blog: Coming home to the desert |

blog: Coming home to the desert

Brandy Persson
Vail CO, Colorado

The only view I had was that of my mind’s eye. I had been in a wheel chair for 6 weeks, which if you’ve ever been in one … golly, it feels like an eternity.

My thoughts were often swept away with daydreams of my trips – memories of my favorite place: the desert. I counted down the days until we would meet again.

That day finally came in June. This trip was only a dream until the morning I put my last piece of gear into my car – the car I had specifically chosen for road tripping.

I looked around at my neighborhood on that sunshiny morning, took a deep breath and noticeably enjoyed stretching while standing on my feet. I thought to myself, ‘Wow, this IS really IT.’

It is not uncommon for me to take solo road trips. I actually prefer it. Until this accident, I was always hitting the road, unfurling my wings. As you can imagine, I felt for so long like an animal trapped in a small cage; my world as I had previously known it had shrunk right before me.

I sat in the comfy leather seat of my road tripping vehicle, loaded up my 6 CD changer and pulled my pink shades down over my eyes. I can still remember the overwhelming sensation of sheer joy to have my freedom back. Alas, I was on the road again where I love to be.

It was the same beautiful drive I had remembered. Although it had only been just over 3 months, it felt to me like an eternity. Tears welled up and leaked from the corners of my eyes like a slow drip from a faucet.

I felt as though I had finally been released from my little, personal hell. I also felt lonely in a comforting way …

I can remember driving the long dirt road to my first destination. It was the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park. A set of big clouds kind of hung above, but not covering the whole sky. The sun was able to creep around them as they spat a gentle rain on my windshield. There was this outline of gold around the weeping clouds that was eerily beautiful.

That first night was awesome. The air was so warm and I was relieved to finally have this time to myself. I poured a glass of wine and took a long stroll around the campground to stretch and loosen my still healing ankles. The stars shone brightly above and the sounds of all the campers bounced back and forth across the short canyon walls.

When I got back to my camp, I stretched my warm naked body across my sleeping bag inside the tent. My original plan was to sleep tentless until I discovered: THE ANTS. No thanks.

With each passing day, I became more relaxed and encompassed in the desert and in my reflective thoughts. My ankles were able to handle longer and longer hikes of up to 8 miles. I was rebuilding confidence, finding my heart and my natural soft smile that I had not worn in so long.

The days were warm. Hot. And the nights felt like heaven as I dreamt deeply under the stars. I would explore all day and then soak myself in some little hidden part of a river where I knew I would have my peace.

I can remember slipping off my clothes at one of my special spots and slinking into her cool, refreshing waters. I sat down and leaned back while she cascaded over my newly tanned skin. The sun shone down brightly on me in the heat of the day as I closed my eyes, smiled, and sang to myself.

When I opened my eyes, I was surprised to find an observer that had gone unnoticed. A soft little deer with a glistening nose stood before me at the river’s edge, slowly munching her afternoon snack as she curiously watched me. We stared at one another for quite a while; each admiring beauty in one another I suppose.

My trip went on and my experiences deepened in meaning. Magnificent nights and newborn mornings; solemn views and introspective glances; chance encounters and just simple moments. All of these corroborated to bring me back to a place within myself that I had lost touch with.

I came back to rediscovery, independence, my soul, and my smile. I came home.

Brandy Persson can be reached at

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