by Julia Fishman
6 AM. I’ve been up all night, and a happy exhaustion blankets me as I look out at the pink horizon. I’m sitting on the edge of the fountain in front of center camp, watching night slowly turn to day.
Peace. A couple huddles together on the other side of the fountain edge. His shoulder is her pillow. I see the energy between them. I’ve felt it several times this week already. Honesty. There are no barriers or internal monologues driving these two souls apart. That separation has melted in the forever expanse of cracked playa floor and the shadowy mountains guarding it edges.
I can hear the drums behind me. People are still dancing. The fire they encircle rises up with the wind. How I danced tonight! With those drums, part of a frenetic mass. And later on, alone and smooth. I twirled and twirled on my dusty mosaic dance floor. The music was loud in this quiet spot. And I twirled and twirled. The mind-prison gate opened for a little while. My body’s heavy cloak fell down.
Earlier in the night, I sat on this earth with three friends. We brushed off the lies, the calm exteriors. We left only our true selves. Exposed, naked and glad. Our islands merged for that hour.
The pink sky turns crimson. A stray art car bounces by. I take a deep breath and sit up a little straighter. I’m preparing to stand up and walk back to my camp. I take a last look at the images before me. A bike is approaching. As it get closer, I see my beatific smile reflected back at me in the rider’s face. We reach out our hands simultaneously and give each other a hi-five as he whizzes by.