On Highway 64 just west of Cameron, AZ. To the south, the sun wrestles through mixed skies to highlight again the everlasting beacons, the San Francisco Peaks. To the north, storm-darkened escarpments brood a monolithic blue. On both sides of the highway, the land dissolves into a Martian jumble of orange and pink, rust and gold. Corroded mounds of bleached badland surrender in steps to cliffs rosetted like a leopard’s back with sun and cloud. The world descends into a writhing war between shadow and light.
I stop at the Little Colorado River Gorge, which wends a deep, constricting chasm, side-winding its way toward its union with the Colorado. In their serpentine copulation, the Grand Canyon is born. But that’s a matter farther west. I sit on wind-scoured rock, perched over the Gorge, which creeps north under my dangling feet. Luminosity undulates with darkness to dapple the twisting Gorge and the buttes trapped within its jealous, narrow embrace. The storm looms in the north, stalking, spitting fire beyond the Gorge. It takes the sky, clad in dark, yet electric lace. It is doom encroaching, far off but certain.
The cliffs beyond the Gorge, stacked like a crooked staircase, bow beneath a wet fury, at the mercy of a procession of thunderheads which in the distance, flay the iron backs of mountains. And gusts gather with the ancient wail, shrieking through nearby juniper and pinion. The land, unyielding bone. The sky rolls and pulses. Soon, rains pound the Gorge, left tearful and gleaming. The downpour wears away another skin of the stone, grinding it to till.
Assign to a god the violence of the storm. It is Destroyer and Death. It is Creator and Life. But here, too, in darkness and in light, is the co-creator reflected. I am no idle watcher. Who paints the lens of the eye which sees the storm coming? Who endows the mindless wind with rapacious fury? And who whips up the torrent and injects it into his nightmare like a dark drug, hypnotizing himself into believing violence roves out there. I turn my dream inside out and cast off suspicion. I am the storm. I am that whose back the storm melts slow.
© 2014 by Michael C. Just