Sunday Feb 16, Getting intimate with the Desert Fauna

Dear All,  Before leaving the Feezer’s house this morning Becky gifted me a hat.  Wow! What a gift! Yesterday, I wrapped my rain jacket around my head and neck to keep from being exposed to the scorching sun all day.  The Feezer’s, Ross and Becky, will host me again tonight so I am carrying my light pack for the day.  The light pack has plenty of water for the days walk, bandages for my feet and toes for blisters that I have and/or to prevent blisters, sunscreen, an extra pair of shoes so I can keep my feet cool, my ID in case I am stopped by ICE or the local police (which has happened several times), tissue and Jada Bascom Foundation business cards to share information about the steps To-Marrow 3 walk and how to join the Be The Match registry by texting LIFE to 61474. I also carry rain gear when necessary. Oh, I forgot and snacks for nutrition throughout the day when I have the snacks. 

I walked cross-country for quite a bit of the day because the frontage road along the I-10 was not continuous.  It started and stopped, started and stopped…so when the frontage road disappeared I walked across the open desert.  Sometimes this is a good strategy and sometimes it is not.  For example, it is not a good strategy when you run into a canal carrying water and you have to backtrack to find a way over the canal.  But today I was lucky and I was able to traverse all of the obstacles in my path.  About 1/2 way through the day the frontage road did not stop anymore but I continued to walk through the desert because there was no shoulder and I did not feel safe walking on the road.  The bit of desert that I was walking along was in between the frontage road and the railroad tracks.  Nature called and I decided to walk down into a drainage ditch near the culverts for the elevated railroad tracks to hide myself. 

As I approached the drainage ditch I noted lots and lots of rocks.  I thought if it wasn’t winter I would not go down there because it looked like the perfect habitat for snakes.   My evaluation process quickened as my need to pee grew stronger.  Oh, it’s okay because all of the snakes are sleeping I thought.  So down into the ditch I went carefully stepping from rock to rock. On my way back to climb out of the ditch again carefully stepping from rock to rock I heard a deep threatening hiss and then the unmistakable rattle of a rattlesnake.  I froze, heart pumping I scanned back and forth desperately trying to find him so I would not walk toward him.  I could not see him, the hissing and rattling continued.  It was only a matter of seconds I am sure but time stood still. Finally, I spotted him in front of me to my right 1/2 hidden by the sparse branches of a bush.  There he was coiled on a large rock, head raised, neck arched coming up out of the coil, ready to strike.  Time in slow motion I moved, without breathing, sliding imperceptibly to the left my eyes never leaving the rattlesnake. And then with an adrenaline induced super power I leapt from the bottom of that ditch right up to the top and I didn’t look back.  I had an adrenaline high for 40 minutes.  The world was richer, more bountiful, more delicate. I was filled with gratitude, awe and wonder. 

Facing death brings a deep appreciation for the value of life. There are patients in need of a stem cell transplant today who have not found their match. You could be the cure. Text LIFE to 61474 

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