Saturday, September 06, 2008

Westering 20: Encounters with Mesa Arch
Sacred Wisdom of the Geologic Kind, Canyonlands

Yesterday, at Arches, I must have seen twenty or more arches, natural sandstone arches, arches shaped by geologic forces and the weather. Each arch was distinctive and each arch was striking in its own way. And everyone loves Delicate Arch; it’s practically iconic.

But I was a fan of Sand Dune Arch, possibly because of its setting. One has to walk between narrow walls in welcome shade above a sloping dune of deep red sand before confronting the simple arch, that, to me, resembled a woodpecker digging in the sandstone bark of a sandstone tree.

But the most stunning arch is here in Canyonlands. I really wasn’t expecting this. I had walked here on the nature trail while reading the guide brochure and looking at the yucca, pinon, blackbrush, mormon tea and juniper growing in in the cryptobiotic crust. And then I came to this: a long low Navajo sandstone arch framing a vista of miles and miles of Utah hoodoo landscape. Canyons and mesas and buttes, oh my!

It’s like a crash course in spirituality. There I am walking in the dream of my existence, a desert world of flat duality, and suddenly I’m presented with this mystical understanding of the spirit world. The normal landscape of the mind becomes an energetic one of sandstone waves against a field of sky.

Standing here, one’s own conditioning soon erodes, and all that then remains is this existent arc of what I am.

~Son Rivers 2008

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