Canyonlands Journal
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Desert Conversations

I've been hiking in canyon country for two weeks. Recently it's gotten hot and today I seek relief from the scorching sun. Sheltering in a shaded alcove, I find several dwellings constructed of stone and mud by the early pueblo peoples.

No clouds today, with numerous jetliners passing over.

How would you have seen them, Ancient Ones – as noisy silver birds?

Living in this immense, unfilled landscape, could you imagine the crush of people, their bodies cramped between armrests, knees jammed against seats, the murmur of small talk, the stale air, their need to be somewhere else?

Such is our form of spiritual ceremony, driving or flying immense distances from place to place, trying to bridge the distances between family and friends, escaping the confines of our homes, jobs and cities, or returning to them.

My last conversation was with friends who left a week ago. Too soon, I’ll drive north to a crowded city. Not soon enough, I’ll see family and friends.

the crisscross
of contrails

Published in Contemporary Haibun Online, 2008.

Image: Granarys and Dwelling in an Alcove in Tuwa Canyon, Natural Bridges National Monument.

anasazi ruin