Who is Who?


It’s a Tuesday afternoon.  Clear skies.  A slight breeze from the south and bountiful sunshine.  It’s 80 degrees.  And I’m on the beach in Mexico with a bucket full of iced Coronas by my side.

At least that’s what I’m daydreaming about during this particularly perfect afternoon nap.

This splendid day began waking up in Waterpocket Canyon, on a sandstone ledge, wrapped in my sleeping bag.  No tent required.  Completely windless.  And warm.  Down here in this maze of rock.  This morning I was awakened by clouds the color of cotton candy.  Reaching over to light my camp stove, still wrapped up in my bag, I started water for coffee.

The canyon walls are starting to take on the color of rosy pink.  Blanketing my camp in warm morning light.  When the water has boiled, I add the coffee and shut off the stove.  Cowboy coffee.  The best kind.  Taking in the aroma of freshly brewing coffee, I sit back in my camp chair.  The silence returns.  Nothing.  Nothing but the ticking of my cooling cook stove.  And the rumble in my belly.  Just the smell of coffee gets things stirring.

The stillness contained deep within a waterless desert canyon, before sunrise, must be the thickest, most profound silence here on Earth.  Just nothing.  Nothing at all.  And I sit still.  Soaking it all in.  Careful not to ruffle my sleeping bag.  All thought stops.


What thoughts?

It’s all so effortless here.  I mean life in general.  It’s so simple.  So sweet.  So pure.  What is it that we are doing all the time back home?  What is all this running around?  What are we trying to achieve?  What is the goal of all of it?  Peace?  Happiness?  Fulfillment?  Recognition?  I search, but cannot find an answer.  Just silence.

Not even a Raven calling on this November morning.  Nothing.  I look to the Junipers for an answer.  They look back at me.  Like a dog, after you’ve just explained to them that you cannot go for a walk because you have to go to work.  Confusion?  Disappointment?  ”You’re asking me this again”, they say.  You still don’t get it?  And they go on about their day.  Being Juniper Trees.  And doing it all so perfectly.

Clouds start to roll in.  Hiding the sun.  The smell of winter.  Nothing stirs.  The bugs are gone for the year.  The Lizards, so abundant most of the year, have gone to sleep for the winter.  Cozy in their underground tunnels.  Sleeping away the winter.  Nothing stirring but me.  The curious fellow wrapped in the bright orange sleeping bag.  What is he doing?  Walking these desert canyons.   Carrying his heavy load.  Asking Junipers for answers.  Who is this curious fellow?  Who is he?

“Who is who”, I ask.

And then I disappear.  And there’s nothing left.  Nothing left but all of eternity.  And I understand.  I understand it all.  And I remember what it is.  That I always forget.


~Scott Stillman



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