Years of practice at being a guest
has heightened my awareness
of welcome or its absence.
Tonight I'm slightly afraid
of what reception awaits.
I am going into the Mojave Desert
at eleven pm on Dec. 31, 2002.
Arriving at the highway boundary line
of the Nevada Test Site is familiar;
the organizers have a small campfire going.
The temperature is in the low 30's
and Brother Wind is gentle, almost absent;
hopeful signs but I've had hard lessons
of indifference from this desert.
I want to hear the silence of the desert
and wander out into the dark.
Sister Moon is on the sunny side of Earth
so the stars have the sky to themselves.
Their beauty is startling bu the
Milky Way, our home galaxy,
puts all else in the background.
And then she very quietly, very lovingly,
floods WELCOME over me.
In gratitude, Art Casey