A UFO in Sedona

Three years ago, when we left New England, I could not sit ten feet from the van in the dark without spooking myself crazy. Peeing outside of the van during the night was a feat to be celebrated. Convinced that a predatory wild animal, mythical werewolf or serial killer was lurking behind a bush ready to pounce, I would count down the seconds before my life was sucked away.

This video was filmed the first year on the road and it’s a very good indicator of my fear of the dark at that time!


When Corey and our friend Serge decided to go hike the Grand Canyon a few days ago, I made the spontaneous decision to pack my new Thule backpack and wander into the red rocks with Penny Rose to solo celebrate my birthday.

Journal excerpt 4/17/2016: Dusk is rapidly descending with only an hour until dark. I have just set out on my first ever camping trip, a vision quest, really. My new purple backpack weighs heavily on my spine, stuffed with impractical camping gear like avocados, dog treats, books, journal, hula hoop, yoga mat and crystals. And many practical gallons of water. I just felt my back pullout just a bit with the weight, and I know if I push myself an injury is likely. With the pain, my excitement quickly dissolved into the red rocks beneath my feet and a faint feeling of dread pulsed through me. What the hell am I doing? Am I being reckless? Naive? Stupid? Impulsive? Irrational? Does any of this even matter? What am I trying to prove to myself? Mental note: Pack lighter, be stronger.
I spent the first night in a sea of aloneness, the only signs of life the talkative wise owl, Penny Rose’s body heat against my alive skin, and my own drumming heart. Oh, and the UFO that returned to me my sense of wonder that had been lost somewhere along the road of expectations and should’s and should not’s.

The UFO at first looked like a plane, but as it got closer, it looked more like a large star, radiating light as I thought only sparkling stars know how to do. I watched. No blinking lights. I watched. It was moving side to side, as well as linearly, in a sort of bobbing motion. I squeezed my eyelids shut and then opened them wide. Still bobbing. I rubbed my eyes to get any red dirt out. Still bobbing. My eyes were glued to it, as it dawned on me that I was seeing my first legitimate UFO (and no, I was not under the influence of any mind altering substances). As these thoughts crossed my mind, it slowly faded away directly above the immense red rock formations. Perhaps it passed through clouds, I thought, and quickly scanned the night sky. Nope. Crystal clear. Not even a haze. I surrendered to my yoga mat on the cool hard ground, my eyes open wide and my body tingling with wonder. Not fear, but wonder. I re-membered this feeling, so prevalent as a child when everything seemed magic, WAS magic. The feeling came back strong. What a beautiful, mysterious adventure this life is.

In our society we highly value intellectualism, knowledge and science. Our education focuses on learning, processing and accumulating information. This is great in many ways, as it allows us the ability to be functional human beings within the system we’ve created. Plus, if we love what we apply our knowledge to, then this is perfect! Yet, I cannot help but wonder what the cost is, individually and collectively, when we sever our relationship to the unknown as a result of our hyper focus on gathering external information. When we are disconnected from the beauty, our own wild nature, the magic and mystery, have we gone too far? Is this why so many of us are seeking and longing for the reconnection to something primal, something wild within us? Has our forget-fullness led us to far corners of the earth to try to re-member something inherently ours?

The second night my friend Rachelle joined me and we moon gazed, pondered the mysteries of existence, told the scorpions to leave us alone so we could safely rest our heads on the red dirt, and giggled like school girls surrounded by mountains, the red rock giants witnessing our every breath.

Solitude, sisterhood, rewilding, remembering, and letting go to the unknown to secure my sixth sense of wonder are my personal intentions for the next circle around the sun. It took me 32 years to create the courage to be alone in the wild for one night. And the timing is perfect.

How do you remember your sense of wonder? How have you overcome a fear? And last but not least, tell us your UFO story!! Leave a comment below. 🙂

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  • Kyle Richardson April 21, 2016  

    Very cool writeup, Emily! Both you and I spent our last birthdays solo camping in Sedona!! It’s unreal camping alone with nothing but your thoughts, the stars, and apparently UFO’s!! I’m so stoked you got to witness one and it restored your sense of wonder!

    • Emily king April 21, 2016  

      Thanks Kyle my soul brother! Stoked you loved this area so much and that you had a positive solo birthday mission in the wild too. Hoping to finally get the chance to hang with ya while we are here! 🙂

  • Wayne April 22, 2016  

    About ten years ago a few friends & I sat on a riverbank a mile or two from downtown Fort Smith in Arkansas.
    We were having a few beers, skipping rocks, & laughing it up. It was a spot we frequented.
    This particular night we noticed a few bright blue orbs in the distant horizon. There were 3 of them. They shot across the sky lightning fast, moving closer & closer towards us.
    One got so close that it actually lit up the bank we were standing on.
    It was IN-Sane!
    We were all like, ” whoa! What the hell was that??!”
    When we got back home I started calling meteroligists from local television stations.
    One of them spoke to me about it. He said he’d been following word of this from a few states away & that they had video footage. The speed that the orbs were moving were way too fast for anything man made. He had calculated the speed from the distance the orbs traveled in the video frames. It was hella’ fast.
    He took my telephone number and a few days later called me up to meet & speak with a dude from the Air Force who was involved in a Project Blue Angel that was investigating this phenomenon.
    So here I was about to meet up with these people, right, & the night before I had eaten some mushrooms & decided to just move Kansas City.
    That was it. I left town that night.
    I’ve always wondered what would have happened if I’d stayed in Fort Smith & talked with these people.
    I wasn’t on hallucinogens the night of the encounter . In case you were wondering.

    • Emily king April 26, 2016  

      Hey Wayne! What an intense experience!! I love your ending…. then I ate mushrooms and bounced. Thank you so much for sharing! Ohhh how much we don’t know. 🙂

  • Ans G April 27, 2016  

    Love it! I was on tour with my band in 2012 passing through Louisiana at night. I had been driving long hours but can assure you I was very cognitive. We were the only ones on the highway and all of a sudden our van is circled by this inferred laser looking circle of light with spinning geometric segments! The light spun around our van following it for about ten seconds and then the light shut off and the disc shaped aircraft flew slowly over the trees and out of sight. Really insane feeling not knowing what’s Above you checking you out.

    • Emily king May 5, 2016  

      Whoa what an incredible intense experience! Thank you for sharing!!!

  • Kirsten June 25, 2016  

    Beautiful birthday beauty 🙂