Wednesday at 10pm, after the Colbert Report ended, I walked outside for my nightly taste of cool desert air. I climbed up the back of my Land Rover and lay down on the roof for a planetarium-esque view of the world outside my own. Despite my occasional complaints about this place, I adore nighttime in the high desert. When I am looking across this clear starlit sky, clichéd questions of significance are actually not what come to mind. Instead circumstance is given life and I wonder how many other individuals will have the opportunity to live within a perfect moment, such as I felt last evening.
I take an arrogant approach to the world. We each have one life to live and it is ours to consciously utilize every moment. If I didn’t live for my own pleasure and the solace I seek in the cultural education of my children; then I would rarely dream in Technicolor. I wouldn’t know to wish for a utopia with the space and wildlife of Montana combined with the starry desert nights and culinary delights of New Mexico. I’d have never seen a thousand shooting stars over the course of endless months while driving towards that perfect hunting spot on the eastern front of the northern Rockies at four in the morning. My children would not have witnessed the migration of bighorn sheep as they circumnavigate the crackling icy shores of Banff’s Lake Louise in early spring. I’d be unaware of the cool salty beauty of Seattle, the city’s horrendous lack of driver-friendly signage and the fantastic beer-battered fish and chips sold on the pier that seem to create a singular life experience from a simple visit to the waterfront.
You see, the magic of the high desert night sky lies in its vast mirror-like qualities. Sadly, I don’t recall ever being able to actually view such anomalies as Orion’s Belt on such a regular basis in other regions I’ve lived. On a clear high desert evening, one can behold neighboring galaxies, whilst remaining a fulfilled bystander to the terra firma underneath. – DN