After a few minutes walking the group started to slowly separate from each other as people moved into their own spaces. Martin became like a caricature from a Lowry painting. His stick thin silhouette walking across the horizon a reference point for us all to follow. My focus of attention moved inwards as I looked for other means to distract myself.
The first thing that hit me was boredom. Bored of the same thoughts going round and round in my head. I was surprised by my mind’s lack of creativity. My thoughts mainly consisted of ‘I am so hungry,’ ‘God I could do with a beer,’ or ‘I wonder what is on television tonight.’ I imagined myself waving a white flag and shouting, ‘I surrender. Take me to the nearest bar with beer, loud music, and pointless conversation.’
After a further couple of hours of walking I had discovered this amazing ability to recall entire scenes from old movies played out in my mind as if I were actually in the cinema. I walked further while mumbling out loud Robert De Niro’s lines from Taxi Driver, ‘Are you looking at me? Because I don’t see anyone else out here.’
I pulled my mouth downwards and then checked around for anyone else looking at me but the group was stretching further and further away into the desert. Thin lines on a compass point. The fresh desert air seemed to dislodge old memories stuck behind some grey mass located somewhere in my brain. Family arguments from when we were kids rose to the surface like steam from a boiling pan of food. The more the memories that came up the more I investigated the memories. Trespassing on things that were long forgotten.
It had only been two hours and desert madness was already setting in. Thoughts, memories, and feelings were bumping around in my head like dodgem cars. My lips were tightly pursed, wishing there was something to distract me from the incessant chatter of my own mind. I had read in one of my spiritual books that my mind was like the sky, vast and open. So I told my mind and my annoying thoughts that there was plenty of space to run around in so please stop bothering me.
After a while the madness subsided and I could only hear the soft crunching of my boots on the desert floor.