We greet each other, the sun and I, across 93 million miles of black void. Morning is sweeter in the knowledge of what the afternoon will bring, and it’s been bringing it on hotter as July approaches, here on my island in the sun.
Again I go to the edge of the world and look down. Another day, another trail. This one goes to where the Puebloans would have gone two thousand years ago, followed by the Utes, the Mormons, the cowboys, and today by anyone foolish enough not to carry water. The old ones would have known about Neck Springs.
After descending over a gentler place in the cliff, I find it—water. The plants lead me; they have always known.
Looking up, I see the seamen gaze ahead. Land Ho, one shouts. And they too find the Island in the Sky.
Like ships on the sea, Monitor and Merrimac Buttes, named for two iron ships in the Civil War—Merrimac (left), the Confederate ship, Monitor (right) the Union ship. Entrada Sandstone, rising six hundred feet, same rock as in Arches Park.
Welcome to Upheaval Dome. So strangely different is this place than anything around here that geologists study it with great interest. We must, of course, understand every phenomenon, catalog it, and thereby make ourselves feel competent. It’s what religion does with natural things, artists do on canvas, and what I do in writing this blog. I’m not criticizing, just lowering our importance.
Some geologists attribute this two-mile wide mouth to the impact of a comet fragment some sixty million years ago. Others say that because this whole region is underlain by salt leftover from several ancient seas, and because salt becomes plastic under great pressure, that it welled up in this particular place to form a dome, which eroded to become the blue spectacle you see.