Sunday, June 26, 2011

Brute Force and Compliance

 By the mid 1950’s Moab was bursting at the seams with thousands of prospectors for uranium.  They came to make millions, but few did.  The price of ore fell and the miners left.  A processing plant for uranium ore opened in 1956 and closed in 1984.  What the prospectors left on the landscape is a network of ugly and rugged roads to their would-be mines, to their lost fortunes.  Today, jeeps venture these dare-devil roads.  The perfect wedding for me would be to a jeeper, because he can pick me up along some jeep road where most of the trails end.  Open for proposals.

 “The desert is a good school in which to observe the cleverness . . . of survival under pitiless opposition.  Life could not change the sun or water, so it changed itself”—John Steinbeck 

This country has lured me in, captured me, and after twenty days, has not let go.  From the edge of this island in the sky it is possible to gaze down on the backs of soaring birds, and I shall go there tomorrow for more of it.

Plants and animals with remarkable adaptations for desert survival greet me with apathy.  Some escape the average hell and live in nooks where the desert is less harsh—cottonwoods, single-leaf mahogany.  Some live only when the desert relents its cruelty—the annuals—and resign their species to seed for the harsh times of year.  And some, like the juniper, just stick it out in some crack in rock and simply die back if rain delays its blessing.


Along the great river, everything changes.  Anything can grow.  But just a hundred feet from the river, life in all its starkness resumes.


  1. Steven RadiceJune 26, 2011

    From the hard rocks to the soft embraces of friends welcoming you home.

  2. Gail RadiceJune 26, 2011

    These hard rocks bring out your romantic side Sharon! I see that you are still looking for some "jeep" thrills!

  3. AnonymousJune 26, 2011

    Sharon, thanks for opening up the arches area to us all. You are incredible the way you so completely discover an area. When are you going to publish your travel books? But in the meantime we will welcome you home. Voyager Carol

  4. Ah Sharon, the hopeful romantic, I think...! Yes, the possibilist even amidst the desert rarities... do I see a "two headed gorilla in one of those pictures?? Or is is my just returning eyes... we just walked into our happy nest, we conveniently left a bottle of champagne in the fridge for the happy travelers, happy to look and find you here amidst the rare blooms and beautiful poetic prose... mmmm I think Sharon has a detour planned, it won't be our arms she'll be falling into just yet, isn't that right Sharon?? Jeep thrills... or just your "other" friends?? (Please give them our love...) Hugs and giggles and teases home.

  5. Maybe I jumped ahead like a lurching jeep when I called it “A Good Time Ending.” I have four more days here in Moab before starting for home. I won’t actually get home until July 7. It seems almost over and so quickly. An enchanting land it is, and yes Gail, I believe the rust-colored rocks bring out my romantic side. Still, Steven is right, the hard rocks will make embraces of friends on my return softer. And Carol, I do feel that I’ve rather completely discovered an interesting area to the extent of my abilities. I did not climb rocks with pitons and ropes, did not ride a horse or drive a jeep or go splashing down Cataract Canyon in a raft, but I hiked a lot and saw almost every sunrise. And Kathabela, I think you see a kangaroo rat, but your imagination is wilder than mine, that’s why I’m a possibilist, to try and keep up.