Death Valley was not a place that I absolutely had to see, but on my way to Yosemite, why not. Where I won’t describe it as feeling like death, it was 128 degrees that day and therefore fairly brutal to endure. It’s truly a place where only rocks survive and that is who I spent my day with. This was the first day I fought with slumber for the wheel, but it was on something called Artist’s Drive when I was awakened. We humans flatter ourselves in thinking that our relationships are the only ones that matter, but the relationships of the colors of these rocks were soo striking. It was like paint on a palate; in the most stunning swirls of pinks and browns and taupes and tans, rust, grey, copper and hints of purple and sea green. I’m not sure who the artist is of Death Valley, but they are phenomenal!

Traveling is not to completely escape or solely to remove yourself. Again, it’s a balance, but there are responsibilities and relationships to still attend to while on the road. On this day my emotions weighed heavily on my mind and I was hurt about certain facets of several relationships back home. While it nowhere near consumed me, it was taxing while exploring my next experience. It’s at these times when thankfully the Universe offers up just what it needs to lift your spirits. Perhaps, I was distracted for at some point the Sierra Nevada Mountains emerged and there is no mirage or mistaking their grandeur.  It came up sooner than I expected in my route, but I was hoping to stop at Manzanar, a place of Japanese internment during World War II. I arrived after hours, but in taking the self guided auto tour I discovered there are little remains left. I drove around a hot and brushy acre or so of land where blocks of barracks, a baseball field, ranch, orchard, hospital, police station, Buddhist temples, gardens and a photographer’s quarters where Ansel Adams once stayed were located in 1942. The barbed wire has been removed. I was naturally drawn to the cemetery to mourn any unkindness or lives that were lost. There was no one else in sight, the sun was beaming from behind the Sierras and the wind was blowing wildly. Hoards of origami cranes were strewn about the monument. It took me a minute, but I just had to remember how and make one of my own. After learning the meaning of the Japanese symbols on the monument I wound up offering it to the wind. The symbols on the monument meant the Soul Consoling Tower. I was immediately overcome, but not by sadness. This was one of those transforming moments where all I was left with was light in my heart.

A light that I could only describe as love.