New Mexico, check. Arizona, check. Utah, so much to explore. Amy and I spent our last few days at a small seed saving farm called Seeds Trust. Their website is http://www.seedstrust.com/ where you can learn about all the different varieties of high altitude and desert seeds. They’re all really wonderful people who I’m very grateful to for giving us a warm place to stay during the rainy days.
After Amy departed my friend Craig arrived. We drove south to Tucson and camped near Saguaro National Park so he could have a chance to experience warm weather before heading north. Despite the locals complaining it was the coldest temperature they’ve had in years, we enjoyed above freezing nights.
The coyotes howl at night and birds wake me in the morning. We hiked to Wasson Peak in the afternoon so the sun was setting as we came down lighting the hills with bright blue sky above. The saguaro cacti can weigh up to 7 tons and begin growing another arm after 75 years. Being surrounded by plants that are much older than me feels humbling. They have been in that same space for over a hundred years. I have been bouncing around for only 23 years (as of Feb. 1).
Speechless, I stood on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Tears formed and my eyes stung. My feet felt heavy. The chatter of other tourists dissipated. Are you sure this isn’t just a backdrop for a movie? The pastel colors and snow covered pines looked like a painting. My brain couldn’t process the depth and distance. I closed my eyes and let the tears run down my face. I wipe them with my gloves to prevent freezing. Before opening them I imagined being anywhere but there, but there I was towering above the steepest drop off.
Edward Abbey writes in Desert Solitaire, “Standing there, gaping at this monstrous and inhuman spectacle of rock and cloud and sky and space, I feel a ridiculous greed and possessiveness come over me. I want to know it all, possess it all, embrace the entire scene intimately, deeply, totally…”
When Craig read this out loud in the car on our way to Moab, I immediately could relate. I notice whenever I arrive at a new place, I feel this greed, excitement, and rush to do it all, see everything, and get to know the place. Unfortunately, covering so much distance doesn’t allow more than a few days anywhere. I can’t really get to “know a place.” That’s not what this trip it about, I’ve realized. And I’m coming to terms with this. My home in Mass is the place I am most connected to, not Arches or Canyonlands.
Yesterday morning I watched the sun poke out of the fog and rise up over a tall red rock. Snow covered the ground and the top of Mt. Lasal was hidden beneath the clouds. I meditated on living in the present. Letting go of all negative thoughts and appreciating being outside of the car finally. No loud car motors humming or helicopters charging through the canyons. Just me and the bright sun, amber rock, and crisp air.