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The Mirror in the Desert: The Clowns (part one)

April 25, 2020

I should have taken as a sign when it was raining in the desert that something bad was heading my way.

Instead, I saw it as just a bit of a disappointment.  Now, well, I wish I would have taken one look at the sickly grey green sky, taken it as a warning and turned around. If wishes were wings, and all that.

It wasn’t raining hard, just the misty kind of drizzle that made everything slick.  I had flow down here from a much colder clime.  It had seemed like a good idea when I had planned the trip, go get away from everyone, hike and get a little sun.

The sun part was looking unlikely.

airport was crowded, everyone was heading home for the holiday, to be with family.  I didn’t feel like being home,  Having just broken up with a young lady that had a calendar like name, I didn’t feel like wallowing at home.  I could have gone to be with my niece and nephews, but I didn’t feel like being around people either.

So the desert it was.  While I was mindful of the ideas of a spirit quest, or walkabout, and that God is somehow closer in the wastelands, it was more just to get back to my old self than anything else.  My mind The idea of fasting on the actual feast day appealed more to my contrarian spirit than anything else, and so one the actual holiday I intend to go without.

Even if I had considered that there are other things reputed to be in the desert that were much more malignant, it would not have deterred me.  I felt myself perfectly capable of handing any natural threat that would have come my way.  Any unnatural one I wouldn’t even have considered

When I was younger, I had once fasted for three days in order to be the right weight to qualify for an event, and I had found the experience had a wonderful ability to focus the mind and so occasionally I went without.

I would like to think that what happened on that trip was the result of exposure to the elements, a lack of food, fatigue and ,,, well I keep adding to the list but I know that’s an attempt to lie to myself.

So I grabbed my backpack off the luggage conveyer, and made sure I had everything, including my canon camera.  I had recently purchased a telescopic lens and I was looking forward to giving it a go.

From there it was standing in a horrendous line to get my rental car, a neon green boxy thing, made sure I had everything and plenty of water and headed out.

It took over an hour to get through the holiday traffic, then past the extended suburban sprawl filled with retirement villages and golf courses.  Once the city had faded behind me the road stretched forward into the empty reaches.  Occasionally a small town providing gas and sundries would appear and disappear just as quickly.

Strange, twisted rock formations, layers of red, brown and green, littered the landscape like the remains of some gigantic tower that had once been built to reach the edge of heaven and then collapsed to scatter its blocks and pieces for miles around.

I got to the trailhead as the sky was finally darkening towards night.  The plan was to set up my tent here, get up early in the morning and head down the trail.  I had expected, with the family holiday and the cooler temperatures overall would mean I had the area to myself.

I was wrong.

When I arrived though there was a number of trailers and campers, parked in a ring which reminded me of settlers circling the wagons.

On several of the trailers were painted in faded paint were the words: Circus Genesius.

There were people puttering around the circle and I felt a sense of unease as I parked the rental nearby and got out.  No one approached me, but I got a distinct sense I had been noticed and was being watched.

It took a moment to realize what was making me uncomfortable.  Regardless of their attire, every last one of them, every man woman and child had clown paint on their faces.  Although I cannot be sure, I believe there was the distinct color of white on a baby that was nursing.

I had heard of groups called Juggalos, and thought by pure random chance I had run into a group of them, but I had a hunch that I had run into something singularly different.


Continued in part two

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