Orion’s belt is now in the center of my sky. The moon is half, waxing to full. The air is cold, crisp and there is a heavy stillness, deathly quiet. It is January 1, 2012, I think. Something made me stir from my dreamtime and I slowly lift my eyelids to gather where I am and I feel the comfort of the stars and orion. I am in my -25 degree sleeping bag on a mound of metamorphic rocks, in the middle of a pink canyon in the back-country mountains of Death Valley, California or who-knows-where…utterly alone, fasting, praying, vision questing.
My sacred pile of rocks – the pink canyon where I quested.
I have been fasting for four days, drinking a gallon of spring water a day. Questers sacrifice food (and community and comfort) as an offering when they are praying for a vision. My body feels light, afloat, clean and empty inside and tingles in anticipation of being filled with newness, meaning, depth, spirit.
I miss my people and I feel my heart ache at the thought of them. I think of them in their warm beds, snuggling with their lovers, having gone to bed with full bellies. I think of the handful of my closest people who knew I was doing this, who I asked to hold me in their thoughts and I can feel their support and love, even here in the depths of this dark, cold canyon.
I can’t ignore my full bladder any longer and I begrudgingly and very slowly crawl out of my sleeping bag. I carefully stand up, rolling up one vertebrate at a time so I don’t pass out. The darkness and the moonlight cast blue shadows and I am walking in a dream state. I am careful with my footing, the rocks are sharp and wobbly and I could slip. I would hate for the end of my existence to be the result of being clumsy while sleepwalking to go pee in the wilderness.
To be continued…