Desert Chant: Reflections on Wilderness Grand Staircase Escalante Part II

DSC_0324 Some of the things I feel and think about the desert return to me over and over again. A desert mantra, maybe.

From the moment I arrive to the moment I leave I never cease to want to take it with me somehow. I don’t understand exactly how this works psychologically or physiologically or why I feel it so strongly. What makes you want to take landscape, skyscape, rock color, tree buds, flower blooms, blazing stars and hold it to you? Put it inside your chest? It feels as though the beauty is so raw, so deep, so filling, that if I could somehow contain it— take it with me— maybe I would never be empty again.

No technology, no technology, no technology.

In the same moment, I realize that another thing I love about wildness is juxtaposed directly opposite to that “take it with me” desire. The fact that we have managed to preserve (and up to this point keep) a fair amount of vast, open, uninhibited spaces for humans to venture “off the beaten path” whether relatively so or sometimes completely is another one of my desert mantras. Wide and airy and clean and open and unadulterated. So much space. So much beauty. It boggles and soothes me. Keep it that way.

No technology, no technology, no technology.

No technology, or very little, because we did use our phones as cameras. But I count that as a capture, a memory, a breath. Not constant interface. The singular reminder that we are all wanderers is a persistent part of the desert chant. All wandering. All lost. All seeking. All hoping. The desert reminds me of how fragile I am. How mortal. How sustained by the great pyramid Loren Eisley described. And sometimes I don’t know whether it brings peace or fear. I am reminded about how small I am.

No technology, no technology, no technology.

I am reminded of the Greater, the Creator, the Sculptor, the Crafter, the Master. The Grand Design. I am reminded that I should hold my ears more and listen inside of me. Not to the spew, churn, and tumult of all that surrounds me. I should listen to the beauty that surrounds me, teaching me that God is in the details. I should listen to me. To that thread of conscience from the Divine.

No technology, no technology, no technology.

Conscious deep breaths. Breaths allowing me to connect with the audacious colors of the sand, rock, and sky. Breaths seeking to hold in the goodness for another moment. Breaths clearing my head and readying my eyes for the vistas, the views– the scuttling lizard, the claret-cup cactus, the aubergine petrified wood, the desert bar berry bush, the someday arch, the desert firedot, the rocky mountain juniper, the emerald rivoli’s hummingbird, the rainbow gradient sands– the memory of being young and vibrant and unstoppable. Grounding, renewing, refreshing, giving me strength. Strength to return to the city, the town, the village, the civilization I have chosen.

No technology, no technology, no technology.

It’s not best to look behind as I leave, but forward. Life calls me on, away. I cannot stay forever, not this time. I feel the comfortable grit of desert days on my skin. Hair standing on end, eyes light with all they have seen, I tell myself I will be back again. Again and again. The van turns North toward home. Some things will come with me. Some things will always be different now. I am changed every time– better. Desert chant.

XX, Megan DSC_0326 DSC_0339 DSC_0333 DSC_0348 DSC_0365 DSC_0420 DSC_0379 DSC_0430 DSC_0439

4 thoughts on “Desert Chant: Reflections on Wilderness Grand Staircase Escalante Part II

  1. So true and beautiful. My feet, hands, face, soul longs to feel that desert air. Miss it and you! Thanks for the beautiful image, words and life you bring to this page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My beautiful friend, THANK YOU! I think of you often when I am there. Of your stories of that land. Tortoise sightings, and tents swept away by flash-floods, and coyotes calling in the dark night around an unplanned fire after an unplanned flat tire! 😀 You are truly a desert girl. Always have been, always will be! I hope we can sojurn there together again skmetime. ❤️


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