Winter Rim

The colors have withdrawn themselves.  The off-white of bone hangs from gray limbs, undulating like torn spider silk on bitter winds.   Riled by the wind, clumps of spongy snow burden the evergreens.  I hike the Rim Trail along the Grand Canyon, from Maricopa Point to Mohave Point.  I encounter no one.  The usual quiet is sewn in and doubled by the insulating snow.  Only three croaks from an unseen raven and the roar of the shuttle buses on Hermits Road pierce through.

To the south, a sun break coalesces.  A blue sky-eye leads the light shaft down to red buttes, iced in white.  Thunder knocks from towering storm makers, but the snow blanket shushes even thunder, rendering it fuzzy and half-hearted.  The clouds parade down the canyon slipstream like ships in a river regatta.  Merciless wind drives bitter snow up cliff faces.  The whole place is a steamy caldera.   Mid-canyon mounts rise from the mist like belfries.  The South Rim Trail is buried in white bliss, so all I have to guide me are the footprints of predecessors.

At times, I’m right against the drop off.  I peer down a half-mile or more, only a stubby juniper and the smoky snow clouds between me and the drainage at the bottom.  What a shot!  How I wish I could expand this awareness into every other moment in my life.


On my return from Mohave Point, the wind had raked the snow over any trace of even my own footprints.

©2014 by Michael C. Just