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Twenty-Three Days Later

Men come and go, cities rise and fall, whole civilizations appear and disappear—the earth remains, slightly modified. The earth remains, and the heartbreaking beauty where there are no hearts to break.

Edward Abbey

For twenty-three days I baked in the Mojave. The relentless sun my companion.

Twenty-Three days. A sacred number. The Earth’s Axis is tilted at twenty-three degrees. Occultists believe that the number is sacred due to the Rule of Fives. In numerology it denotes creativity and freedom.

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Psalm 23

Being away from the insectoid world was spiritually refreshing. My internet was limited, phone service near nonexistent, minimal food, and unrefrigerated water. Self-imposed asceticism, a vacation from the modern world that I desperately needed.

I greeted the rising sun every morning with a cup of black coffee and ended my day when the nighthawks fluttered across the night sky, my body tuned to the rhythm of the desert. I read, great novels, works of esoteric thought. I wrote, filled pages in my journal, completed new fiction for a friend’s project. I dreamt, lucid, powerful dreams that I still don’t understand.

The Mojave is beautiful. Life surviving on the edge of eternity. It holds a powerful magic. Not far from where I stayed ancient proto-Indians who traveled across the Bearing Straight covered rocks with petroglyphs, the oldest in the Americas. The frontiersmen knew it, pouring across the Mojave looking for gold, silver, and other precious minerals. The Mojave is where the Wild West ends, better make camp because if you keep going you hit Hollywood.

Synergy. As I contemplated life in the desert what little news, I received from the hive took me back eleven years to another desert that played a critical role in my life. The arid Helmand valley, ancient home of Zoroastrian Persians, Aryan Buddhists, ancient conquests, and modern follies. I looked at the stars and remembered lying on my back during one patrol and becoming enraptured by the beauty of the Milky Way.

The Desert seems to be a place I find myself at pivotal junctions.

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