Canyon Country. I’ve been trying to come up with words to describe this wonderful place, so far I’ve fallen pretty flat. Maybe there aren’t enough words to describe this place, besides the cliche ones like remoteness, barren, deserted, beautiful, harsh.
I came here for adventure, which I surely got. I came here to learn to slow down, which I think has started to happen. I came here to escape ‘civilization’ in the sense to go sit somewhere with no cell service, no people, no running water and I sure found it. Honestly, I’m not one to get very philosophical with things, especially life. But that might have been the biggest lesson from the desert, to just simply sit back and think about everything that’s going on. I’m still not sure how I ever got so lucky to be living out of a van, taking photos, meeting new and old friends. I’m truly living the dream. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me ‘oh good for you’ or ‘do it while you’re young’ or ‘I wish I was able to do that’ about this journey I’m on, things would be so much easier, and I wouldn’t be so worried about the rapid decrease in my bank account! Not only are those words reassuring me of the craziness that has been this winter, but this is how life should be. Simple.
Everything about this journey has been spur of the moment, something else I’ve had to overcome (as I need some sort of schedule otherwise my brain goes crazy). I quit my job randomly one afternoon, I went wherever I pleased day after day, sometimes I’d hike mountains, sometimes I’d simply read my book and relax all day. AH Freedom.
For the last week I called Zion home. So much so that one morning a Ranger came knocking on my door just to make sure I wasn’t camping out in the Visitor Center, and even some Rangers started recognizing me once I would enter the park. I had a free campsite about 20 minutes down the road in some dirt parking lot, it was quiet and remote and had a little creek flowing through it. Home. Like my previous post I’m sure you can tell I’m a big fan of Zion. It’s probably second on my list only to Alaska in places I’d like to be. Part of me wanted to find a part time job, maybe meet a cute girl (hey we can dream right?) and hang out for a month or so until work started up in April. But yesterday I left. It was sad, I could’ve stayed there for much longer but I didn’t. Why? I’m not entirely sure. What I can gather from my thoughts is that why completely spoil a place? Why not leave, enjoy it from afar, from the photos I’ve taken and the memories made. It’s not going anywhere, it’ll be there this time next year and year after year.
I just finished reading ‘Desert Solitare’ by Edward Abbey, the quintessential Desert-man. The last paragraph goes like this ‘ The desert will be there in the Spring. And then comes another thought. When I return will it be the same? Will I be the same? Will anything ever be quite the same again? If I return.’ Don’t you love it when the book ends and you kind of just sit there wondering what the hell just happened?! Sure the desert will be the same, maybe a little less water in the river next year, maybe a few more people, but generally unchanged. Will I be the same? No. Maybe. Something’s happened in these places, something has changed. I came here for adventure and left with far far more than I ever would’ve expected. Not only has there been a heightened search for adventure but a broader outlook on life. This is where I want to be, this is what I wanted to be doing. And you know what, I’m doing it. And boy am I happy. And maybe that’s what it all comes down to, finding a way to make yourself happy. Sure it isn’t the hardest of things but there’s gotta be more than one way to do it. Photography has been my preferred choice the past 4.5 years, it still very much so is. But what I’ve found lately, so is meeting new people, sitting down and reading a new book, and so is doing nothing.
It’s still hard to put into words what the Desert has done for me, but something just feels different. I’m fulfilled. It won’t be the last time I visit, since there is more than a lifetime of things to see and do and places to sit around and simply do nothing at all. So now I’m off to Alaska, the day after Valentines Day(it’s gonna be cold…). I know what I’m in search of; my friends, mountains, the bears moose eagles. And I’m sure we’ll see it just a bit brighter after time spent under this Desert Sun.