Tomorrow at three in the morning I will drive to Death Valley. I will spend 24 hours there.

Here are the reasons I am going:

Because it’s dangerous.

Because I need some danger.

Because I have too much safety.

Because safety is boring.

Because I want to go for a long walk.

Because Death Valley  just experienced the hottest month ever recorded, on earth.

Because it will be over 125 degrees, in the sun.

Because those refugees — they live in the desert.

Because I want to know what they feel like.

Because I need to feel what they feel like.

Because I long to thirst.

Because I crave to walk far away from everything and be with my searing, sweaty, self.

Because Jesus understood heat.

So did Aristotle.

Because I desire to feel alone and vulnerable.

Because I wish to talk out loud to myself and to God and know nobody will hear what I have to say. I might even scream. I will probably laugh. I most certainly will cry.

Because austerity.

Because the desert is the most austere place you could go.

Because no sounds of cars nor people nor helicopters nor faucets nor music nor television nor clinking dishes nor opinions nor doorbells nor Disneyland fireworks nor sights of tables nor telephone poles nor asphalt nor sprinklers nor coffee cups nor rear view mirrors nor status symbols nor logos nor laptops nor lamps nor chandeliers nor windows nor basketball courts nor buildings nor builders nor those exit signs you see everywhere nor off ramps nor speed bumps nor pillows nor phone chargers.

Because “silence is the scrub brush to the soul.”

Because solitude.

Because I won’t be able to misplace anything (except myself).

Because we need periods of time with fewer choices.

Because the only choice I will really have is whether to go back or not.

Because something in me desires moderate amounts of physical pain.

Because I will bring pencil and paper and write.

Because what I write in discomfort is distinct from what I write in in comfort.

Because of refugee children who currently live in the hot deserts of Turkey and Jordan and Lebanon.

Because Lawrence Of Arabia is my favorite film and I want to feel what T.E. Lawrence felt.

Because I’ve wanted to do this for years.

Because hard times come but hard times go.

Because I might be a little weird.