Preface** I write this with sadness, as the Ridgecrest earthquakes struck this area hard only a couple of weeks after me being here. Ive no idea if the Pods are still standing. My thoughts still are with the people of Ridgecrest as they re-build their community.
As soon as I saw the picture of the Desert Pods on AirBnB, I knew immediately that this was my kind of experience. Close to the small high desert town of Ridgecrest, California, were built some unique dwellings for one to see the desert in a wholly new way.
After a quick tutorial on how to reset the grid if the solo panels go out, the owner leaves me to my own devices. He recommends opening up the garage door to the bedroom where I will be sleeping.
“Dont you worry, their aint nothing out here to bother you anyway.”
And with that solid piece of advice, he is gone, and the stillness of the day takes over. I have an ice cooler to keep perishables fresh and drinks cold. A bunsen burner to boil hot water for coffee and a gas BBQ grill to cook. The raised wood decks that connect the two bedrooms and the bath/shower room feel good under my bare feet.
I bring meditation music to fill the air, strip down to just shorts, and open a book. Out of the corner of my eye I feel something moving on the ground ahead of me, over by my truck. Paranoia can grab hold of you quickly out here in the quiet if you arent careful, and so I try to ignore the feeling and keep reading.
Yet the desert slithers again, and I see it. A snake moving its way around my truck.
Normally, this would send me screaming and I would hightail it out of there. But my fear of snakes is abating quickly the more time I spend in the deserts. My only concern this time around is not letting it crawl up into my engine. I put down the book and go over to dissuade the snake from making my truck its resting spot.
The closer I get, the snake moves away from me. I see that my presence has it more scared of me than I of it. I gently help the snake change its trajectory and it goes under the pods and disappears. I go back to my book.
Later, I see a snake moving about underneath the bedroom pod that is unoccupied. I find the movement fascinating, and watch it for awhile. I do not close the door to my sleeping quarters, I dont even consider it. I am one with the desert out here, and with equal parts respect and admiration for the creatures that call this place home. I am a visitor in their land. The night falls on night one.
I rise to watch the sun shine onto another day, and take my time making the coffee. The dirt roads around here call my name, and so I ride the mountain bike for miles before the desert sun becomes too warm for comfort.
The rigidity of time is lost. I eat when hunger calls, sleep when I want to rest. I find clothing more burdensome as the day lingers on, and soon I am as naked as the Neanderthal people of old. I see my body, the build of a utilitarian man, one whose body is made for resourcefulness and function; as opposed to a womans body that is made from a more divine nature.
I have never felt more free.
The stars shine more brightly out here, the Milky Way is the clearest I have seen the galaxy since my childhood camping days. I am looking for the American dream, and was told by a Great Spirit it was somewhere in this area.