When I arrive at a campspot, I look for a fireplace. Fire is like a piece of old furniture at your home. It’s a familiar element that doesn’t change, wherever you go. It behaves and looks a certain way. Once you have it going, and the daylight goes away, all you see is the fire and each others faces. Darkness becomes like a wall around it. And you arrive at the same place, same site everywhere, every night.

Camping gives me time after a days ride. Time to absorb everything I had seen thru the day, remembering the day, relocating everything I collected on the road. And fire brings that necessary silence. Most of us can’t stand silence. It feels wrong. We break it with words and meanings. But fire utters just enough to keep us listening. It eases us to silence.

After a night like this, one has very little left to think in bed. You sleep with an empty mind. Listening to the darkness.

At times when I camp alone, I hear things and feel vulnerable. I feel fear. When that happens, I keep silent just like I used to do as a kid. I play invisible. Listening, just like a dog smells the air or an expert tastes a wine. Trying to differentiate each source. Evaluating what they may be… Soon I give-up. Sleep overcomes fear. I let my body be. I let everything be whatever they are. I go… …to sleep.

Almost every camp morning amazes me. Everything changes with light and heat. I arrive yet another place. Again, I know this feeling from childhood. I used to fall asleep at other peoples homes. Only to wake up at my own bed next morning. The time in between was a mystery. “Time without me in it” was an amazing concept. Still is. What will happen to time when I’m no longer in it to see it pass.

Same thing once again: Every place I have ever been to on my motorcycle still exists today. All this time, they kept on existing. I find this thought heavy. Death Valley opens up to Panamint near Wildrose. The wind is blowing thru it right now. It’s making a sound. Nobody is there to hear it at 1:14 AM, summer. But it still does.

I slept there one night. It had me sleeping for one night. I’m here, thinking about there, now. Isn’t “there” thinking about me? Validating me in a way? I know it’s a stupid question but I somehow understand it. Something is missing.

Imagine you didn’t have photographs of the places you went to. Only the memory exists. If you try to bring it back in your mind, you don’t end up with an image. You recall a place. As if you are mentally there. When I do that, I don’t exist there. I only see the place. It’s a place without me in it.

I like to sleep in estrangement. Playing invisible.