The Plumber and the Princess in the Gorge
By Lynne Miller
There is a place of magic that exists in the Anza Borrego Desert. For over 4 decades I have gone to the Gorge. First I went with my family in our small RV. Then I went with friends. The craziest things happened there. Our dog went missing then came back in the middle of the night. Someone tripped and splattered a whole plate of very red spaghetti on their face and body. I took one of my dogs there the week of her death.
Then, when I met my spiritual teacher, he took our whole tribe to the desert, to the same Gorge. Magic happened. Many times I went with my teacher into the desert nights where stars did impossible things and mountains dissolved. So did people.
The years that I taught at Dharma Center we (the teachers) led students back into the wash where we were embraced by the light of the Gorge. In our bids for power we felt beings who guarded the secrets of light and transformation. With open hearts and a warriors spirit we let go – trusting the land, the winds, and the dark starry nights.
On March 24, 2017 a small group of women hiked by day and by night. The Gorge is always different. No two experiences are the same. Sometimes the Gorge is quiet and seems to be open for just our tribe. Other nights it is filled with campers, sometimes with music and party minds, and sometimes it draws people who are looking for dark power.
Tonight it was edgy energy, an intensity that can make your body react with anxiety and nausea. The further we walked as the sun sought her low point, the quicker the shifts in energy and attention. We passed a group of tent campers with their four SUVs. They were quiet and private. Further down the Gorge a big white Plumber’s Van passed us slowing and stopped. The man jumped out with his dog, and he walked around in front of us, talking to himself, or his dog. Maybe he was talking to the lovely woman who was a passenger. “I told them not to come back here, I told them it was dangerous. This sand is too soft.”
As we approached I asked him, “Is everything all right?” He didn’t answer, maybe he didn’t hear me. Then he said, “Are they having races back down there?” He pointed towards the depth of the Gorge. We didn’t know. As he walked a circle in the hard packed sand he asked, “Do you think I can turn around here, will I get stuck?” I walked on the surface where he was standing and told him I thought it was probably ok.
Our small band of women continued to walk down the Gorge. As I turned to face the mouth of the wash I saw that his van was stuck. He had chosen to pull into a sandy area across the road from the hard packed sand. He got stuck.
We continued on, back into the Gorge, walking through the changing worlds that we could sense with our second attention. We stayed as the stars rose and covered the sky. We gazed at mountains and stars and listened to the wind’s soft whisper. As always, the Gorge shifted and let me know that it was time to leave. Slowly our group packed up and walked toward the opening of the wash. We saw a group of people close to the Plumber’s van. When he got to the van a lovely woman, dressed in a thin flowing top or dress, which the breeze blew so that she seemed to be dancing, came to me. “We were so worried about you. We knew that you had gone into the wash, but you never came out. We wanted to go look for you, but our van was stuck and we couldn’t do anything.”
I explained to her that we were gazing at the stars and doing some meditation. I thanked her for her concern. Then I said, “Wow, you are glam camping, that is such a lovely top.”
She laughed, saying that they had come from San Diego for the day and they were not camping, they had come to fly their drone.
The campers, with two of their cars were there. Suddenly the plumber came towards me, filled with excitement, saying, “We have been stuck ever since you saw us. We were hoping you would come back.”
We learned that the Plumber and the Princess had walked back to the campers, and the men seemed to be delighted to use their winch to pull out the van, though it had taken awhile. Soon the van was unstuck, and the camper’s led the plumber and the princess out of the Gorge.
Our group hiked back out, stopping once to sit quietly and thank the Gorge for her power and protection.
As I review the evening, I have to recognize the lessons of the drama played out on the desert floor. The Plumber was concerned about the danger there. At first I thought maybe he was looking for someone who had come there earlier, and was maybe lost. (I remember the night in the Gorge when Rama said we had come back for members of our tribe.) The Gorge must be taken seriously, and the correct balance of warrior’s spirit, surrender and etiquette is essential. We, who recognize the Gorge as Home, bid for power and come prepared to dissolve and die. We dissolve and shift as we step into the mystic.
The Gorge never offers ‘the same’ experience, however it is common that dissolution shifts our attention, and we get ‘unstuck’. The Plumber reminded us about one reason for our journey.
How funny, and curious, that the theme of the evening was literally getting stuck. Being stuck, the Plumber and the Princess dug deep into the sand, then called for help. Help arrived. Just what they needed was there in the desert.
How appropriate, that while they were seeking help from the campers, they were concerned for our welfare. How perfect, that our night in the Gorge gave us what we needed to loosen the fiber of our beings, and the drama played out by the characters reminded us why we were there.
This is the great lesson I learned from the drama played out by the Plumber and the Princess. Remember to ask for help. Eternity is always there. She is in the Gorge, waiting. She is available everywhere. We just have to remember to ask!