Beneath The Surface: The Greater Canyonlands
The enormous expanse of Utah desert in that lies between Moab and Hanksville is THE most spectacular canyon country in the West. Possibly the world. After having traveled throughout the deserts of California, Arizona, and Nevada, I can now say that with total conviction. Though all spectacular in their own right, there is simply nothing like the Greater Canyonlands of Utah. It is truly God’s country.
There are very few people here. Major cities are at least five hours away and tourism tends to center around Moab and Arches National Park. The rest is mostly empty. And here I am. Camped close to the Angel trailhead. The jump-off point for exploring the canyons around the Dirty Devil River WSA. My canyon, Robbers Roost, which lies somewhere out there over the rim, a thousand feet below, will be my home for the next four or five days.
Solo is a time for reflection. Time to reboot. To step away from the “real world” as I know it and spend some time with God. It’s a time to stop talking, stop thinking, and listen, really listen to the wisdom of source. It’s a time for gratitude. For this life. My family. My friends. This planet. It’s a time for healing. Both spiritual and physical. It’s a time to simply walk, breathe deeply, and immerse myself in deep blissful silence. Sure, it takes a few days for the mind chatter to stop. But it always does. Always at the perfect time.
Solo trips are where remember who I am. That I’m much more than this body. This face. This name. That there is more to life than all these little details in my mind. That in the end, all these details will fall away. And what will be left is this pure silence. This pure light. The same light I see in the eye of a lizard, the eye of a child, the cry of a raven, the rocks and the plants, the lakes and the streams, the sun, the moon, the clouds, and the stars. We’re all in this together. There is no separateness in the end. No me, you, rock, bird, tree. All of this I forget. Over and over again I forget this truth. But the desert is patient. She reminds me again and again about the beauty. The beauty of all of existence.
We’ve all had this experience at some point in our lives. Whether in a church or a monastery, high on a mountain top, or gazing into a baby’s eye. That experience when we stop thinking, even if just for a minute, and we suddenly know, absolutely know something to be true that we cannot put words to. It is only then that we know truth. Because when we try to put words to it. Try to label it in some way, we are back to thinking again. The moment is lost. Knowing that truth is enough. It’s enough just to know. Not try to turn it into something. Some “thing”, which it is not.
For me, this is my church. The Greater Canyonlands of central Utah. A place that resonates deeply with truth. Tomorrow, I will travel deep beneath the surface of the Earth. To seek truth once again. . .