In the Nothing

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Etosha National Park, Namibia – August 2015

Dust. Gritty, immaculate dust like ash from incinerated bone. It veils the sky and everything below. “August is a strange month”, our guide informs us. “The animals are restless.”

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The safari truck thunders down the road, kicking up clouds. The powder settles into my eyelashes and the fine lines in my face.

Isabelle leans towards me. “I love the desert, but I find this landscape incredibly,” she pauses. Her eyes harden. “Ugly.”

I look out the window without responding. While this bleak panorama is not a view I’d like to wake up to every day, I can’t bring myself to hate it. Under the nebulous sun, colors are muted. Yet they shimmer. There are so many hues within hues.

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From out of the murk, life appears. Silent, spectral movement. Tree carcasses litter the earth, branches forever frozen in death throes. Eerie boneyard beauty.

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The great gray beasts, old and young, drink their fill before disappearing once again into the wilderness.

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The veil thickens to a shroud as we approach the Etosha pan. The vast ocean of salt stretches into the horizon. The gloom deepens. Are there clouds above that we cannot see?

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Gray becomes white. The horizon vanishes. My heart swells and ascends.

It is natural to surround yourself with tangible things, to fill your mouth and ears with words. I can’t remember when I began to seek out the sanctuary of empty spaces. So much became insignificant, somewhere along the way.

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Dust. Achromatic desolation. It creeps into my shoes as I stray far from the others, into the silence. When I am alone, I am open to receive. What lies deep within the white void, beyond the force field shimmer? In the nothing is everything.

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