Breathe.

July 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

“Against the burnt stone and wind-rippled sand dunes, the oxblood-red walls of the Entrada Formation with their Tyrian purple shadows, turquoise is a jolt.  It is irrefutable proof of the heart to beauty.  The intensely articulated blue seems, like desert light itself, beyond all wealth, even when you know that to breathe light, the sweetest scent, the finest taste, is simply enough.” – Ellen Meloy

 

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Colorado River

http://www.wildernessinquiry.org/destinations/index.php?dest=grandcanyon

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“From simple bits of rock arise metaphor, mystical properties and marvelous virtues – or the sheer pleasure of ornament.  Sometimes the reason for ornament falls away to memory, belief is honed to a simpler faith…” – Ellen Meloy

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Cross-bedding in sandstone Colorado Plateau

http://www.gemland.com/sedona/sandstone.htm

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“In its home deserts, in the American Southwest and the Middle East, turquoise  is an amulet of the wanderer; it is the carrier of culture and myth.  It is not a burden in a land so spare and open you give up early on any hope of restraint.  The people who wear it most handsomely are the native peoples who consider it holy – not preachy holy, like the taste of a spring hidden in acres and acres of flat-out, bone-dry rock and sand.” – Ellen Meloy

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Colorado Plateau map

http://cpluhna.nau.edu/Places/places.htm

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“The ridge runs from a crumpled mountain range in southern Utah to the Arizona desert, jumping a river along the way.  It is an elongated, asymmetrical reef of Mesozoic sandstone with a face and a flank, two sides so different you think that you are somewhere else when you are in the same place.  The face rises brick-red from a broad wash, nearly vertical but for askirt of boulders along its talus.  The flank is the crazy side: an abruptly sloped flexure of ancient rock beds tilted upward into the jagged crest.  Most ofthe massive slab is Navajo Sandstone, the Colorado Plateau’s famously voluptuous field of windblown sand dunes now consolidated into nearly pure quartz crystals.  Against the steel-blue sky of a summer monsoon, the ridge bleaches to white.  Moonlight blues it, and bright sun turns it a pale cream….” – Ellen Meloy

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Lake Powell and Coal Burning Plant

http://geotripper.blogspot.com/2012/06/accretionary-wedge-36-how-does-life.html

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Turquoise is not a common material, but everywhere it is found, there are signs, back to times history can scarcely reach, that people have extracted it from the ground and taken its beauty for themselves.  It comes from an arid, dusty, stripped-down, skinned earth places.  It occurs almost exclusively in the geography of asceticism, in broken lands of bare rock and infrequent green. Set against the palette of desolation, a piece of turquoise is like a hole open to the sky.”   – Ellen Meloy

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Ancient riverbed floor preserved as curved ridge

http://www.psi.edu/press/archive/20060831_sagan_fellowships/sagan_fellowships.html

* * *

“Surrounding me is a desert West as true as a secret, sacred, sun-kissed place in a remote canyon, the cosmic navel, stripped-down-to-God, buffed spirituality West, where the coyotes howl and the desolate emptiness is stuffed to the mesa tops with meaning. ”  – Ellen Meloy

* * *

Paria River near Lees Ferry

http://esp.cr.usgs.gov/info/sw/scpalluvial/

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“Like maps, geographical focal points pull together land, sky and human experience.  They are stills of a journey.  What if the maze was journey?  What if, after death, your soul had to travel across the desert, much like the treks of your lifetime, and you had to know the way or be lost and forever thirsty?” – Ellen Meloy

* * *

Grand_Canyon_PlateauPoint

http://geode.colorado.edu/~jallaz/index.php?page=pictures&tab=CH

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“The maze’s silence begs for narrative.  Legends ease their way across its strangeness, shaped by quirk and desire.  Humans long for connection and continuity, for insight into the past endeavors of their species that ultimately affirm their own lives, whether by empathy or by contrast.  For postmodern empiricists, foggy indeterminacy won’t do.  Knowledge must be tidy with meaning, the mysteries solved, the experiences beneath the dust carefully measured.  When we forage for stories, we may end up telling our own.  When we cannot possess the thoughts of past cultures, we possess their things.” – Ellen Meloy

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Paria River comes into Colorado River

http://geotripper.blogspot.com/

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“Someone said if you want to understand an unfamiliar piece of the American West you look at the fences.  Fences punctuated the mass trespass of native America.  Fences carve out the individual from the communal, they announce, depending on your point of view, what is kept in or what is kept out.  As a desert dweller, I believe that water is the truer entry to Place.  In the West, aridity defines us.” – Ellen Meloy

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