We then drove several miles out into the desert, parked the car and hiked with our equipment over sand dune after spectacular sand dune til we arrived at our destination. The sun was shining bright and strong and we were in awe. It is still difficult to adequately describe the slightly surreal beauty of this rolling desert, unlike any I have seen before. Most photographs can't quite capture it... the sense of fluffy tranquility, the otherworldly colors of the cool sand (gypsum doesn't heat up in the sun so it doesn't burn your feet), the mystical feel of the place. The sun setting in the desert is an image I won't soon forget.
Our camp was at the foot of a large sand dune, ostensibly to shield us in case of wind. I meditated in the morning as I have every day since we got to New Mexico, using a technique I learned from a Robert Anton Wilson lecture I listened to years ago. You listen actively and mindfully to every sound, without labelling or judging what you are hearing. This anchors you in the present moment, focuses concentration and allows for a new experience of the world being created around you. Inevitably, your mind drifts back into thoughts or judgements... when this happens you gently bring your attention back to the present moment, again and again. It felt like the wind was singing a wise and ancient song...
As we later joked, the desert is however a beautiful AND cruel mistress... you must love her, but you must never trust her! You may witness her magnificence, but (just as every lovely plant around here bears some sort of thorn) you must pay the price! We suspect the gypsum reflects the sun's rays because after a few hours out there we started feeling pretty sunkissed despite our cool cowboy hats and sunscreen. And that same soothing breeze became a ferocious wind in the cold cold desert night. They shook our tent with said frigid ferocity, such that it was difficult to sleep for very long. We woke up pretty tired this morning and headed back to town, where I am writing these words right now.
There are some more pictures below. I also made a couple of quick videos: