Walking through canyonlands

This entry is part of my journal from Semester in the West. For all SITW journal entries, click here. For all SITW posts, including blog posts I wrote while on the program, click here. To learn more about the program, click here.


camp: Back of Beyond, the Known Universe, Utah
Sunrise is hope, renewal spreading across the horizon. I wonder about the wisdom of silence—we’re struck by awe, humbled at these sights. But maybe sounds can acknowledge what we feel when we see the sun. It gives us life, sustains us, feeds our bodies and nourishes our soul. Maybe we should dance, sing, be joyous.
Feet on dirt—crushing, compacting, like boots on snow. Feet on rock—a soft tap, not quite a click. The same genus as heels on a marble floor, but a very different species. Distant cousins. Water ripples in sand. Warm, not hot. A breeze so small you can barely discern direction. Juniper berries and twigs pool in the rock’s indentations. Pieces of crumbled rock are scattered on the slickrock. Moon soil, full of craters. One piece looks like a tortoise, grotesque, half-formed. It’s hotter. My abdomen tingles, my scalp itches. It’s an early warning. Seek cover, get inside. The crypto is like a minefield and those hills aren’t getting any closer.
I love the ripples on the rock. Water is so clear in its presence and absence. It carves over time, folding the surface in on itself, carving lines, curves, stream channels. It’s the face of time, seemingly permanent until you walk across it, and it cracks and crumbles, brittle sand, easier to change than the wet tide flats at the beach.
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