Monday, September 5, 2011

Erosion and decay characterize the desert. Everything new in the desert is formed through the destruction of something old. A canyon gets deeper and more grand because older and older layers of rock are eaten away. It is the same for the stone monoliths; at some time, “ground level” was the top of the pillar of stone. Then slowly the ground was broken and washed away and by some luck in the makeup of the stone a pillar remained standing, marking where the earth’s surface used to be. These markers cannot last forever themselves and with the sides of the rock now exposed to the elements, water begins to whittle away the perimeter. Quirks in the distribution of the elements cause the stone to wear unevenly giving us impossibly balanced boulders and arches for a geological instant. These may look eternal in the way that they stand against the sky but they are just the last strands of sea foam that linger on the beach after the retreating wave, they will be reabsorbed into the earth. The obliterated stone will find its way into the Colorado River which will carry it to the sea where it will be pulled under the crust of the earth to be recycled into the matter that will one day emerge as new land from the seam in the middle of the pacific ocean.

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