Hopping from rock to rock above cliff face, I stumble. The wind blows me back from the edge of the earth. It isn’t time to die yet, he whispers to me through dead trees and dry scrub brush and crevasses. All around me are edges edges edges of the earth and even sitting on water-pocked stone behind dead juniper trees I feel like I could fall at any moment.
Couples with big cameras clutch at bucket hats that threaten to blow away and wobble nervously, feet unsure beneath them.
I wonder what it's like to feel so off balance. I remember that moments ago I nearly fell hundreds of feet straight down to a nearly-dry rocky riverbed. I grin at my own arrogance and step back into humility.
The sun is bright and warm but you wouldn’t know it for squinting against the dust flying and cold air coming up the canyon walls.
I’m exhausted. Emotionally hungover from the richness of experience. I drank too much desert sky. Too much firelight, sunset, sunrise. Too much vastness and my body slows with the weight of the majesty of the immediate memory.
I don’t believe that the planet means to drive me to my knees, but here I am leaning against a column of stone struggling to stand and struggling even more to write down what I have seen and felt.
Last night I put out the embers of my fire and crawled into my sleeping bag under the Milky Way smeared across a moonless sky.
I woke up this morning warm and happy in the back of my little red wilderwagon with the Abajo mountains (or the Blues, a little handful of the Rockies) in view to the north and the canyonlands to the south.
I made coffee in the peach honey desert sunrise and tried not to get blown over by the wind coming up the cliffs.
I drove west singing at the top of my lungs with a mischievous and grateful smile past mesas punching up through red dust and scrub brush.
Rock reefs groaned skyward and I'm pretty sure if titans ever walked this earth, this is where they lived.
Red clay faded to gray and the stone climbed higher still, threaded with bloodstains over yellow-leaved trees lining muddy riverbanks.
Petroglyphs telling wordless stories reminded me of the way we try to leave our mark through silver screens.
This land is a playground - grand and shifting under the great blue sky.
Staring at the rust red faces of yet another national park, I got curious about my convictions that I am as much a part of the Earth as She is a part of me, and the implications of that as my Truth.
I still feel the fear of falling tight-fingered hooked behind my solar plexus but I don't care - I was born to roam the Wild West.
I'm dusty and tired and nervous-excited and sure beyond shadow of a doubt that this is only the beginning.
La Que Sabe, La Loba, ella me lo dijo.