It was the end of October, maybe the first part of November (I can’t really recall) that I find myself driving along the Interstate. I have the beautiful desert surrounding me as I return to the Joshua Tree area. This is the start of an annual pilgrimage I’ll be making as long as I am able. Each year I’ll be bringing a small piece of remembrance of my dead sister and leaving it out here.
The homestead that will be my base camp of the next few days is a simple one room cabin built out of reclaimed and weathered wood. Everything about this place screams “off the grid”, including the toilet that is an outdoor open air outhouse, with a bucket and sawdust to keep away the flies and the odor.
I have no modern distractions, only perfect weather to sit in a rickety wooden chair to drink and smoke while thinking about her as time passes by. I wander through the desert aimlessly, sometimes on my bike, other times on foot, until I find the perfect place to leave the remembrances that I’ve brought with me.
In the days after she died, we go through your room to decide who wants what you’ve left behind. I find a pile of coins from the few countries you were able to visit while alive. Australia and Costa Rica, as well as some rare USA coins. I stack them in a pile and leave them in an abandoned homestead. They may get taken by another, but that’s ok with me. The point is to let things go.
The point is to move on.
I feel so close to you out here. As I watch the night unfold before me, the twinkling stars and brilliant moon, I can not help but think they all shine a little brighter due to your influence, your light, your goodness.
I find it so cathartic out here that I even get a glimpse of my former self, happy and free in a dinosaur costume. I roam the desert, knowing how you would have just laughed and laughed.
No one else would have gotten it, but I don’t care. As long as it makes you smile. I look forward to leaving more pieces of you out here in the years to come.