When a man is on his way to the wilderness of love, that man must practice his due diligence as to whom he asks for directions.

I mean there are some pretty rugged individuals in the high deserts of western Nevada. One becomes aware these folks are rugged when one observes that they do most everything with their hats on.

Once upon a time not so long ago I found myself just outside of a town called Jackpot for an extended amount of time, during which time I never once saw a man take a nap nor an early morning meal with an exposed noggin. In all the simple peculiarities, there sat a grimy brim, saturated in sweat, offering vacuity to the fella’s vision of everything light.

I can also assure you—without assumption—that they breakfasted wearing their hats as well, but by the time yours truly sat down to his nuclear stack of flapjacks and chicken fried steak, the locals had already hit the road to bust it big.

Though, on the other hand, since these folks have chosen to settle down in damn near too close of proximity to our great US of A’s first nuclear test site, a little known nerve-gas depot, several top-secret unidentified flying helicopter pads, and infinite depositories for our “trustworthy” government’s many toxic anomalies. Maybe the locals are just doing what they can to prevent their shaded little heads from ever glowing in the damn dark.

If I lived in Nevada, which amazingly, I do, maybe I should start dining out in one of those hazmat suits as to hide myself from the supernatural glow of whatever it is these folks are scared of.

Naturally, it is of my curiosity, that I should ponder if these folks also sleep with their hats on. More precisely, do they sleep with their better halves, girlfriends, boyfriends, teddy bears, mistresses, or even, the thoroughly legit, local harlequins, with their hats on? I once had every intention to speak at length with a lovely harlequin from around these parts about this, but we never got around to talking.

But when the fire of someone’s mind is forever stoked by the burning desire of busting it big, those thoughts are bound to do nothing but smolder with intensity at eating time, perhaps maybe, one does require a sort of crown-shaped perpetual shadow to cool down such cerebral burn.

However, something hiding within this so-called wilderness of love gives me reason to believe that the answers to all of my thoughts matter not. Of this, maybe we will, or will not, discuss later.

Getting back to where I was meant to be going. Beneath those baseball caps that advertise all sorts of assorted domestic beers, some even mentioning something about “making America great again”, which might I be so kind to add, that after further investigation as to the philosophy that America was never great to begin with, rather insults, every life that has died in an American war. Besides how the fuck do you make America great again by manufacturing these blood-stained hats in China.

Though, please remember, not all the thoughts in my head deserve answers. Of this, I am aware.

Anyways, under these stubborn hats of grandeur delusion and false prophecies are some pretty demanding hangovers slowly being processed and some ignorant ideologies still being entertained.

See, one simply does not approach a miner, a wrangler, a railroad engineer, a prospector, a degenerate gambler, an unidentified flying pilot, a rather uniquely gorgeous RV saleswoman, or a misplaced desert sand-blasted sheep herder and interrupt their smoldering thought process about busting it big with that of the positive side of progressive forces—environmental protection, responsible government spending, systematic racism, social disorder, spiritual self-discovery, unconditional love, the golden rule, progressive political theory, loaded dice, et cetera—which all, apparently stand between them and busting it oh so big.

No, one simply does not walk up to such a person, who tips their soiled lid to no one—not even God anymore—and ask.

“Excuse me, might you be able to point me in the direction of the wilderness of love?”

And so should someone desire to carve their own path to the wilderness of love—which is, after all, one of the last holy places left here in America—they’ll have to seek it and find it themselves.

And yet still, if one were to inquire of its whereabouts at a bar or gas station (here in Nevada both are often one in the same, complete with soul-siphoning slot machines), the best that one shouldn’t necessarily hope for is that the local folk wink and aim their finger towards the pearly pink gates of Love’s Cottontail ranch.

As wild as that place sounds, it has nothing to do with love, but instead, lust, which goes hand in hand with the trade winds of good ole Nevada desert gold dust. Of that place, there isn’t much to discuss.

In the misunderstanding event that your inquiry misses the edge of their brim, or they dodge the light of your rather puzzling question altogether, and/or, take a turn towards a more aggravated than normal offense to your needs, just know in advance, that a local isn’t likely to point you the way home without arguing over such trivial matters—save for the rare breed that still practices in the field of archaeology—and neither is anyone else for that matter.

See, the beautiful and bustling population of Nevada wakes up with every sunrise, adjusts it hat, pounds fistfuls of pain reliever, and hits the ground running looking to bust it big, without so much as a worried suspicion that the wilderness of love is just within arm’s reach of the treasure they seek.

How may I, myself, have come to hear about this wilderness of love, you are probably wondering?

Yours truly learned of this wilderness of love from a Winnemucca woman, an academic scholar of the mental arts—amazingly perfect and damn good at what she does—whom has traveled with extensiveness throughout the Great Basin. The woman drew me a fairly specific map on the back of this postcard, but I, in good faith, cannot share its details.

My reluctance is not rooted in conservative selfishness nor liberal elitism, but on the sole conviction that certain aspects of the wilderness are quite fragile, and in dire need of protection, so that such wild beauty is forever preserved.

Not that soul-searching hordes are likely going to descend upon this wild because of these words: the wilderness is remote; sketchy, according much to season, by scorching sun, whipping wind & blinding blizzard; and is only reached mostly by foot, lest one has a plane. Though prior to all that is a road, a road that leads to another road that leads to nowhere, and it is a road that any man with a car note, should not, in his right mind, even think to travel upon.

And as of late, every damn year, except this one, there are tens of thousands of folks from all over the world who take their own path in the direction of this wild, but their cerebral burn keeps them occupied in a different sort of way (interesting bunch they are, my kind of folks, there is hope for us yet).

There are now as well, plenty of energy vampires around these parts, with the perfect amount of leisure and knowledge, and also lack of it, to track down yet another solar operated, battery generated, electricity breathing, light hoarding, energy complex. The brand spanking new center of the universe, I recently heard it all called.

And now I, because of this map, have to agree with them. You’ll see why at the fork in the road. And just as well, there are plenty of us curious loners with quite the appetite for the antique, sacred, and exotic souvenir. And so it is, surely, I’ll be forgiven for remaining ever so slightly discreet.

Besides, what kind of way would this be if it didn’t contain hints of hardship and puzzling enigmas of twist and turns and spiral roads? The quest has forever been the most essential to the ritual, the reverence that paves the way for the pilgrimage. To orient ourselves at the intersection of the visible and invisible—which to a point, Is, the purpose of all inward journeys—we must embrace the search as well as the goal that fate has forever had in store for us. And if our journey into the core of the heart of spiritual and self discovery ever resembles, in any polite manner, our last trip to the new and improved midtown Target, then we are, quite frankly, doing it all fucking wrong.

Though, I can disclose this much: to be on my way towards the wilderness of love, yours truly had to travel a helluva long ways upon good ole desolate Highway 50, a graphite thread of asphalt one hundred percent accurately described by the Guild of Great Americana Postcard Artists as the loneliest road in America. It should be noted, that the lonely road itself moonlights as a runway of sorts.

But For Now

It may come to impress some of the audience as poignant and correct that the wilderness of love is only reached by a route of legendary loneliness and a seemingly utter loss of sanity. Others will not react at all…

But for now, what the hell did I do with my hat?

Yours Truly,


2 thoughts on “The High Road Home

  1. Hi Ryan. I hope that is you I met in Denali Park, AK, in 2002. If ut is not you It’s fine also. This is amazing writing skills. I have startet my Book, which I have been planing for very long time. I hope that is ok with you at I use your style as inspiration for my Book. If you like I can send you my introduction, so you can check it out.

    Be safe and healthy,

    Trayan Ilkov

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