Go West

There’s something so American about taking a road trip.  At the back of our psyches is a constant pull to run away, hop into a car and drive as far as the road will take us, to no where in particular, all our problems left behind in a cloud of dust, the empty road ahead a beacon of endless possibilities.

A real road trip must be driven west, through desolate deserts so flat the sky opens up before you like a giant fan and keeps expanding forever. In the desert colors come to life. Driving through Arizona, the sky bursts into a brilliant technicolor blue when contrasted with the orangey-red canyon rocks.

Dried golden vegetation, the color of angel’s hair, along the back roads of New Mexico, plays against the purple clouds, which float effortlessly across the sky.

The sunsets are incomparable.

When night falls, blackness shoots across an endless sky filled to infinity with glittering stars and faraway galaxies.  You’d swear the sky would collapse from the weight of all the stars it holds.

I first went west when I was 17.  My best friend and I drove from Houston to San Francisco, stopping at various spots along the way: El Paso, where the blatant discrepancies between the wealth of the US and poverty of Mexico are revealed shamelessly across the width of a river; White Sands, New Mexico, where miles of alabaster sand dunes stretch out forever without an ocean in site;

The Petrified Forest,

Meteor Crater,

and the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon, which changed me by highlighting the insignificance of my life as a tiny blip in the eternity of time.

Driving through the Painted Desert and Indian reservations so secluded and removed from civilization, I was given a certain sense of peace, which I have not found anywhere else.  Although I recognized how small I was in comparison to the overwhelming landscape and canyons which record the history of the earth in their infinitesimal geological layers, I felt a true sense of belonging and oneness with the universe.

Lately I have been feeling an almost magnetic pull to go west again.  I was looking at a book this weekend with beautiful photos of Southern Utah and Arizona, and something in the pictures lit a spark inside, urging me to drive away.  A longing to escape this crazy, unnatural city life, a longing for centeredness, a longing for connection…

If I tried to convey my feelings about the desert through a piece of jewelry, my best efforts wouldn’t do it justice.  I came as close as I could with the Sedona necklace.  The blush colored oxidized sequins try to capture the myriad of colors in a Sedona sunset.  The multiple layers of silver and pewter chains mimic the flow of water when the long-awaited rains finally come to the desert and cleanse the landscape, triggering a renewal and rebirth.