There are days when I feel like I am in a hell of my own making – à la C.S. Lewis. I have every reason to be gloriously happy – dream job, dream husband, living in Montana, plentiful adventures, abundant community – and yet I feel empty. This angst runs after me like a starved dog. It snaps at my ankle. It won’t let go. I even visited with Richard Rohr, and he was quick to say, “You are on the necessary journey,” or something like that – something that means everything and nothing all at once. Some call this desert time. When I first heard this phrase, I thought, “Oh yes, that sounds wise and full of meaning.” Now, after eight years of staring myself down in the mirror, of getting honest about my own callowness, of counseling, journaling, service, reflection, reading, spiritual direction, discernment groups, of realizing no amount of accolades, clicks, shiny objects, vacations, home cooked meals, art projects, whathaveyous will make my belly full, it is clear this place isn’t a desert – it’s a damn jungle. There are no seasons. Death, new life, and decay cycle at dizzying speeds. Feisty little demons spring out of my head faster than I can slay them, and just when I think they’ve flattened my will, I hear something funny – usually from my husband or from some unexpected crack in the day – my nephew wearing a dog costume in July and grinning, “It smells like updog in here” – or playing the anal RV game with my friend, texting each other what we see along our travels: Anal Freedom, Anal Siesta, Anal Rambler, Anal Citation, and my favorite, Anal Leprechaun – yes, yes, sometimes juvenile humor is the only way forward – and laughter spills out uncontrollably, drowning all the dark wriggles. I am this handmade shaky, quivering thing, throwing my head back, howling at the tangled wonderful.