Thursday, October 31, 2013


Snowcapped peaks still combing clouds, dunes still petrified, balanced rock still balanced; and I’m back sitting on a stone looking down on the towers of the courthouse and the pipes of the organ and the shepherd of the sheep. I look at them sideways with my ear to the earth and my bare feet scuffing on the warm stone.
I lay on my back with my hat over my face shielding it from the noon sun. The light still comes in through the vent holes in the hat and fills the space above my eyes. The passing cars on the road far below rumble out a rhythm syncopated as they drop in and out of the wash. Wind feels its way whistling through slots in the stone wall and comes down to my noontime bed to push a dried cottonwood leaf; a crunchy pizzicato on the pitted, ridged rock.
I tap on the stone with my knuckles, finding the hollow sounding spots where the next thin layer of rock has broken free of the mound, waiting to be pulverized and washed down to the Colorado. In the morning just after sunrise I heard a loud crack and crash echoing from the maze of the petrified dune field. An anonymous boulder that had waited 100 million years for water to clear a path to the ground and just one night for the frost that gave it the final kick.
I sit facing the west wall, warming my face in the last light as the cold wind from the mountains chills my back. The shadow of the wall stretches out towards me; down the talus and over the scrub and up the trunk of the cottonwood tree, each thing being put to bed in its turn. The junipers still tormented into grotesque shapes by drought, the raven still piercing the tranquil sunset with her vulgar call, Arches still brilliant and rubicund to the last light of the sun; and I’m back.

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