W H I S P E R S. . . OF AN ESCALANTE CANYON
I will teach you of my immensely complex ecosystem which survives (and thrives) as much through cooperation as competition. I will teach you of the value of biodiversity, the rewards of interspecies collaboration, the management of complexity, and the maintenance of checks and balances that keep my ecosystem balanced and vibrant. Learn here my ways of harmony and serenity. I invite you to meditate in solitude.
I am a mere groove in the earth, formed over millennia through the effects of glaciation, volcanism, seismic disturbance, wind, flood, drought, heat, and cold. Oceans rise and recede to fill and empty me. These cycles, patterns, and rhythms will eventually dissipate, for nothing is eternal but eternity itself. My walls are neither infinite nor eternal: they will erode into irrelevance long after the last microbe and creation myth have perished. For the remainder of my existence I will gain depth. Though I am inorganic, I am alive. My elements came from beyond the farthest galaxies countless billions of years ago, to slide and drift with this tectonic plate long before the evolution of life.
Beginning your exploration on hard, flat caprock of the Kaipairowitz Plateau, find one of my origins – a dry wash facing east. I whisper an invitation for you to descend and share my secrets. Sandstone walls grow higher as you climb down the arid edges of the ghosts of waterfalls. Using all limbs, you chimney down into the shade of my banded, undulating walls. You continue to freeclimb down carefully, following the watercourse of now-dry gorges. My winding mazes are sculpted each spring by tons of turbulent, sandy rainwater and snowmelt, surging and roaring to the Escalante River.
In cool shadow, slowly recline, rest, and drift with my magic. See my muted colors, accented textures, and perforated, beveled curves of smooth, sand-polished rock. In damp clay are tiny, tough cottonwood seedlings, fragrant, happy flowers, and several cougar paw prints. Far above, beyond massive overhanging walls and a narrow opening, is a brilliant cobalt sky. Sense my soft, unlikely symphony: the occasional distant collisions of bighorn rams; the music of a sparkling, clear stream over multicolored pebbles; the hiss of falling water in a sunlit gorge; echoes of eagles and jays; a dialogue of distant coyotes; light, calming breezes through juniper and grasses.
Welcome to the harmony of my soul. Take with you my wisdom and serenity, and share these with the world.
-–Will Walsh ©2017