Sunday, May 26, 2013

Arches National Park

The following was taken from The Human Landscape in "Arches; Where Rock Meets Sky" by Nicky Leach. This well expresses my feelings about being out in nature:

"Studies in Canyonlands have recorded an acoustic level one notch above that found in a soundproof recording studio. Ambient sound levels and crowds in national parks have increased to such a degree that the National Park Service now manages silence and solitude as a resource. Canyon Country's silence is truly rare, one of its greatest resources. Caught up in the busy-ness of civilization, perhaps we don't notice noise pollution anymore or the effect that our expanding global population has on our nerves. Airplanes buzz across the Grand Canyon. Idling vehicles sit at overlooks. Larger numbers of hikers on popular trails means more talk and socializing. Campgrounds have the look, as my friend Jeff commented, of refugee camps, which perhaps they are, as we increasingly flee our stressful urban lives.
Even the shortest hikes outdoors can strip away the armor of culture and lay us bare to ourselves. We begin to speak in the language of the heart, not the mind. There is a fellowship in nature that is lacking in our man-made environments, which, for all our ingenuity, are limited by a human view of the world. For me, true diversity embraces other life forms as well as different cultures and requires a reciprocity we still seem unable to envision. I doubt that nature minds, but I sense that it is we who are diminished.

A small hawk flies directly in front of me, oblivious to my presence. A cottontail bolts from behind a rock and disappears into a clump of dark-gray skeletal blackbrush. Stink beetles crawl slowly across sand, then disappear into holes in the ground. There is a rustling in a stately old juniper, the ear-splitting squawk of a jay, then silence. To the northwest are jointed cliffs that have been weathered into odd fins. They are tilted at almost a 45-degree angle. I marvel that they can stay upright at all. Like so many other features in the park, the redrocks seem choreographed to geological perfection, graceful, soaring, bending, leaping. Everything seems to be in motion, sliding out of view in a long slow freefall."

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