Archives for February 2007

Shouting to River Runners

Peace is in the canyon in clouds passing over massive sandstone and limestone ledges. All is quiet, far from city noise. The deep waters of the Rio Colorado fill the inner gorge as ravens plane the blue sky catching thermals of late winter air. Cloud and cliff shadows mix. In the next few hours private river runners will come around the bend and reach mile marker 187. We will shout hello to them and wave frantically. They’ll raise their oars and shout back, then continue their fourteen day journey to the bottom of the canyon to Lake Mead. I love Listening to the river rapids and feel lucky in this subliminal moment. The canyon never grows old or familiar. Being here every day has been one of my greatest blessings.

Surviving In a World of Suffering

I know what hides from most human beings and its realm is the vast wilderness. Humans have been separating themselves from the experiences of their ancestors. Most of them no longer retain even a hint of their original life ways. We have all lost track of why we are on this planet, which is our mother. Now, we have become so entangled by our own culture of mass consumption. We have forgotten our responsibility to the earth, and our relationship with the rest of creation. We have been cutting off this connection for very long time now, for hundreds of years, which will lead to grave consequences in the end. We cannot conquer nature, we only can subdue it for a short time, but no matter what we try to conquer and destroy, we are only doing it to ourselves. It will lead our own demise. Maybe there will be a few that find solace in the next life, or a passage to escape this dreadful event. I’m not trying to just talk here, I feel this way deep down. This isn’t a a prediction; its common sense. We are developing massive weapons that are only meant to destroy, kill, and exterminate. They leave wounds that cannot be healed. We are digging into sacred mountains, into holy places, and putting our feet where they don’t belong. This type of abuse cannot go on forever.

It is peaceful to work in the Grand Canyon, to be cut-off from the rest of the world in a place where I don’t have to hear bad news, of people dying over in Iraq, of terrible storms and tempests, of disease and terrorism. In a way, I am escaping those problems. I am running away from them. Most of us feel pretty cut-off and insignificant in a world that billions of people inhabit. It is an enormous and infinite place, and I’m living in it for only a very short while.

The mountains, the desert, the vastness of the wilderness quenches this awful loneliness. For me, Life is too short and fragile to waste doing trivial things other then what I love. Maybe it is selfish to exist in a world where so much suffering and misery exists, when I choose to dwell in hills of eternal rest, where time has no meaning. I’m not necessarily ignoring the pain and suffering, I am trying to escape it. A lot of us are survivors, just waiting for some type of end to draw near. We wait, and enjoy life the best way we know how.

To me, the most important things in this world are life, land, family, and my relationship to creation. The Grand Canyon has given me so much beauty. There’s nothing more powerful then standing on the edge of a massive abyss of canyons and plateaus that seem to swallow up everything else. When it’s one human being standing on the edge of eternity, you start to listen to the rest of the universe. In this realm, there is no pain and suffering. Just intense peace and solitude.

There are things that cannot be explained, hiding in the deepest wilds. Go to those places and experience them as often as possible. The more you venture into the unknown, the more experiences you will have. You’ll start to understand what happened long ago. There was a time when life was much more simple, unsophisticated, and there wasn’t so much suffering. There are cultures that existed for thousands of years that withstood the test of time, that outlived western civilization, and such. Human beings are complex, but if we weren’t so confused, life would be easier for all of us.

So I try to untangle myself. I watch the humming bird, the road runner, and the rattle snake, and I realize their importance in the desert. These creatures also seem very happy. It’s worthwhile to see how they live and survive out there. Each animal in the Grand Canyon has its own way of surviving and finding peace in such a wasteland. Most of the year, water is nearly non existent. the Grand Canyon averages about eight inches of rainfall a year. Yet a large variety of plant and animal life has managed to thrive. This is what I call happiness. Each and every creature plays a part in this. There are many, many relationships between many organisms. One could learn a lot from just mimicking certain habits and survival patterns of these beings. It’s all in an area, where time doesn’t exist, where the sun is constantly shining in a quiet existence. It is a place where the wind howls and moans and continues to carve the painted wastelands and sandstone canyons of the Grand Canyon. It will still be there, long after the period of humans.

Slow Moving Storm

Buzzing power lines cut the wind
The wind howls and moans as darkness grows.
Winter pushes spring feelings away,
And brings dark cloud ships
that hug mountains,
shrouding them in eerie mist.
Fog enters the desert basin.
Mule Deer gather in cottonwood groves.
Flakes of snow start to invade.
The sun’s heat has faded.
The storm moves slow.
By morning, theres eighteen inches of
Fresh powder and growing.