We set up camp in a grassland in southern Arizona, inside a national conservation area, Las Cienegas.
For six days we have had no neighbors, no noise, no distractions other than the birds that fly overhead looking for their prey or sound of the wind as it whistles through the grass. About once a day a truck passes by and we go to the window to see if someone has come to stay. We take walks daily, 2-4 hours, and watch the stars and the moon at night as we sit at our campfire.
For the first time on this trip I am feeling isolated, cut off from the pulse of the world. We still have the Internet thanks to our Verizon hotspot and listen to the news each day on NPR. Heck, we even read the New York Times each morning. But my relationship to the headlines has shifted because I have no one but Mark to discuss them with and we already finish each other’s sentences so I won’t find a fresh perspective here.
And so, the impact of the events behind the headlines becomes more distant and I try to embrace my isolation and see what it will bring.
So, what is it like out here in the golden grasslands that are peppered with dark mesquite trees?
We have lots of room, thanks to the millions of acres owned by the government, our federal land. We’ve set up our screen house and I have used it a couple of times to write in. In fact I am sitting here in the late afternoon sun right now.
We bought food five days ago before we arrived here and have been grilling salmon, making vegetarian chili and tuna sandwiches. Tomorrow we are driving to the nearest town for dinner out! We have our food preparation under control, especially the chopping in such a small space. Mark washes the dishes at night because he is better at rationing water than I am. We use about 45 gallons of water every three days, plus several gallons of spring water for drinking.
We share the grasslands with cattle ranchers. Here’s a herd we ran into on a hike.
We plan to stay here another few nights, then visit Bisbee, Arizona, a charming mountain town, before I fly out of here to see friends and family back home.
Listen as Johnny Cash & Lynn Anderson tear it up.
Where we are today.