rancho Rockotillo, a stone’s throw away from one of the entrance’s to the National Park. Yet I never went to the park itself, choosing instead to follow the trail from my backyard into the unincorporated BLM land ahead of me.

In hindsight, the strange air that I felt all around me was the ever looming presence of the global pandemic that was about to change our world, yet at the time all I knew was the internal pounding pressure in my skull was suffocating my will to find peace and maybe even some happiness.

So I wander aimlessly, not really caring if I get lost. Vultures circle above me. I pinpoint rocky mountains for the first few miles to help with GPS, then forego that notion. I give into Mother Nature fully, succumbing to a greater divine will.

If it is my time to go, at least I have a beautiful final resting place.

I try to listen to music, but can’t hear the melody. The winter sun moves slowly across the sky from East to West, and I watch the shadows grow and disappear into the black night. Just when I feel that all hope is lost, stars start to twinkle in the night sky. Soon, the brilliance of the Milky Way is on full display, brighter than I have seen in years.

It seems that this time around, all I needed was the Universe to tell me although the day to day existence for us here on Earth may be full of unknown and impending dread, there are far brighter things out there.

Wench, bring my ale, what say you?

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