Sleepwalking in the Wilderness

Orion’s belt is now in the center of my sky.  The moon is half, waxing to full.  The air is cold, crisp and there is a heavy stillness, deathly quiet.  It is January 1, 2012, I think.  Something made me stir from my dreamtime and I slowly lift my eyelids to gather where I am and I feel the comfort of the stars and orion.  I am in my -25 degree sleeping bag on a mound of metamorphic rocks, in the middle of a pink canyon in the back-country mountains of Death Valley, California or who-knows-where…utterly alone, fasting, praying, vision questing.

My sacred pile of rocks – the pink canyon where I quested.

I have been fasting for four days, drinking a gallon of spring water a day.  Questers sacrifice food (and community and comfort) as an offering when they are praying for a vision.  My body feels light, afloat, clean and empty inside and tingles in anticipation of being filled with newness, meaning, depth, spirit.

I miss my people and I feel my heart ache at the thought of them.  I think of them in their warm beds, snuggling with their lovers, having gone to bed with full bellies.  I think of the handful of my closest people who knew I was doing this, who I asked to hold me in their thoughts and I can feel their support and love, even here in the depths of this dark, cold canyon.

I can’t ignore my full bladder any longer and I begrudgingly and very slowly crawl out of my sleeping bag.  I carefully stand up, rolling up one vertebrate at a time so I don’t pass out.  The darkness and the moonlight cast blue shadows and I am walking in a dream state.  I am careful with my footing, the rocks are sharp and wobbly and I could slip.  I would hate for the end of my existence to be the result of being clumsy while sleepwalking to go pee in the wilderness.

To be continued…

3 Comments (Post Comment)
Andrew says:

You brought a laptop to the wilderness? I should try that, people need to know that I am having a vision quest.

Alyson Duffey says:

Are you preparing for a vision quest, Andrew? I would love to talk with you about it. The more people who seek a meaningful connection to wildness, the better. This connection drives your desire to protect threatened lands, animals, and people. We would love to hear about your experience.

Kat Haber says:

Clarity in the wild, wonderful!

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