Grand Canyon

Being in the Grand Canyon and trying to take a picture, or afterward seeing professional photographers’ work or artists’ renderings; no matter how beautiful or breathtaking these renderings are they never capture the experience of sitting with this Grand teacher.

As I sat on on outcropping off the trail leading down to the Esplanade, I pondered on this. “How do I share what you are with those who have not seen you, been with you, in you?”

Raven arrives and rides the thermals like a child running through wind. Wind arrives, strong enough to jostle my stability and spark a fear of tumbling over the 1500 ft drop to the esplanade below. AncientSeabedSand crumbles under my fingers and slips quietly down the slope. Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush whisper in the wind and call me to run my fingers through their stiff locks that shine iridescently in the noon sun. And me, sitting awake, alert, aware, sensing through every pore of my being and non-being.

“I cannot be captured in a moment of photography or a memory of an artist, because I am ever-changing time and space and I am not Grand without the play of Raven, the strength of Wind, the loaminess of AncientSeabedSand, the whispering light of Sagebrush and Rabbitbrush and the ones who sit, awake, alert, aware and sensing. Without all of these and the infinitely constant unfolding in the silveriness of the moon and goldenness of the sun, the blue-blackness of the open sky and the turquoiseness of the river, the ancientness of the rimstone and the unearthing of the new sediments, the earthness and the skyness and the spaceness; without these I am not Canyon, Grand or otherwise. And each of these are not each of these without Grand Canyon.”

“I see”, I said, bowing deeply as Grand Canyon, Raven, Wind, Sand, Brush, Sky, River, Sun, Moon, Earth, Space. “I am not me without all of you.” 

360 From the outcropping
Looking down Deer Creek

Over the edge toward the Esplanade.
Looking Southwest following the Colorado River

The Desert

The desert offers you nothing

and demands everything in return.

The delusory appearance of lifelessness

empties out the senses 

in their longing for affirmation of purpose.

“What good am I if there is nothing to see?”

“What will I do if there is nothing to feel?”

“What will i judge if there is nothing to smell?”

“Where will I find joy if there is nothing to taste?”

“What will I think if there is nothing to hear?”

And then a deathening quiet.





Raven floats over gurgling

or were they laughing?

Wind rumbles like a distant train

before forcing ancient dust 

down your agape mouth.

the sky drones 

and the stones sing

the sages illuminate

and the cacti practice.

Suddenly the empty nothingness that the desert first offered

is luminous with the infinite





Just as you reach out to grasp the offering

The desert wind roars ungently through

the ebony, moonless, star-painted, shadow laden night,

scattering stability and haveness

wringing out the mind of any possession

and dashing new realizations on the sandy wash.

Stumbling into the orange and tourquoise dawn 

the first despondent thought is 

“I have lost everything.”

Raven floats over gurgling

or were they laughing? 
Wind rumbles…