We all travel the Milky Way together, trees and men . . . trees are travellers, in the ordinary sense. They make journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true: but our own little comings and goings are only little more than tree-wavings — many of them not so much. —JOHN MUIR
A wonderful few days hiking in Virginia this last summer with Paula and Deb. On the third day, we out-hiked the approaching thunderstorm on the mountain — instead of staying in the mosquito-infested, soon-to-be-rain-soaked campground. Good choice. —8.09
Orange and blue, then white
The day before the snow hit, we hiked and jogged through Spring Canyon just south of town: orange rock in a narrow winding canyon, and blue skies like a full bright wash of color above, as if painted perfectly. We walked up a slickrock slope and sat in an alcove and listened to ravens calling. The pines whispered with gusts of wind. The next day, the snow and sleet blew in, and we drove the seven miles up highway 14 to "mudslide" canyon and walked through fresh white snow on a quiet Sunday morning. The dogs ran wild. —12.06
I've been traveling across the deserts and plateaus of the southwest: from southern Utah down into Arizona and over into New Mexico. Camped at Bluewater State Park in New Mexico, on the east side of Gallup, and listened to kids playing at the reservoir and blasting old bad music from the 80s. Then I spent several days in Santa Fe and gave a presentation at the Institute of American Indian Arts. I left the IAIA Museum in the heart of Santa Fe changed, my view broadened. More than once I had the astonished sensation of feeling my heartbeat begin to quicken, my blood begin to flow a little bit faster, my legs cease to move as I encountered the art and design there. Sometimes the experience was a little less intense, a little more intense, but it happens, this happens: the art flows over you and into you. You stop. You take it in. And in the process, something changes.
There's something hypnotizing about the open road, the brown-red deserts rushing by at 80 MPH. It was 105 degrees in Arizona on the way back. The temperature plummeted to 60 degrees as I drove across the high plateaus of southern Utah, and at one point I yanked the car over and jumped out and ran up a rise to view the sunset. Goosebumps riddled my bare skin.
I moved from hurtling down highways to winding through aspen groves, from inspecting the uncertain confines of an Interstate restroom to watching for mule deer in the tall grass along highway 14. I zipped past Meteor City in Arizona, past the world's largest intact crater, just because I was tired of driving, tired of the whirl and spin and hum of the road. And I did not pick up the hitch-hikers along highway 89 as I rushed past in my air-conditioned comfort. (Days later, hitchhiking up highway 14, up the mountain — because Paula and I decided, in the middle of the sunny afternoon, to hike the long route down to the Spring Creek and move through the sculpted rock canyon — I regretted not picking up the Arizona hitchhikers. We needed a ride in Utah, and got it, and I had not set the stage.)
As I was floating down the mountains, then, wheeling down into Cedar City, in the dark night, a driver was too close on my tail, pushing me, but the music of Beth Orton and David Gray beat loudly in the car, and the cold wind rushed in and kept me awake, and it became magic, again, the travel, the movement, the darkness shifting past me.
I traveled 1500 miles in two long days, with the pinyon-dense smell of wildfires in the air always there, and my view ever-changing. I devoured caramels and drank Cokes to stay present and alert.
In the end, it seems, I was cheating. To pass so many plateaus and pueblos, to pass small towns and churches and schools and fields and mountains at such an incredible speed — it seems the time was real, but half-real, or half-experienced.
I've been traveling. More to the point, though: I've been moving. Time to slow down and see. —7.06
Dreaming of unearthly lands
I was pushing a little too hard, trying to force a few design projects before the trip to the Grand Canyon. I had been working on a large typographic print that was fighting me. The more I tried, the more the design suffered. I almost did not go backpacking. I almost said I had too much work to do: a bad sign when the everpresent pull of work gets the better hand over the possibility of clearing the head in a world-renowned land. Now, weeks later, on this stunningly bright afternoon after a long week . . . read more and view pics.
We've been here a year, and love it, and want to know more about this place and the people, our neighbors. We're scratching the surface.
Travels in time . . . we keep getting older, the past is there behind us, always at our heels, breathing hard, chasing us down, and the future is an uncertain mix of hoped-for ideals and hard realities.
Henry left boxes and boxes of maps from his uncle Modley. Some maps are 50 years old and so pristine. Travels in the Alps, in California, all over the West, with notes written on them. We will frame several. They are wondrous pieces of graphic design, of moments caught in time. We found pictures and postcards that were buried at the bottom of the boxes. They smelled of history and adventure. A map from just 10 years ago does not show the Escalante National Monument in Utah. A guide from 30 years ago for Zion National Park talks more about horse-riding than walking.
We are all travelers, in a sense, moving down the arc of time. And I believe more firmly every day that if you do not take time to see new places, talk to new people, move to new towns and see life from a new perspective, you are not traveling.
There are those who see the sights, and those who spend time getting to know a place. I want to know these places. —7.05