ETHEREAL MUSIC PLAYS
Mac: Greetings Traveler. This is Mac, short for Mac-canic, coming to you from Desert Skies.
Recently it occurred to me that many travelers who pass through our fuel and service station embark on their journey through the celestial spheres with a sense of anxiety. Perhaps you’ve asked yourself “What awaits me on my journey? Who will I encounter along the way? What can I expect as I enter into the next plane of existence, my destination, beyond the outermost sphere?”
As someone who has never left the desert sphere, I can’t give you satisfactory answers to these questions, but what I can do is provide you with a moment of peaceful reflection as you drive this lonely highway. If you find yourself being lulled to sleep by my soothing soliloquy, just pull over to the side of the road and put your seat in a reclined position. Take a deep breath, think about your favorite breakfast foods, and hum gently from your nostrils making a sound like this <nostril hum sound>. Beautiful. Let’s begin.
The Desert Sphere is a majestic and wondrous place. Its unparalleled beauty is most prominently displayed when the desert is awash in the gentle light of our moon. Fortunately, it is always night in this sphere, and therefore, always beautiful.
There are times when our little gas station experiences a brief reprieve from the arrival of weary travelers. A moment of stillness and tranquility nestled safely in the eye of the storm that is work and responsibility. It’s in these moments that I will often find myself standing outside, basking in the quiet that is occasionally, but wonderfully, interrupted by the sound of a buzzing insect, the low pitch croak of a desert toad, or the howl of the majestic coyote.
Occasionally, if the time allows, I’ll embark on a brief hike across the desert, following the path that borders the sand wash and experiencing the many facets of this mysterious place as I move along. Would you like to join me for this brief adventure? Wonderful. I’m glad to have the company.
We begin our journey by crossing the astral highway to the desert yonder. The asphalt has a feel that is distinct beneath our feet. It is not dirt or linoleum, sand or concrete. It is asphalt. And the slightly elevated temperature of a desert night releases the road’s distinct and hearty odor into the air. You breathe it in and think about all the travelers who have driven through where you now stand.
You may wish to rest here for a moment, perhaps stretch out for a brief nap on the warm and comforting highway floor, but I advise against it. Because there’s a chance that you’ll be plowed over by a 1986 Buick Skylark being driven by a traveler fresh off the physical plane. You will not die of course, but it will hurt, and the traveler who ran you over? They will be deeply troubled. How do I know this, you ask. That, dear traveler, is a tale for another time.
As we move away from the artificial light surrounding desert skies, and enter into the desert proper, the first thing you’ll notice is that the brightness of the moon has illuminated the ground in a soft light purplish pleasant hue. As your eyes adjust you realize that there is enough visibility to traverse the terrain safely, which is good, because the desert is teaming with activity. Every few feet you may see a rhinoceros beetle scurry for safety, or a corn snake slither into the comfort of a prairie dog hole. There is no reason to fear. These creatures do not seek to do you harm.
Then you see a Tarantula as tall as a barrel cactus, but do not be alarmed. It is not a giant tarantula, but rather, many individual tarantulas formed into some kind of tarantula king. You wave at this remarkable creature and are surprised to find it waving back. Congratulations, you’ve made a desert friend.
What’s that sound? It is the melodic and gentle howl of the coyotes being carried by the wind. These creatures are highly revered in the desert sphere. Guardians of this realm of the afterlife, they remain vigilant of any threats to our delicate ecosystem, particularly malevolent beings which have a habit of occasionally crossing into spheres where they do not belong.
The leader of this pack is HueHueCoyotl, but he is a friend, and you may call him HueHue. His name means old, old coyote, and you’d never guess he was very old because of his great love for dancing and his over exuberant and indiscrete love life.
HueHue told me a joke recently. Would you like to hear it? Yes? Good. There once was a doctor who was also a coyote, but that is not the whole joke. One night, this coyote doctor was awakened to assist the dumbest coyote in the pack. This particular coyote had gotten his leg caught in a trap, and though he had chewed off three of his legs, he was still trapped. That is the joke.
As you roll your eyes at this hilarious joke you find your gaze taken to the stars in the brilliant night sky. Are these the same stars that you once gazed upon in the physical plane? Perhaps they are, perhaps they are not. Perhaps they are and are not at the same time. Cash says that the Astral plane and the physical plane are two different places which occupy the same space. How this can be is something that I do not fully comprehend.
We hear the sound of a car approaching from the direction of the physical plane, it’s time to start heading back to the Desert Skies Astral Plane Fuel and Service Station. As we walk together I share with you some final thoughts.
When we think of venturing into the unknown we’re sometimes overcome with fear. We allow ourselves to think that of all the available outcomes, the worst outcome is the most likely. Perhaps these fears are born of painful experiences that occurred to us in the physical plane. Disappointments and bad days that, though they were few and far between, were like a current that flowed beneath the surface of our existence.
While I do not remember my life on the physical plane, and have never driven down the astral highway you find yourself on now, I do remember what it felt like to step into this desert for the first time. A world teaming with cacti, scorpions and the occasional tarantula king. I was afraid. Did I have reason to be? Perhaps. At times I have stumbled into a cactus and been accosted by it’s many thorns, or sat on a rock that was already inhabited by a defensive scorpion, and scared witless by the sight of a tarantula king.
But I’ve also spent countless hikes staring at the shape of saguaro cacti whose silhouettes stand proud against the night sky, with our brilliant moon as their backdrop. I’ve gazed in wonder at the unending variety that shapes each of these plant’s arms. Sometimes I come across one that will remind me of my friend Tendy and that brings warm feelings to my heart. Is that not worth the occasional prick of a needle?
And yes, a scorpion sting is a painful experience, but it teaches me to be mindful of the spaces I inhabit. That just because a seat seems good for the taking, it must be inspected carefully less you find yourself invading a rock that is already occupied. The smaller things in life are still worthy of our respect.
And a tarantula king can be off-putting when first encountered, but when you decide to stop running and instead wave to each other, you realize the awesome synchronization and coordination that is required to pull such an amazing feet. Suddenly you are friends with hundreds of fuzzy spiders.
All that to say, you may encounter sights and experiences along the Astral highway that are frightening or seemingly unwelcome, as most new things appear. But though this road is different than the one you used to travel, it is just one more cruise in your continued existence that is filled with mystery and wonder. Whatever lies ahead, remember that the good will always outweigh the bad if we’re willing to look for it. The cosmic balance is weighed in your favor.
Hopefully by now you feel a little more at peace with the path before you. This is the mechanic, wishing you safe travels on the Astral highway.
Attendant: That was really beautiful, Mac
Mac: Oh, hey Tendy. I didn’t hear you come in. I should’ve asked to use the transmitter first, sorry about that.
Attendant: You didn’t hurt anything. Besides, I think your story will help a lot of people.
Mac: You really thank so?
Attendant: I do. Feel free to do it again sometime.
Mac: Thanks, Tendy. I think I will.