By Maryanna Gabriel
"..the most weird, wonderful, magical place on earth—there is nothing else like it anywhere."
- Edward Abbey
- Edward Abbey
I didn't really get it. The warden at the park entrance to Canyonlands was saying he had never seen a woman go in alone before at this time of year. What was the deal? Camper, woman, park, so? Even although it was November, the weather was warm and I was enjoying wearing a dress with bare legs and sandals. Coming from a Canadian gulf island I was moved by the vastness of the red earth and turquoise sky and it was with pleasurable anticipation that I made my way into the park. I was unprepared.
I felt like a dust mite in an infinite universe. There was nobody. I was alone. The feeling of space which I usually appreciate, coming from where I do, somehow felt intimidating. Such a canvas. Such sculpture. The colours. Oi. For some reason I thought about the arctic
and the landscape there versus what I was seeing so much further south and contrasted them, as if the same hand was playing with similar elements and media only with the desert temperatures thrown in. I had the freedom to drive anywhere I wanted. It seemed wrong. The park is over 1,300 square kilometers and the ecosystem is fragile. It takes hundreds of years to form an inch of earth. I made my way towards a tree and set up camp curling my mind around it for solace. I had beans. It seemed like the right thing to do. I may have sung on my guitar. I do not remember. I was reading a most amazing short story by Edward Abbey about a boy caught in a flash flood in an arroyo, riding a log like a leaf. I was unnerved. I may complain from time to time about not having a view but when I got this one I felt like I would pass out. Despite my tree, I did not overly linger. It was with some relief I drove out and headed towards Colorado.
|...feeling like a dust mite...|
|Huddling up to a tree in a vast space.|