On Saturday morning of last week, Jessica and I departed for our (honeymoon) road trip to Zion National Park. We drove through the Mojave desert, the dry, salty winds whipping through Buckley’s windows as the only source of air, the only respite from the stagnant interior of a car without a compressor. But the sweat on my back and my upper lip didn’t cause too much distress. Hell, we were in the wild!
As we made our way, I thought of the landscape- flat and arid, with tufts of plant life, of Yucca trees and an occasional jackrabbit- and how closely the trip resembles aspects of the journey Alasdair and Shamus take in my ongoing novel A Thousand Screaming Rabbits.
In the story, the two characters embark on a road trip that takes them through the lonely desert towns of California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. Within, and partially because of this setting and vacant landscape, Alasdair rediscovers what it means to value, to love and to live.
Someone said once that you think clearer when in nature. I suppose that’s true, in a way. Away from the drone of busyness, of gadgetry, of schedules. While I do certainly value the loudness of consumerism, technology and urban sprawl, its pleasant, and often cathartic, to be removed from it all.
Alasdair finds this to be true. So do I.
And so did we.
Maroon slabs of sandstone stand tall against the backdrop of a periwinkle sky. The sun, an equal mix of haze and bright, warms the skin as you step out from the cool shadows of the mesas and mountains. The crisp amalgamation of autumnal night air and brisk winds refresh the rivers and creeks on the canyon floors.
This is Zion.
We hiked until our legs felt like jello, our heels gathered blood. We built fires. We made Mormon jokes. We read and wrote in the stillness, the clarity nature often makes possible.
Oh, and Jessica agreed to be my editor/reader. I’m pleased about this. Before, I think I was scared to allow anyone to read it, to edit, to comment on it. Mostly because I’d invariably need to change it. And I wasn’t ready to cut up my baby. Quite the wuss face I was.
But I’m ready now. Thanks critter bug.