this is the desert playa
*The flatness of the desert plays a trick on the mind's eyes, and now I know that's how the concept of "mirage" came to be. If you look far enough across the plains of the desert, you'll see what looks like water in the distance. A body of water, it seems, will be found if you just keep walking towards it. But it must be the sun, or the sand, or both, because what it really is, for miles and miles and miles out, is just desert. Hot, untouched desert.
*At dusk everyday, as the sun begins to set, losing its strength, and people retreat back to their camps to prepare for the night, I leave our camp and ride out to the playa on my bike. Here, on the sparse field of nothing, on the cracked white canvas that will be trodden and touched and mowed down for a week, I am exhilarated by space and expanse and the mountains that surround me on all sides. I imagine I am in a large crater. This city we've built, the things that we carry out to the desert: both the tools that we'll need to survive and the stresses that make it difficult to survive, will soon be swept away by the dust and the wind. Here in the desert, there is freedom if you'll take it. I feel this freedom most palpably during these bike rides at dusk, when I'm by myself, pedaling as slowly as I want or as quickly as I can, just taking in it all, taking pleasure in the movement of gliding across the desert, without cars, without roads, without a sense of urgency. Only the sun tells time here in the desert, and minutes and seconds do not exist. Only moments.