When I wake up I am in a desert. The land is barren, rolling with embers of sand coating the earth, seeping into its lungs and engulfing its soul with dust and despair. The sun is fire, beating the land from above as it sweeps over the empty landscape in a stagnant dance that leaves prints of heat embedded in the sand. I see no life, just scraggly wanderers rolling as tumbleweeds in the emptiness that marks the landscape. The sky is ubiquitous, shifting to all colors in silent waves as the clouds shimmer into visibility. The heat pricks my skin as needles injecting life into my veins, an ironic smirk in the land of the dead. I look up into the eyes of the glaring sun, using my beaten fingers to shield my gaze from the ever present blinding light that covers my vision. My irises soak in the simplicity, the intricate solitude of the desert, feeling like Ishmael lost at sea. For I am a wanderer you see, congruent to the tumbleweeds dancing past me in a tortuous dance that is doomed to loop forever across the dry ocean. My path is hidden, enshrouded in the blanket of swelter that weighs down from the sky in turmoil. There is no beaten road for me to travel, no guide to lead me along the way. No hints are splayed blatantly in the sand, no clues cloaked in parched fragments. The loneliness is evident in every breath of the air, the wind still and unmoving. The absence of life is unsettling to say the least, the silence deafening my ears as the pounding of my chest remains quiet. I close my eyes, the isolation seeping into my bones. I am lost. My direction has faltered. The burden of the sky has fallen upon my weathered shoulders and my eyes have turned gold, the colors of each experience gilding my soul with a rich lining. I have stilled to a stop. My feet are lead weights, refusing to move across the wide expanse towards a destination that only exists in dreams. I am content but frustrated with the lack of progress. My heart is warm and comfortable but my brain itches with irritation, wanting to stretch and travel to places unknown. The burning curiosity is blistering my skin, screeching its plea to continue and discover the fated road my feet burn to touch. The turmoil inside of me reflects itself on the clouds, swirls of black mixing in with feather white as they dance an intricate spin among the glint of stars materializing behind them. I am uncertain. Should I continue or sink to my knees in the burning sand? Should I forge ahead or allow the dust to construct a grave of my shattered dreams, hanging on the broken stems of sunflower seeds? Give up? Or advance the search for the concrete illusion of water that my lungs desire to parch my burning throat? The crystal luminescence of the sparkling water swirls as pixels manifest into pictures in my mind, the mere thought drying the skin of my throat to an extreme desire. So close…. My eyes snap open in boldness, the confidence pulsing through my skin. With difficulty, my limbs lift the weighted toes that sink into the quickening sand and manage to place it in front of the other. I repeat the action with left limbs, struggling but managing to place another step. I continue to sluggishly move until my muscles realize that my decision has indeed been made. I may not know where I’m going, I may not know where I am, but I will forge a destination with the padded soles of my toes. As I walk, a road paves itself behind me, marking my struggles, my troubles, my turmoil of emotions. The desert behind me transforms into looming landscapes, some shrouded in darkness while others flourish into oases. I create the scenery with each step I take, my footprints embedded in each spectacle. I am the lone wanderer, travelling across the burning desert, but with each step, I come closer to my magnum opus.