Am I really going to end it on the number thirteen? None of this has been planned - if I had planned it, I would have had it end on twelve, a nice even, holy number. But I'm not the biggest planner. Ask Mr. CFP what reaction he gets when he suggests we "plan our day".
Friday morning. Today we all head back to base camp. If I had access to a good meal here, I would be more than happy to stay at least a few days longer. But I don't have any food, and people will come looking for me if I don't make it back to the group by mid-morning. Hmmmm... I wonder what that would be like! I pack my stuff. Then I pick up a rock from my prayer circle, spend a moment remembering the person I allowed to be represented by it, and I liberate it - throwing it out some place in the sand and sage. I do that for each rock in the circle until none are left. Then I thank the lovely spot for the time we've spent together.
As I walk back toward base camp, the mind begins its perverse game of,
"Is this really the day I'm supposed to go back? Maybe I counted the days wrong and I'm not supposed to go back until tomorrow."
"No, today is the day."
"How do you know?"
And for the second or third time today, I go over events that occurred every day and night during my solo, and I convince the crazy head ghosts that everything is cool. This is the day to head back.
Carrying my gear after three days of minimal calories, I get tired and breathless on my walk and I have to stop and rest. This experience is no different than the other times when I have fasted the three days of solo, so I feel smug in knowing that, even though I ate some food this time, I'm still suffering as much as if I didn't. Heh heh...
Once back at base camp, I enter through the rock circle that was also the portal for entering my solo. I'm greeted and blessed by the guides. And then... food. Lovely fruit and out-of-this-world hard-boiled eggs. Aaaahhhh... It's as though I am tasting these things for the first time.
During the rest of this day, and then again tomorrow morning, we will share our stories. I already feel changed by my experiences, but listening to the crack-your-heart-into-a-million-pieces stories that I hear from others, I am changed even more.
A quest in the desert offers each of us lessons in the way we need them most. It is not unique in this. Every moment brings us limitless opportunities to see ourselves, to understand, to open into more of who we are. It just seems that quest is an accelerated course, due to the structure, the excellent guidance from the guides, the earnest fellow travelers, and the time spent in Huge Desert Mama's lap.
Previous Wilderness Quest Posts: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12