I can say, without doubt, that this time period has been the hardest of my life.
Our 5 year “journey” had felt ended, and my husband drove towards a setting sun the day before Thanksgiving. Our truck was loaded with supplies–much like camping– as well as turkey take-away dinners and our dog comfortable and secure in the backseat. Moments earlier, I had posted to Instagram, a two-part entry where I swallowed my inhibitions, turning the camera onto myself, and shared our heartbreaking story of fertility loss. The city’s lights were behind us as we headed into the desert and out of cell signal with a destination in mind.
In the span of a couple months, we returned to our “secret spot” in the Mojave Desert and adjacent to Death Valley, to escape from the pain and grief that overwhelmed us. Perhaps these trips were more for me than my husband or our dog. I had intense physical symptoms of grief and lingering medical side effects. This middle-of-nowhere spot, our spot, with its mineral-crusted land, air so dry that electricity sparked, and barren roads void of the staples of city life, ended up becoming our oasis in the desert.
This is the place I went to cry. This is the place I was able to laugh. This is the place I made memories with my husband and our sweet rescue dog during her last days on earth. Her mid-November cancer diagnosis infected my already-broken heart, yet this strange place with its washed-out canvases and hidden hot springs, cradled me and cradled us, and I was somehow able to breathe again.
The following images were shot between November 25, 2020 and January 9, 2021 in and around Tecopa, California, and Inyo County. I dedicate this blog post to my best girl Ladybird Angel Brinson, who passed away in my arms at our home February 7th.