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…

Autumn Resonance

It started with a scent. A scent of rustled leaves beginning again as oblation, an offering to the succession of life and death. It blew through the open window and disturbed the steady breath of frosty mornings. Is this the disturbance wild geese feel? A row of cells divide and suddenly they are off, pummeling…

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…