Bonneville

I saw a video of a doggo on the internet today. Since there’s never been a doggo video on the internet before, I’ll wait here while you watch it.

Anyway, I was struck by a very visceral memory of being exactly where those dogs are, on the Bonneville salt flats (where they test land speed records and film car commercials).

I remembered the washed-out, dried-up grey earth that crumbled into footprints and smeared into dust. A harsh sea tang to the dry desert air and salt-crusted tires to match. My father, taking Dutch angle photographs of the family’s hair whipped wild by the wind.

We camped there for one night, alone on the flats. I was probably 13. I woke up to relieve myself and slipped out under a clear sky blooming with stars. The half-moon made it feel like half-day, like God had left the light on in Heaven’s hallway.

As I walked as far from the tent as I dared, I could tell things were watching me, sand spirits and desert beings, beady-eyed lizards and bugs.

The silvery soil sported a jagged network of lines across the entire flat, like flattened lightning. The cracks were deep enough to slide my fingers in as I tried to anchor myself to the world, lest I float away with the ghosts.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.