Finding Forgiveness in the California Desert

Finding Forgiveness in the California Desert

It was cold when I left the town of Brawley. The sun was just starting to make its way up the eastern sky. The dusky morning blanketed the horizon in a gray-blue haze. The world was not awake yet.

With the sun rising at my back, I hummed west with farms keeping me company for a little while. They didn’t stick around long. Everything quickly turned to sand.

I was heading towards Ocotillo. That’s where I would head north and into Anza-Borrego State Park.

On this, the second morning of my California trip, I still had not yet decompressed and shed the go-go-go agitation that peppers everything I do. There was also the matter of lingering guilt about being selfish and traveling on my own. That all rounded out nicely with worrying about all of the other odds and ends that arise when traveling by motorcycle. Those negative feelings were seasoned to taste and put on a low heat to simmer.

I don’t take my personal freedom lightly. I have keen understanding of how lucky I am to pretty much do what I want, when I want to, without any grief from my family. But I still have a cooling down period that I go through in which I have to release myself from guilt. There are always episodes of inner turmoil that I go through when traveling on my own.

As I rode along, I worked through feelings of awe from the desolate landscape and the nagging of my inner tumult. Just a few miles in to the park everything I’d been feeling came to a head. With the way that the morning light hugged the land, the gorgeous colors of the terrain, the scale of the mountains and dipping valleys – my simmering pot boiled over. I stood on the side of the road taking everything in and I cried.

But it wasn’t a sad cry. It was something else. A release. Being in that beautiful desert space told me that right then, right at that very moment – I could forgive myself. I was exactly where I needed to be and it was okay.


This post is part of a month-long writing prompt challenge: Brave, Bold, Blogger Challenge (BBBC) 2017Β hosted by Kathy at ToadMama.com.

Prompt:A special memory from 2016

19 Replies to “Finding Forgiveness in the California Desert”

  1. It was your catharsis. Must have been much-needed. That scenery is amazing. And what a cool little post office!

    I have to say, every time I see images from your trip, they just feel wrong somehow. That black bike is so not you. It’s like an alternate version of Fuzzy G. Or an imposter on your blog. I wonder if I’m the only one who feels that way?

    1. I agree – the black bike isn’t me. It seems a little too sinister.

      It’s hard to tell because my picture isn’t so hot but someone really lovingly painted that little post office. Stuff like that makes me happy – people caring about things or making and sharing their art… just because.

      I wish i had the power to convey the overwhelming feelings i had that morning. It was like my body didn’t know what else to do. I was so small and weak, my problems were minuscule and the land was forever and giant and beautiful and enduring.

  2. Do you think men feel this sense of guilt? Perhaps it’s instilled in us at an early age, it’s often hard to let go and just enjoy.

    I love the sense of space your pics give me – thanks.

    1. If they do I’ve not seen one write about it! I think men are brought up with ideals of exploring and questing. We’re supposed to stay at home and polish their armour πŸ˜‰

    2. Hi Meaghan πŸ™‚

      great question. i can only really tackle it from my firsthand experience with my husband. we’re both pretty independent and do our own thing quite a bit. But there is always respect for each others feelings in the matter. Sometimes it is a matter of logistics that only one of us can take a trip. And so my husband does express feelings of guilt when that trip os his alone. If he knows that i would love it too – he feels guilty. But for us, when only one can go, one should go. We’re only getting one turn on this marble.

    3. In response to Meaghan’s question: Yes.

      Men, most men I’m sure, feel a similar sense of guilt, worry, and anxiousness when taking a solo trip and leaving their partner behind. I can honestly say that I take far fewer trips than I want to, or am able to, simply out of a sense of guilt about my wife not being able to go. And when I do take an extended trip without her, it does nag at me.

      For me personally, the guilt and worry washes away fairly quickly once I start the trip. I tend to be in-the-moment fairly quickly once I start traveling. On my last big moto trip, I felt that sense of freedom and release within the first hour of a two week ride.

      1. I agree Dave, for me sometimes the hardest part is the leaving. Once you’re on the road everything else seems to melt away, even most of the guilt.

  3. Used to have a spot in Saltin Sea… Long periods of open road with nothing. I think I’m jealous … in western Massachusetts right now ..

  4. I love that first photo – there is so much potential waiting in the dawn and the bike.

    This post really spoke to me, there’s always a day on a big trip when I ride in tears. I think the miles and the solitude allow us to deal with all the emotions we stuff under the carpet to get through everyday life.

  5. It is one of the thing I love about riding a motorcycle…it is my mediation to quiet my mind of all of the other endless things that runs through it. I miss the days where I can just take off and ride for days. I’m still learning how to ask for a weekend ride of my own. I guess it all part of learning in a new relationship.

  6. to chime in on the question about guilt…
    I actually sold my bike when my daughter was born, to replace only when she was old enough to not need the attention she deserved. At the time, I was part of a riding couple who pretty much traveled together at all times on 2 wheels. Rarely was there a solo trip, and when there was, there was indeed a feeling of guilt. Also a feeling of loss as not being able to share in the moment. Actually, now that I think about it, after being divorced for about 15 years, I still find myself thinking about how the Ex would appreciate certain moments I now enjoy solo. (I don’t tell HER that though) Then there was another relationship where the partner was afraid of the bike and allowed me to take the trips I wanted to. This (relationship) didn’t last as the desire to share the experience was too predominant.

  7. Wow, I love everything about this post….AND the comments! I love hearing that the men feel some of the same initial guilt, although it seems to dissipate sooner, perhaps.

    I too have cried a happy cry when everything is just so perfect! “exactly where I needed to be and it was okay” INDEED!

  8. Yes we do. I think everyone has those “why am I doing this?” moments. For me, the answer is that it makes me a better husband and father, and much easier to live with in general. We all deserve the opportunity to set down our responsibilities for a few days and gain a little perspective.

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