We roll down thirty miles of sandy track and pull up in a cloud of dust at a trailer at the end of the road. There are no other vehicles here. The ranger inside is disinterested, gives us a permit, and we shoulder packs and walk off the edge into a canyon. We enter the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park in Utah. I soon appreciate its name. One of my two buddies said we should count the side canyons and coordinate that with the map so we won’t get lost. There are no defined trails here just sand and more sand and canyons of sandstone rising above us. Night falls and the stars are so bright I feel I could reach out and touch them. We awaken on the last day, coated in fine red dust, grizzled and bleary eyed. Only ten miles to go but I see my friend staring vacantly into an empty water bottle. Uh oh. Not good to run out of water here. Soon one foot falls languidly in front of the other and blurry heat waves fill my eyes. Finally a small pool of water is found in a sandstone depression. Is it safe or poisonous. Someone mumbles something about Edward Abbey and the water being good if there is life in it. I see a water skimmer and pronounce it good and suck it up through the filter pump. The warm fluid crosses parched lips and slides down. It has got to be enough.
the sun bears down
on a wilderness of sand
puddle full of life
Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to show the light source. The Who Quadrophenia Concert.
Can you see the real me?
painting by Suzanne
On the flanks of Annapurna a few candles cast flickering light into the early morning darkness of the teahouse creating undulating, mesmerizing shadows. The warmth from the kerosene heater is a welcome relief from the unheated bedroom. I warm my hands around a hot mug of tea and peer through a frosted pane into the dimly lit scene outside. Winter is approaching. Cold penetrated my down bag during a restless night on a hard bed. Although one could see from a distance that the mountain peaks were clad in snow I was surprised when the last half mile of trail leading here changed suddenly from gravel to snowpack. The day awakens slowly and the dimly illuminated landscape is partially revealed. Much remains hidden by fog reluctant to rise. The path is obscure. This is a hard day to greet but the time has come to continue the journey.
I leave warmth inside
disappearing in the fog
my feet find the way
For this post I chose one of two beautiful paintings by Suzanne of Artifacts and Fictions.
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This haibun is posted in response to this quote prompt: It is solved by walking-Algerian proverb
It’s a brilliant, blue sky, autumn day and the narrow path snakes before me. Recent events have evoked distant scars and that is why it is a particularly good day for a walk. Ponderosa pines sway in a fresh breeze, the trail punctuated by outcrops of granite boulders stacked upon each other in puzzles. Falling downhill the trail enters an unexpected riparian area sustained by Fireplace Spring. Stopping, I stare into the crystal clear water and lose myself for a moment, mesmerized. I think of many footsteps in many places, lost in the rhythm of walking, being here and nowhere else, and how it is that worries of past and future dissolve when each footstep holds me in the present moment.
one foot touches ground
then the other rises
the past falls away
my foot touches earth
a thousand perceptions
no room for worry
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Cee asked for one. One cactus.