Thursday, August 30, 2012

My Desert Spirit Guide Part Two

Another of those strange things I found on the desert

I followed the lightly worn trail that the animal had taken. As it was a single track trail I needed to turn more often in order to avoid the sage brush. The small scrub plant gave excellent concealment for all of the roaming desert animals. But I never lost sight of my guide.

He would trot ahead for some distance and then stop and turn back as if to make sure I was still following him.

After several hundred yards on the light trail he took a quick left under a large sage brush. I stopped the four-wheeler and scanned the area trying to see where he had gone.

A worry crept through my mind that I had lost him.

I drove slowly forward searching close than far out; letting my eyes do zigzag patterns across the desert. And just as fast as I had lost him I saw him again. He was much farther away, almost 100 yards. He was silhouetted on a nearby rise. He had to have moved with incredible speed to appear that far away so quickly.

My spirit guide waiting for me to follow

I drove the four-wheeler toward him and he stayed almost motionless.

I had no idea where I was going or why he was leading me but I knew that he was leading me. As I neared the crest of the rise where he stood he padded off again this time to the right.

He was climbing a hill that gently rose above the desert floor and formed a plateau. He had made it up easily but my going was slightly slower. I eased the four-wheeler forward, climbing over basketball sized rocks that jetted from the earth. I had to move slowly or risk puncturing a tire.

When I reached the top of the small plateau I was alone. I sat there, my music still playing in my ears, wondering why he had brought me here to this place at this time. I looked in every direction but there was no sign of my guide. There was however, a large pile of rocks.

As I have said before seeing a pile of rocks on this desert was nothing new, but I couldn’t help wonder why anyone would hike rocks up on top of a hill to pile them. And then a sudden thought occurred to me:

“What if there was something hidden under the rocks?”

I felt very strongly that this was why my guide had brought me here. I swung my left leg over the seat of the four-wheeler and stepped on the ground. I took three steps toward the pile of rocks and stopped. Two children and a tour in Iraq have made me a cautious man.

The summer sun was beating down and the pile of rocks could be the perfect shady place for a bull snake or even a rattle snake. Being bit by the former would hurt but give me a good story to share, but a bite from the latter would earn me a trip to the emergency room if I was lucky or earn me a spot as the main dish at a coyote family reunion if I wasn’t.

I pulled the headphones from my ears and turned off the four-wheeler so I would hear any movement or rattles. On the front of the four-wheeler was a metal basket that carried a fire extinguisher, emergency eye wash, and a machete for cutting the heads off of weeds. I picked up the machete, if it worked on the head of weeds it might work of the head of a snake.

I approached the rock pile slowly. The rocks were stacked over three feet high, which ruled out any natural occurrence unless it was the scat of some yet undiscovered rock monster.

I reached carefully with my left hand and picked up the first rock while my right hand was ready to strike with the machete at any slithering creature that might be hiding under it. There was nothing under it but more rock.

Even with the porous nature of the rock it was lighter than I had expected. I tossed it to the side and picked up another in the same manner. It didn’t take long to clear the pile down toward the plateau’s floor.

I noticed something peculiar. There was a relatively flat rock resting on the top of several rocks that were sunk into the ground. I looked to the left and the right and it appeared that the rocks were butted up against each other like a box built out of rocks.

I took a moment as my mind ran through the possibilities of what could be inside.



“Forgotten truths and mystic ways written for me to find?”

I reached my left hand out and grasped the rock. I could feel the porous holes on my fingers as I lifted it up to reveal what had been hidden.

I could hardly believe my eyes. My guide, my spirit guide, had led me to this. Not treasure or artifacts or even forgotten wisdom rested in the rock strong box. No he had led me here to find a great pile of mouse doo doo.

“Just kidding Harry you’re not really a wizard.”

“Sorry Luke you but screw your feelings and use that computer.”

“Actually, Bilbo I think you should sit this one out.”

To be fair there might have been ancient records there at one time, as I could see the mice had made a nice nest out of bits of paper.

I gained a lot this summer on the desert: new experiences, a love of mixing and eating peanut butter with Nutella straight from the jar, but mostly that moment like these are in place to remind me that deep down the universe thinks I’m an idiot.