I failed miserably at plans to draw and journal the entire road trip from Monterey, California to the Grand Canyon and back. Instead I surrendered to long hours of speeding through Mojave Desert highways and the altered state of contemplation that it stimulated.
Jewel turned 40, and sang to songs like “Omaha” or we listened to the latest news drama in American Politics.
It is forgotten in the mainstream, how mostly desert California is.
The skies continuously bubbled up different clouds and animated red rocks or Joshua Trees, then endless landscapes of aspen and pine, the altitude tickled the ears. When it rained it was warm, in our tents we laid in sleeping bags in the middle of the afternoon absorbing the second lightning storm of the desert monsoon passing, vibrating through the ground and making our hair stand up, for three hours admiring what the earth must have sounded like when the Grand Canyon was still the Colorado Plateau. At night, the carols of a pack of coyotes and how it echoed! The shooting stars and big dipper, flashes of faraway lightning in a silver cloud over the black abyss of the night canyon, more austere in the darkness.
The blatant, shameless exploitation and appropriation of Navajo culture is everywhere inside Arizona (at least the small part we traveled), even gas stations sell pink bedazzled medicine bags, feathered headdresses so out of context it was heartbreaking to navigate in search of public restrooms. People from all over the world traipse casually with selfie sticks without a respect for the mile drop below, without reverence to the centuries of ceremony it took a people to know front and back the symbols and colors decorating your Urban Outfitters t-shirt.
Hidden in everything: the bizarre pioneer worship, the deceptions of Kit Carson, the decaying hotel signs outliving their lost meanings; copper saloon ceilings, turquoise weighted white folks.
Atavistic memory incised into the warm lines of the canyon that the eye can see and more so what it cannot see. The earth might be so much smarter than us. The sky definitely is.
In the theme of admiring space and time: