Jason Lawrence Bell
Search single story

02-16-19 Where Words Go To Die


‘Where dreams go to die’ read the sign on the roadside. It was a two-lane black asphalt road leading from the hills straight into the Mojave Desert. Ahead was flat desert land with low sagebrush and dry dirt stretching endlessly. Steven could feel the temperature getting hotter as he drove deeper into the desert. He rolled up his windows and turn on the cars air conditioning. Steven had lived in Bakersfield all of his life and he had never visited the desert which was about 4 hours away. He had spent plenty of time going North to the Sierras with beautiful mountains and rivers, and west thru the farm lands to the ocean or south to the big city, but never east where the deserts wait.

Steven decided that he needed to know for himself what the desert had to offer. He watched the Nature Channel and saw fascinating scenes of desert life and that was enough to spark his interest. He didn’t believe the sign ‘where dreams go to die’. He had heard the local desert people didn’t like visitors, because they brought dirt bikes and left big trash messes for locals to clean up. Steven would show the locals he was respectful and just wanted to visit the beauty. After a couple of more hours of driving he approached a small town with one gas station, two motels, a country style store and scattered houses. He decided to check in to the most modern looking motel but it had no vacancies. This confused him because he could see the entire town from his car and saw no people, only the employees for the businesses.

He instead checked into the ‘rustic’ motel. When he stepped out of his car, he felt the hot air hit his face like a thick dry cloud. He walked thru the thick cloud to the motel entrance. With each step he could feel his body heating up and by the time he reached the door he could feel sweat rolling down his face. He shut the door quickly behind him and immediately felt the motel air conditioning cooling him off. The young man behind the registration desk spoke, ‘110 degrees, you could fry an egg’ and laughed. Steven asked, ‘a single for one night, please.’ The young man answered, ‘one single is available, but one night is never enough. I will hold the room for two more nights. You can let me know.’ Why would he assume Steven would stay longer? The young man continued. ‘Dinner is offered at the coffee shop at sun down. After dinner just follow the crowd. You will be glad you did.’ Steven thought ‘what crowd’ But he took his keys and left for his room.

Steven must have fallen asleep because he was awoken by a knock on his door and a voice saying ‘dinners ready at the coffee shop.’ When Steven opened his door, he felt the hot air was getting cooler as the sun was almost down. He walked the short distance to the coffee shop and was surprised by the large group of people sitting at the tables. He had to sit at the counter all tables were taken. After dinner everyone stood up together and walked towards their cars. One lady spoke to Steven, ‘don’t forget water and a blanket.’ This was too inviting to resist. Something was happening and Steven needed to follow.

He hurriedly got water and a blanket and followed the group. In a long line of cars, they all traveled down a single lane dirt road for a few miles in the dark with only the headlights to lead them. Eventually the cars reached a location and seemed to form a circle as they parked. They left their head lights on, with all cars pointing to the center of the circle. Steven could see in the center was a large slab of flat concrete. Steven guessed that the concrete was once the foundation of a house, that was demolished and all that was left was the concrete. The group got out of their cars and took their blankets and laid them in rows on the concrete. Once the blankets were laid, most of the group laid on the blankets facing up. Steven followed the crowd and laid on his back on his blanket. A few people stayed back at the cars and one person spoke, ‘Is everyone ready? Good. Lights off’ Just then all the car lights were turned off at once.

The moment the lights turned off, the crowd in unison gave loud gasps, woos, and oh my gods. Steven could hear his own voice moan with astonishment. The sky, the sky is all his mind could think. It was like once the car lights went off the sky turned on. Millions of stars and planets and the moons turned on to display all their majesticly awesome universes. Steven stopped trying to describe the sight in words, words were inadequate. This mind stopped thinking and just soaked in the universal display. He felt a calming to his bones, an alignment with universal understanding, an expansion of his being, and an attachment to the universes. Like meeting all of your family thru all the generations at once. He surrendered to the awesomeness. Humanness seemed only a small part of his existence, he was so much more than a temporary physical form. For this evening he was connected to true reality and he was thankful for this happy accident.

The sun was beginning to rise and so was the crowd. In silence they all returned to their motel rooms and slept thru the day, eager for the evening dinner to come. To this crowd words were obsolete, and few words were spoken. The next day the only words Steven heard were, ‘is everyone ready, good, turn off the lights’ Then came the universal bliss in the amazing night sky.

The second night was different for Steven. The wordless awesomeness was fully present but he began seeing himself more clearly. How he was deeply connected to wisdoms of understanding that waited for his acceptance. Wisdoms beyond words that can never explain the depth. He clearly saw his human limitations of perception and understanding. He saw his life as an opportunity to expand human consciousness to the soul level. He deeply understood, but knew this was beyond human’s ability to explain. He had entered a level of conscious wisdom that was beyond the human realm. And he again, surrendered to the sky. He stood up from his blanket and began walking in the desert. He noticed he was not alone. Others were walking slowly in random directions. Without words it occurred to him he was being taught to walk in the world as an expanded being. He now visualized his human world and saw how he would now maneuver thru his job and friends and human interactions. He looked and talked the same, but his vision and perceptions were much more expanded. Most things he thought were important before, he now thought was life wasting. He would be making changes with his job and friendships and home town. They didn’t fit him any longer. As he continued walking and reforming his life, he noticed the sun rising again. He found his car and checked out of the motel. On his way back he pasted the sign. He thought the sign would be more accurate to say, ‘where words go to die.’ Peace***