I’m staying in a small cabin at the edge of a sun-baked canyon. The days start early and get hot quickly. Just before dusk, the light strikes the canyon walls in a way that throws the rocks into sharp relief, providing a depth that is lost during the heat of the day.
It’s also surprisingly windy. I learned that this wind is caused by something called the Venturi Effect - a constriction in the canyon walls which forces the air to move faster. This has the side effect of depositing particles from the local Navajo cliffs into magnificent sand dunes of a remarkable consistency. I’m reminded of Arrakis and the adaptations that species must make to survive in a climate like this.
The Earth feels old here. Our cabin is surrounded by tribes that have lived in this area for thousands of years. The Acoma, Havasupai, Apache, Paiute, Navajo, and Utes (after which Utah was named) are just a few of the distinct cultures that make up this slice of America.
I’ve been spending my days reading, working, and conversing with the locals. There is one man in particular who shares the plot of land that we’re calling home. He told me the meaning behind the rock formations that the Natives call hoodoos.
Here are his words:
If you are kind
When you die
The Great Creator
Will use the wind and the rain
To imprint a memory of you into the rocks
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