Quite simply, I breathed it into me and it breathed me into it. And I don't mean with lungs for either of us.
What makes Bryce such an example of this is that it's in process. The ground you stand on while you look out over the expanse of red rock, formed in a vast, creative array of shapes, that very ground is only awaiting its turn. Under the sand and trees are the same formations that will someday be exposed by time. While that beyond will be beaten down by the same time. Bryce is growing and shifting before our eyes.
To me, there is no explaining, though Farm Boss tried to put it in scientific terms, why places like Bryce exist one place but not another. Why the red rock is so unique in that corner of the world. Yes, rock formations are many places, but you don't see the same thing even two hundred miles from it and won't see it again the same anywhere in the United States. Similar maybe but not like Bryce, Canyonlands, Arches, Zion, Escalante, and the Grand Canyon. It's an embarrassment of riches all in one place.
So I was thinking about that sensation that I had visited a place with personality, a place that recognized I had been there, that had welcomed me, when we were driving though Redmond, Oregon, almost to Sisters (where we planned to spend the night). I watched the mountains as I always do when the Cascades come into view and noticed that on one of the snow covered peaks (dormant volcano), there appeared to be a pattern, a shape, a drawing. It was shockingly like the outline of a figure. I started photographing it as best I could from the moving vehicle. I had never seen anything like it.
When Farm Boss finally saw it (he was after all driving), he said it was like the drawing of a Kachina dancer. And he was right. That's exactly what it looked like. As the cloud shifted down over the mountain, it covered the head and became more like an eagle dancer with head down and wings out.
I thought it was an odd phenomena but figured it had to be the rugged rocky cliffs showing through the snow due to the lateness of the season. The next morning, with no clouds, I saw that it wasn't just the mountain that had formed that figure but the clouds as they lay in such a way as to make the drawing so strong that it could not be missed. In the morning the illusion was gone.
I think it came to tell me something that yes, it was and is real. The earth is real and it has personality. It has being. We should not only respect it but protect it. You can tell me it's nuts to think the earth has personality and spirit; but I know what I know and more than ever before in my life, I do know it.
Earth in all ways is alive and it is proud of itself. It likes it when we recognize its gift. I have never felt its reality so strongly as I did then and do today. Places like Bryce, if we let them, they can enrich our own spirit-- even on a trip as short as ours had to be.
For those who think this relates to a metaphysical religion or paganism, it really doesn't. It's an awareness of connection. Jesus said if people didn't say who he was, the rocks would. Some think we can ignore nature, ignore the earth and somehow go on as we have been. I believe the connection between us means that when things happen like in the Gulf, they impact us all. We may not recognize it immediately but eventually everyone will see the result.
Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible player. Albert Einstein
I could have enhanced this photo just a bit, tweaked it a little but it wasn't necessary.