Travel Photography Desert Southwest
I liked the Navajo people from my brief meetings, not because you are supposed to like Indians, but because they had that Midwestern joviality, and they were listeners, too, and seemed interested in other places and different people and liked to tell stories. When this Navajo lady tried to sell me jewelry with her knowledge of mysticism, I thought back about all those travel writers talking about Navajo spiritualism, and I couldn't help but get angry. I thought: They fell for the jewelry lady's bullshit. I crossed the Colorado on a grand bridge, and drove the way to Lee's Ferry; and hiked the confluence point of the Paria and the Colorado. Then I travelled on, to the Balancing Rocks, I hiked into a wide canyon, watching the vermillion cliffs shining in the afternoon light.
I heard a noise, like a droning city sound as I kneeled by a thicket of flowers. I looked up. In the absence of wind, it was the wingbeats of a raven echoing across the canyon. I continued along the Vermillion Cliffs, and drove up 6000 feet into the Kaibab Forest, overlooking the Grand Canyon and Bryce at the same time, and I hiked down a cliff, looking at cacti and Indian Paintbrush and gnarled pines. Soon, I was in Fredonia and at 5:30 the next morning, I was up and on my way to Zion Canyon, where I hiked the rocky mesas and plateaus after sunrise; traversing the lower portion of the checkerboard mesa, and into the canyon itself.
By evening, I was doing the last length of the 1348 miles and 29 hours of driving. It made no sense really; not my water temperature gauge or the 'Notes from the Road' or why my back wasn't sore. It was, at best, random, all this. People live out their lives, going about their tasks, and one day they may even have a moment of consciousness. Their brain shuts down - part of it - as a way to protect themselves against 'Melrose Place' at 9:00 PM and the alarm at 7:00 AM and the drone of the dishwasher, and their own misery and I knew that I was not mad. I drove into Manhattan Beach with its green grass, salt air, the smell of grilled food and the radio playing.