The morning was cool in the desert. The sun washed mango orange against the distant mountains, a harbinger of warmth. I walked, barefoot around my campsite, waiting for the coffee water to boil. The earth was solid and cold beneath my feet, but comforting in its grainy hardness. Dust worked its way up between my toes. The hiss of the heating water was the only sound. I was anxious for it to stop, so I could listen to the silence.
I strolled about my camp, taking photos of the desert as it transformed before the rising sun. Awakening in the stillness, the greasewood and sage in Ralph Lauren hues of deep green/blue/brown/tan, the line between earth and sky in stark and unambiguous contrast. Soon the water was bubbling and I poured it into the cone filter and turned the stove off. Now, the soft breath of the morning air brushing past my ears was the only sound.
With coffee in hand I stood contemplating the sun, as it peered over the hills to the east and flowed like thick syrup over me and the desert. As the air warmed, so did I, and my clothing lightened until it was no more. The sweet radiance of the sun warmed my skin alive. I tied on my running shoes, stood and stretched, ran my hands over my naked body and took off running. I ran to the east, into the rising. I ran through the heating scent of sage and creosote. I ran lightly toward the hills. The air flowed around me and through me. I felt as free as the pronghorn antelope, the golden eagles and the coyotes that called the place home. I felt like part of the desert, the land of the ancient Paiutes.
I ran up into the hills, sweat beading on my body, my lungs burning in the high desert air. I explored an ancient river bed and gazed out over prehistory like one of the ancient ones who used to live there. Mirages of another world passed before me as the desert floor heated, rising into the deep azure sky. I stood, my body a fragile flash of light in the limitless expanse, an untamed animal returned to its home.