Thursday, February 11, 2010

Death Valley: It wasn't about the marathon

Have I mentioned before that I love Death Valley, that I think it is one of the most exotic places in the world? Not that I have traveled the world, but I have visited more than a few places, and Death Valley is distinctly different, unique.

I love the quiet, the peace, the stillness.

Do you know what silence sounds like? Have you heard it? Really heard it?

Have you ever experienced such absence of noise that you could actually hear the atmosphere around you?

Has the stillness around you ever been so pure that you've heard the buzz of a fly approaching from far away, growing louder and crisper as it passes an arm's-length from your ear then gradually fades into the distance?

Have you ever stood with outstretched arms and slowly spun around in the wall-less desert and gasped at how immensely small and insignificant you really are?

Do you know that there is no greater artist than Mother Nature? Have you studied her works, marveled at her colors and the detail of her palette?

Have you reached out to touch the mountains in front of you and were surprised to discover they were actually 20 miles away, that the dips in the road ahead were actually undulating hills hundreds of feet high?

When was the last time you were in the dark? A blind darkness, a black darkness without even the faint flicker of your cell phone light reminding you that you still have battery left? A darkness so thick you could not see your hand in front of your face?

And how about a piercing blue sky so bright blue it burned your eyes? Have you stared into it?

Have you ever seen how much life is in the desert? Or how the desert is always moving and changing, how the mountains are crumbling one grain of sand at a time, and yet are rising timelessly from the Earth, and yet from afar, the desert appears the same as it has for millions of years.

There are answers in Death Valley. One needs only to go and look and be still and listen.


Chris Roman said...

Absolutely amazing, there is nothing higher on my list then getting to that place and experiencing everything you describe. I don't know of any other place that deserves to be so loved yet so feared and respected for all it has to offer......thanks Lisa :)

TonyP said...

Wow! That last picture is just amazing. Hope to see you soon Lisa.

olga said...

Yes, you have, and yes, we know:) You passion for DV shines through so huge...just like your passion for so many things, you always know how to express it well in a few words.
Lisa, I thought about you at RR! Exactly, because of what you said. I pictured your pictures from pre-Sparta 2 years ago, all your posts, all your remarks...I was thinking about you, and it helped me through. Thanks.

Ian said...

What a great "race" report Lisa!! That was spot on. I love Death Valley for the same reasons. WOW.

I think the sound of the fly you mention might be those fighter jets that always buzz me when crewing Badwater (3 times last year). DV is so quite yet those guys are the loudest sound on earth.

OK, closing my eyes and day dreaming about Death Valley.

Thanks for sharing Lisa :-)

SpiritRun said...

Incredible post, Lisa!

Backofpack said...

Wonderful writing Lisa. Perfect.

Sunshine Girl said...

Thanks, Lisa!

Jamie Donaldson said...


Your post is exactly why I can't stay away! DV is so magical! Can't wait to be back!

Jill Perry said...

Lisa, great write up! I was there last year to crew and hopefully someday will return again. I met you briefly there and really enjoyed your speech. Best of luck for this year.

Scott Keeps Running said...

Beautiful post, Lisa.

Just happened upon your blog. Love the photos and the dogs. I'm usually out running with my dog a bit south of you on the Palouse. And nowt the snow is wanting so hard to melt off Moscow Mt. to let me on the trails earlier than usual. :)

Happy running.