Tiny arches, this view about three feet high
I had the usual anticipation this morning—another hike, another strange canyon, new distorted rocks. I opened the door and immediately felt warmth, unusual for pre-sunrise, and wind from the south, also unusual to one who lives here and knows nature’s patterns. Looking up, I found no stars, and that shook me. I think that one of the reasons I get away with what most people call danger is that I can change in a New York minute, turn on a penny’s worth of evidence, a hunch, intuition.
I had told him I wanted to see a flash flood before I leave Utah, and he said it gets scary around here in a thunderstorm. Only nine inches of rain falls on an average year, and most of it comes in violent storms.
Any anasazi would have taken this morning’s signs as ominous, any cowboy who came to these mesas, even a uranium prospector bent on radioactive gold, and even me after three weeks. A sense comes with the desert, a feeling.
So I didn’t go the canyon, didn’t see the golden sunrise, but went instead to a café, ordered coffee. I sat outside, which normally would be cold at this hour. My sitting was humidly and unpleasantly warm, but interesting because I watched a thunderstorm come in from the south, blacken the sunrise, and move out of here, all within thirty minutes. It dropped no rain.
The wind stopped, the day turned hotter than any since my arrival. It felt wrong to go out in the sun for long, but not wrong to make the short drive into The Arches for a walk down Park Avenue, which they named for the rock “buildings” that line it.
Here is my castle with adjoining tower from which I survey my kingdom and the works that I have done.
This rock was set squarely on its pedestal many years ago, but I moved it to the side just enough to worry everyone.
A Chucker, as the hunters call it, Hungarian Partridge, descendent from the ones Susan Dobay brought here from the old country many years ago.