What it is to be (here) / by Heidi Geist

Wind gusts over the desert floor, through thorny brush and rock, a bully…it slams the bus to make a point…leaving another obnoxious coating of dust. The art supplies, the counter tops and bed, what food and dishes are exposed. 

I walk barefoot, cringing at the impossible cleanliness that was washed away in New Mexico, with the apocalyptic sand storm…the one that claimed a solar panel and found its way into all my orifices, rocking the bus-not sweetly-but malevolently…persistent and violent.

That sun. It’s heat is growing more intense, though daily winds keep it in check. When the clouds roll over the blue sky, a relief is had, transient as it is. I’ve painted my skylight, my windshield, and double-layered curtains drape over the back windows. The roof is white, though none of this matters much, out here. Exposed. The bus is an ant under a magnifying glass.

I run a small fan. It helps the dog, Churro, who lazes on my bed…forgetting the afternoons….gifting them to the native creatures who scurry under mesquite bushes. Water is work, but must always be available. The well is a short walk from the bus, perhaps a third mile down the rutted dirt driveway. We make our daily pilgrimages to the well for drinking water, the dogs often trail behind, until a jackrabbit or lizard is spotted.

I hung a small wind chime from a mesquite tree in my garden. It sings like a hushed Italian aria, haunting a night-long dream, reminding me of my detached place in the universe, and hypnotizing, it lulls my mind to distant realities.

When it rains…it doesn’t really ever rain, but when it does… it falls like an exclamation point.

Sleep is fragmented. Coyotes yip in packs, and the dogs answer back. 

Stars present grandiose exhibitions, and the moon… when the moon is full, it enters stage center…a spotlight in the spotlight, rising proud and loud over silhouettes of mountains. 

I leave. Driving, driving, driving, driving. The road gives so much, a generous portion of eye candy, and social dance.