From a bivouac of dirt, necklaced by fragments of Kaibab limestone, winds roar like jets, never stop blowing. 40 miles west by southwest, Mount Trumbull and the Uinkareets rest on the straight horizon line of the North Rim. The wind strafes everything, twitters every branch and limb, driving the flies and bees alee. Talus slopes of island mesas carpeted green with oak brush and cliffrose in bloom. The inner chasm winds its serpentine channel, tabling the broad Esplanade north and the Tonto Platform south into cliffs that form the final rim of the inner gorge.
From the Esplanade and the Tonto, plains spread in all directions. Every surface green, yet all topology red as well. Cloud shadows stain scarps and buttes near black with a temporary varnish.
Concave cones in the loose dirt, far out on the headland of Locust Point, form perfect circles. They mark the traps of ant lions. I try coaxing one out from its lair but they’re either gone or not fooled by the twig. I can’t summon up another soul for days, ant lion or human. Only myself and the ferocity of gusts that shape a dead juniper trunk into a boney filigree which blends to the limestone broken at its base.
And all that God is in Its desolation breaks hard across the cliffs, fills Its breaking heart with dervishes of dark soil spit in my eyes, sings through the endless stands of ponderosa across the side canyon like a cataract of wind 50 miles wide. The sage and pinion, the oak brush and Mormon tea, the fiery claret cup in bloom beside the paintbrush and dandelion, surround me at the tip of the headland. I rest here at this Point – sometimes inspired, at other times bored or thinking of the nine plus mile slog back to camp, as the wind pays me no real heed.
Is Love as intense and uncompromising as the wind?
I let go! I let go! I cry, but the wind does not cease.
Then, in a softer mien, I let go. But the blasts kept on. Surrender must be utter, or it is not surrender.
Dust from the thousand mile winds filter the sun a blood orange, and I can look at it head on as it descends to the tops of the northern Uinkareets. The jaws of the mountains devour its bleeding face. How quickly the disk of the sun becomes a yellow sliver, treading just above the summit. Then the rich gloaming sears as the sun gives its blood to the earth. Each day goes the way of night, and each day dies its own death. Crags and spires dissolve into the light, their soft shapes golden and unified with sky and shadow. The world all one thing.
The mountains disappear into sky, sky into light. Every precipice in the canyon the gentle bend of a goliath’s knee. Ridgelines stacked in selfsame platforms that merge with the fog of dust. A vague and dreamy gulf dissipates in its final orison into the ocean from which it calved.
All is dust and all is darkness. And the scour of the wind drives its whip all night, finding its way into the corners my dreams.
© 2014 by Michael C. Just