I thought that I’d have a lot to write about after the weekend memorial for my brother, but it turns out that I don’t. I feel emptied out instead. There are only the details, big and small, that make up a trip. I thought I’d take lots of photos as I made my way through the scenic 10k; I didn’t pause once. And I thought I’d walk at least half of the race, but I didn’t. I ran it straight through.
There were nine of us (plus Ike) who completed the 10k and a support team of three who shuttled cars from the Start to the Finish and who cheered us in as we crossed the finish line and reached for our medals.
Afterwards, there were my brother’s friends waiting for us at Ten Mile Wash to drive us down into the sand and rocks to show us the spaces that meant so much to my brother. It is stark down there. Stark and harsh and bleak but clean, beautiful and heartbreaking.
The first stop was the site where my brother’s dog (Pooper) was buried years ago. Each of us carried a rock to add to her cairn. The second was a hollow, a cathedral interior of swirling red scooped out of bare rock called The Fishbowl (renamed The Chuck Bowl). If it wasn’t before, it certainly is now a sacred site. Something of my brother remains in both places. I felt him very strongly that day and understand him just a little bit better.
Back up above the wash there was food and beer and scotch; sunset fading into orange and pink as if a blazing fire reached into the sky. There were dirt bikes and trailers, four-wheelers and one porta-potty perched in the bed of a pick-up truck. There were tears and hugs and memories and the persistent gnaw of loss. But the next day, as the fragile light from the morning sun crept along the rocks and as we pulled away from camp, there was relief and calm and a kind of joy.
Near the Finish Line, Buckhorn Wash.
Kel & Ike cross the Finish Line.
The family post-race.
My bib and medal; my brother’s bib and medal.
Overlooking Ten Mile Wash.
Pooper’s grave site.
Looking out at the Wash from Pooper’s Grave.
Inside The Chuck Bowl.
Desert flowers and ashes.
The Wash in the morning.