Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Utah Escape

The four of us, a family alone in the desert, wander up the slot canyon to the Double O Arch in Arches National Park in Utah. Andy carries Quincy in a backpack. She squeals with delight, ugg booted legs swinging with his every step. I hold Siri's hand and carry the camera. I want to remember this moment forever.

Andy tells Siri about Terry Tempest Williams and her caution that “everything is prickly” in the desert. He tells Siri that to him the desert is like a book that we can crack open and read. Siri takes this in, looking around at this world we've entered, her blue eyes shining against a blue sky. Then she stops to gather some wildflowers beside the path.

I feel as if we breathe for the first time all day. The dry heat works its magic on a shoulder that’s been aching for days, Andy’s chest pain goes away--- all around us, the red rock is so vivid against the deep blue sky. The day slips away quickly. Golden light slips up higher, higher up the arches we pass and the canyon grows darker.

Siri starts to get cold. We hustle back. This is the other side of traveling in the backcountry, we whisper to our girls. This is the fable tucked in the back of the story. Spectacular beauty, spectacular days must always be backed by spectacular caution. Without it though, we wouldn’t find the natural world so precious.

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