The first Mars settlers
A lot of the times I start to write something for this blog I write “this is one of the best experiences of my life”, this time I’m going to write about the best experience of my life.
I spent the last three months of my life living in the middle of a toxic wasteland in the Bombay Beach desert.
This place feels like the edge of the world, I wonder if the settlers of the far west felt the same way I do in here: a colonizer of an anarchist impossible dead land that exists in the faint equilibrium between the everything and the nothingness.
The kinds of people you will find in southern west California are on the edge of society, they’re marginals, artists, unstable, stoics, loving, saints […]
This place might as well be Mars. A high-tech, low-life cyberpunk fantasy lost in time.
And we might as well be settlers -afterall- colonizing this piece of land with our dreams.
There I heard shady stories about suicides, I was death threatened, I went to the church on Sundays and watched a man meet god and be reborn after life times of suffering. We created and shared together a philosopher’s stone that was an inexhaustible source of creativity, we danced in storms, we built a whole world and we tore it apart.
In this weird land, that looked both like a western and a Mad-Max movie scenario, filled with fortuneless criminals and wealthy Hollywood artists, I’ve watched myself play many roles. I was an extra, passively watching the world unveiling around me, mesmerized with people’s magnetism, intelligence, sexuality, kindness and madness. I’ve also watched myself play the main role making long lasting impressions in their lives. I taught and learned lessons. I felt so full and so empty, so important, so irrelevant. I had all this time to feel and I’m so grateful. (Grateful every time the train passes by).
I’ve felt the cold and the beauty of waking up at 5am in the desert to pee by the sound of howling coyotes.
Every morning I prayed for the sun to come up and was grateful for its warmth. Every morning for a long time. I’d sit in one of our scavenged chairs from the local dumpster, in the top of the Huaqiangbei, and absorb the sun’s energy and light into my body. Another day!
Every night, I’d brush my teeth star gazing, wondering about life and death, sociology, and philosophy. Relishing every second, trying to keep myself in the moment and to hold in me this whole universe so I could never feel alone again.
I shared my very few very precious spiritual practices with strangers that later on I came to love. Some of them were gone. I know some will be gone. That hurts. But a friend once taught me how everyone that touches you live for ever through you, and that gives me peace. In the desert I also internalized the Buddhist notion that loss is a facet of pain and an inevitable part of life, however suffering is a choice within you.
I’ve recuperated my long lost loves for so many things. I was healed.
It was suddenly so cool to like what I liked and have long discussions about all of these things. I was accepted.
It was so fulfilling and easy to focus and to not see the passing of time. I had arrived.
I met a few of the most incredible people I ever met in my life. I learned so much about the restorative power of communities and now I can’t see my life without it. Everything looks so much clearer after I waited for the ripples to dissipate.
I left my castle. I saw an old man, a sick man and a dying man. And now I can’t go back to it.
Pictures in this blog post were taken by many Martians!