Slippery Rock Creek

You push that great red plastic hull into the water and watch it dip in slightly before floating on top. The kayak looks so artificial in that swampy muddy water as if anything so large and poignantly red could ever appear from the depths of nature’s own hand. You wedge your body into the little hole…

Desert Notes

Waking in the desert must be like waking just before the world began. Every detail is slate blue and the horizon blends so seamlessly with the pre-dawn sky that it is difficult to tell where earth ends and atmosphere begins. When the sun blooms from the bellies of distant canyons, the whole world comes to…

Learning to Ski in the Backcountry

I wasn’t nervous when I purchased the skis. I wasn’t nervous when I set them behind the door of my apartment next to the cardboard box with the heavy ski boots and bindings. I wasn’t nervous when I took them to REI to be mounted and the man behind the counter asked me how long…

Finding Space

  “All of life drums and beats, at once, sustaining a rhythm audible only to the spirit. I can drum my heartbeat back into the Earth, beating, hearts beating, my hands on the Earth—like a ruffed grouse on a log, beating, hearts beating—like a bittern in the marsh, beating, hearts beating. My hands on the…

Arches National Park, 3 of 3: The Fiery Furnace

“But wait, you say, there is no right and wrong in nature; right and wrong is a human concept. Precisely: we are moral creatures, then, in an amoral world. The universe that suckled us is a monster that does not care if we live or die—does not care if it itself grinds to a halt….

Arches National Park, 2 of 3

“I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with a nonhuman world and yet somehow survives still intact, individual, separate. Paradox and bedrock.” —Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire After waiting all these years, I’ll admit I was prepared for disappointment. I’ll admit I was prepared for teeming crowds of people pouring…

Arches National Park, 1 of 3

“Living is moving; time is a live creek bearing changing lights.” –Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek The car moved beneath our bodies; my body was rigid with anticipation. We passed the traffic outside of Boulder, slid through a rainstorm in Vail, and just as the sun was setting, we passed into Utah. The scenery…