Archives for May 2004

Something in the Mountains

In the heart of the mountains, I hear pines singing and admire waves of grass pushing and pulling in meadows. Heavy clouds wield themselves against blue space. At meadow edges, forest gates stand dark where slender pines grow side by side.

I enter a quiet thicket where sunshine sifts through dense branches to touch an organic floor. The woods go on for miles, creeping.

There’s something very queer about high mountainous areas, or plateaus where aspen rattle; where young pines grow among dead ones. I can barely sort out their rotten, crumbling shapes. It is a cemetary.

Laying down on mossy soil, my mind crawls though mysteries. I hear the footsteps of a Sasquatch and the deep breathing in his chest. What a dream! I believe in this creature. Maybe he?s a friendly shadow in sync with earth’s quietness?

Things exist that we cannot see. I’ve spent my lifetime wandering the Southwest and I’ve heard the unusual noises whispering on windy days, or perhaps it was my hallucinogenic imagination?

I’m careful not holler with fear when alone in the mountains, faraway from roads ‘n trails. Deer, squirrels, and chipmunks visit my campsites. Maybe some day the mystery will find me alone. I fear unknown things. Often I wonder if it’s a fear of cougars, bears, and mentally-ill coyotes? Something is spying on me in the deep. The trees have eyes.

To Dad: Thanks for making me aware of the tempest inside.

Northwest of Page, Arizona

This cold desert drowns in rain. The heat wave vanished, as clouds come strolling in over the Paria desert, just northwest of Page, Arizona. Water pelts the ground, breaking up the hard dirt. Thunder gallops across the vista, and the wind wails. Lightning flings its arms. In a pinion tree, sits a raven waiting with his head bobbed down. He’s dangling like a Christmas ornament. Water droplets fall from his folded wings, and from his dark tail feathers.

Under an alcove, I wait out the storm. Long ago, ancient Puebloans were hunting and gathering beneath these skies. I could just imagine them traversing up flashflood washes, where white caliche grows on rocks and tree branches, along Cottonwood strewn riverbanks that flow from sandstone canyons.

The raven ruffles his feathers, then flies from the pinion, landing on the ground 10-15 yards away. The little fellow just stands looking at me. Maybe he wants something to eat? I say nothing at all.

His shiny feather coat is perfect. Everything is black. His long beak stays closed and humble. By sage brush and wavy grasses, he rests. Letting the windy valley around, swallow him. Soon he squats, and bows his head falling asleep like a chicken at roost.

The desert is warm colored; dark red sandstone, deep purple clay, orange-pink cliffs, and yellow-tan mesas. The raven is surrounded by all these colors. Together they communicate the deepest message to my heart, that the beauty of this land is forever magnificent and rugged.

Old-Fashioned Heart

I drive out of this small town early on a spring morning, and off into the wilderness. Heading down dirt roads on tires worn thin, they stir dust into clouds. Going 50 miles per hour across purple sage valleys, I’m headed for a mountain range of low rising foothills.

The road itself doesn’t intrude much. Southern Utah is a piece of the old west, where the brown foothills contrast sharply with blue sky. It is quiet, except for the distant rumbling of commercial jet airplanes, or a few cawing ravens.

Living in silence, I have an old-fashioned heart that yearns for the dying past. It is dying because humans are forgetting from whence they came. They are building new technologies and claiming to be evermore advanced. Soon they’ll be claiming to control the weather, and will have every spot of earth under their footsteps.

When that sun falls every night, I cannot stop looking into the crimson colors, knowing that one more day shrivels away. As we head into a future of uncertainty, what will we face?

I feel like a monster possessed with evils
that I cannot escape.

I’m stuck with my vehicle, a necessary evil,
four wheels to carry me across the barren planes.

I am a mass of thoughts
and dreams chasing forgotten things,
a recluse always in those mountains,
always feeling brave and alone.

The atmosphere is teeming with nomadic clouds.
I want to move with passion.

The earth owns my aching, ascetic core.

I’ve been broken and pulverized.
Still, I want to remain undeceived.
I want to resist modern-life
and day-dream.