Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Desert: Water

Canyonlands National Park

Recalling my spiritual love affair with the desert this week has prompted me to share another awakening that was also realized among the holy hoodoos of the Four Corner States.

 I drink a lot of water.
This is me at sunset in Bryce Canyon National Park

Me in Death Valley National Park at the "badlands"
 I am that person who carries my nalgene everywhere. At this point it really has become my most prized accessory as it compliments any outfit I put on.

I had only one stress as a camper in the desert- water. You have to be incredibly careful about your water intake. In fact, when the sun is high and the dessert haze becomes a billowing mirage, Parks and Rec recommend drinking one liter of water per person, per hour.

The Needles of Canyonlands

 I was fighting off the urge to obsess over water for a majority of our time in the desert. When we came across a sink or a spout at a stop or a campsite, I'd run over and fill our nalgenes, camel backs, platypuses and anything that could hold liquid...just in case...

The Southern entrance of Canyonlands National Park

Death Valley National Park
 The more time we spent in desert, the more I began to pick up on the milenia of geological history available at the park museums.

Perhaps most people know this, but I was fascinated by the fact that the deserts of our country were once oceans. 

They were ancient oceans, turned mammoth lakes, turned Triassic era swamplands, turned rivers, turned creeks, turned puddles, turned desert.

Once I realized this, all I could see was water. The desert actually tells the story of water! 

As a girl who spent the better part of her childhood trying to become a mermaid, I can picture exactly what the underwater world would look like and it was staring me in the face. Suddenly in this land where water was absent, I found myself under the sea and awash with nautical revelations.

Before I visited the desert, I had the perception that it would be a sad place that told the story of devastation. In my limited understanding of the world, there can be no life without the presence of water and if there are no rushing rivers then there just isn't any life! 

Bryce Canyon National Park
If my mental interpretations could zoom out like a google map, then you would would be able to visualize what was happening to my perspective.

  Here, the canyons and walls echoed stories of lives long lived before mine. The cracks and curves of these sediment formations whispered the truth that I needed to plant in my heart; "You are part of a very old system." 

Standing on the bottom of a dried up ocean, feeling the waves of history, creation and spiritual life nearly drown me alive with new realities about my own exsistance, I felt comforted.

In this water-world we are part of a cycle that we cannot stop and we cannot control. Oceans will swell and oceans will dry up and it has been doing this for a long, long time. How wonderful to be a tiny drop in this great big sea of transformation.