There is a river in Utah that flows its dozens of twisty, muddy miles south into Arizona where it dumps into the Colorado. On its way it cuts through a canyon that I have come to know as intimately as I’ve found possible given the distance between where the canyon lays and where I live. I am going there again soon. This will be my fourteenth year there. I am a visitor to the Paria Canyon. I never remain for more than a hefty handful of days. The number of days sufficient to send me back home aching with content.
This time of year it’s quite cold in the desert. At night I bundle into a down-filled bag. I dream under stars. During meals I get sand in my food. During each day I carry provisions on my back, and I carry questions. I walk through the river bed and along its banks. I get grit in my soul, sufficient grit to make the questions I carry less slippery.
Desert picnics. Frigid fingers. Starry skies. Careful steps. Wonderful wanderings.
That’s where I’ll be next week. That’s what I’ll be doing. That’s how I’ll be being.
Then back here where I am now. Back home where there is a river that tumbles past nearby neighborhoods on its way to the bay. Back home where I strive for a different variety of intimacy. Back to the rhythms of home that are more regular but perhaps no less wild, perhaps no more familiar when glimpsed through the ache of content. Even here I grit my soul and bear my burdens by day. I lay them down to take my meals and take my rest. At night I bundle and let my dreams hover. I rise again tomorrow and make my way.