Monday, June 27, 2011

Better than the Golden Sunrise

 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.


  1. It looks beautiful there, but lonely. I am glad you will be coming home to friends. Even though you mention groups of people, they are not there, only stone portraits of seaman and ships. It looks so quiet too... maybe I can imagine the crunch of your footsteps or the sound of water, or the wind sometimes... are you completely alone in the early hours, do others come when it gets hot? Did you really not carry water... or are you being metaphorical? Look forward to the stories of your last trails here, and then to your travels "home"!!

  2. AnonymousJune 27, 2011

    Your blogs and selections of scenes and comments are haikai, linked verses of Zen awareness. I think Zen means knowingness, or should and your knowing of scenes and rocks as part of the eternal arrangement and being is perfect. It is poetry in trail hiking and dissection of time into the living moment within the living moment within the poets who craves freedom inside the moment.

    Thank you for this magical trip. I think I have cried and been moved almost every time, but especially today about the water the plants have always known. That is proof of god, of life, of intelligence in plants, they are not matter, the wood and tissues are decisions coming into being.

    Russell Salamon

  3. It is indeed beautiful and lonely, Kathabela, if you count absence of human companionship as loneliness. I find it less lonely five miles in on a trail nobody uses, with the only sound the rustle of a lizard--I find this less lonely than a restaurant with conversations going on all around.

    I have not fared well, Russell, with Bashō’s haikai or haiku or derivatives in the genre. I get low votes and rejections. No matter. The rocks and I get along fine. I am thankful for the few friends I do receive and who see as I, especially those who don't see the rock or the bird, but see anyway. Thanks for your words.