I lift fragrant hot coffee to my lips and in the sky, two meteors, one bold and bright, in the West, one slender and subtle in the East, splash out of the black bowl of sky and disappear in my atmosphere in complete silence.
It is 6 AM and the only sound in this predawn desert outside Joshua Tree is the swelling and subsiding wind, moving itself North as if in compliance with the meteorologists’ prediction yesterday.
I finish one cup, step up into the camper and pour another, grab a blanket and return to the lawnchair sitting next to the cargo trailer, which is making a fine windbreak.
My dog and husband slumber cozily on as the rim of the world pinkens up.
I remember fondly a question my mother put to me while we visited in her Quartzsite Desert a few days ago. She asked, “do you know what I really like about sitting here with you?” Our feet both crossed at the ankles, elevated and pointing to the little yellow kitchen. She was crocheting a multicolored blanket, “to be useful” I was copying crockpot recipes in the hopes that I would become useful too.
“What?” I had no idea. She has quite a bit of company.
“The silences are comfortable. It’s not like that with everyone you know.”
I agreed and thought it was because we are kin, have lived together. Under one roof, in sleep and waking, studying, working, playing and doing nothing in particular at all. A certain self consciousness vanishes in a family. I am sure we all experience that.
This starlit morning I laughed out loud under the half moons’ shadows in the Bajada Desert outside Joshua Tree because the same sensation had come to me just now and I asked out loud, “Do you know what I like about sitting here with you Earth Mother?”
She shushed me with her wind but I told her anyway, and considered our common starry roof and similar composition of ancient, elemental stuff: The iron in my blood, the calcium in my bones, carbon, hydrogen….stardust strands tie me as surely as DNA to her and I repeat my mothers’ sentiment to the gnarled ironwood branches, dancing to the breathy song of morning. “The silences are comfortable.”