Monday, June 27, 2011

How to explain? (Why bother? Delicious mystery, delightful understanding.)

After a month -- four weeks, five, then six, -- I still wasn't happy in Colorado. The scrub oak was too scrubby, the snow too slushy, the skies so dull, too dull, the park too passionlessly picturesque. I tried making friends with the deer and the grouse, tried finding flowers and bones, nothing. Tried hiking along the canyon's rim, tried hiking to the bottom and back up again, down up, along around across, nothing. Tried taking pictures, writing stories, singing, skipping, dreaming, nothing. The river rushed and burbled on by the canyon into which it had cut.

I gave up, resigned myself to the fact that I'd made a bad decision, didn't belong here, should have stayed on the open plains.

Then one day, late evening, late May. Heavy clouds filled the sky; the earth was brown, brown and grey and dead. It was cold, windy, still adamantly spring. I slipped out for another walk, desperate to see the sun set, the rain fall, the ravens swoop, something, anything. I stumbled blindly down the trail -- a trail I'd already hiked dozens of times, no longer bothered seeing -- down through the scrub oak, along the rim, past the juniper, past the overlooks, past the visitor center, down down, until I couldn't anymore. Couldn't keep going. Sat.

Sat on a rock. The closest rock. A set of boulders, gneiss. Two billion years old, give or take a few millenia.

"Finally found my rock," I realized, "Every place has a rock or tree or stretch of sand that makes something inside you say 'oh.' Then you sit and think and watch little wrens trace grand circles between the canyon walls. And you know you will visit your rock or tree or beach again tomorrow."

So I have.

I don't know how to explain it, but just like that, I fell in love with the place.