Is love at first sight possible with places? Or does the love come with time and
experience? The first day of being within your walls I asked myself–is this an affair or love? The
way I feel about this place, this landscape, the red rocks that seem larger than life. Am I just
feeling the excitement from a new adventure or will this feeling last long after I have left this
The first few nights put me to the test: biting cold and unforgiving wind. Yet even as I lay
in my tent with all my layers piled onto my body, yearning for my hands to be within the warmth
of my sleeping bag, I wrote. I wrote of the rainbow of rocks found beneath our feet in the washes
as we walk. I wrote of the otherworldly echo of laughter reverberating through the canyon. Of
the brightly colored lichens growing on slickrock, creating collages of orange, blue, grey, and
green. Of the red rock that lined our hikes in fantastic and impossible shapes formed by wind and
water–the ultimate sculptors. The bobcat tracks perfectly preserved by sand enable us to imagine
what might have happened there. There is a story to be told by looking at tracks, to see
interactions that have already come to pass: a glimpse into the past. Reading tracks is not only
storytelling, it is time travel.
As the weather grew warmer, I continued to record. Bats and swifts dart and dance above,
together yet separate. A choreography that nobody else knows. Ravens fall through the air,
entangled, a twisting and tumbling ball of black feathers, beak, and claws. Entwined so tightly it
was difficult to tell where one ended and the next began. They open their wings and catch
themselves impossibly just before disappearing behind a cliff, leaving two feathers drifting gently on the wind as the only proof they were ever there. Cougar tracks leave me speechless and
in awe with the knowledge that we walk among lions.
This landscape is a constant reminder that we are small, both in size and in time.
Dinosaur tracks and petroglyphs remind me to ground myself, slot canyons both humble and
embolden me, the stars and moon put me in my place. The immense power of this land presses
into me with every step, every gust of wind. It is exhilarating and frightening, both at once. So
maybe it is love: exhilarating, frightening, immense, powerful.
On our first day of hiking, I saw an indentation in the rock which formed a sand filled
heart. The image has stuck with me. At the time I wondered if that signified an affair or love, but
now upon reflection it seems clear. It is this place that has a heart, this land that is living and
breathing and feeling. I feel privileged to make its acquaintance. I hope one day we can call each