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May 5 in the City

May 7, 2011

Chase L. Photograph by Jacob B.

I woke up on May 5, my twenty fourth birthday, in the City of Rocks. I had planned to be up for the sunrise, but I lost that prize to the comfort of my sleeping bag.

Sam A. Photograph by Jacob B.

I walked over ground that had very recently been covered in snow. I avoided stepping on fragile plants and cacti to avoid hurting them and me and then climbed on to this granite house. It was sandy and rough and looked untraveled. Big enough to warrant standing on, and small enough to climb in sandals, I hung my feet over the edge. Three different songbirds were calling, plus a raven and a pigeon. If Jack G. had been here he would have told me the species and genus for every bird we heard, but he wasn’t here and I couldn’t even guess at those names. In my granite seat the City of Rocks surrounded me on all sides and held my attention in a box. Alien rock hovered hundreds of feet above juniper and sagebrush. Jack would have known the scientific names of those plants too.

Each of those rocks was literally from another world. A different world in a different time when this matter was underground and pressed and twisted and molded. And then that rock arrived here, in my time, as an alien from a subterranean home-world. When I woke up to urinate the night before, Sam pointed out that we were closer to the Milky Way than we had ever been before. I tried to explain to him that we are aliens to the entire rest of the universe and that we would travel between those alien worlds if we could, but we can’t, so we climb on the scary granite rocks instead. But I was mostly asleep and the idea wasn’t that coherent anyway.

Photograph by Sam A.

Xanthoria parietina. Photograph by Sam A.

Chase L. Photograph by Jacob B.

The sun burned my skin by luring me in to a sense of safety with perfect temperatures all day. Later, Kirsten talked the cooks at the Rock City restaurant in to making me a cake out of a chocolate muffin and frosting. It would have been delicious on any normal day, but it was extra-delicious as the sun set over our full day of climbing in that alien City. Happy Birthday.

Sam A. and Kirsten N. Photograph by Jacob B.

Chase L. and Sam A. Photograph by Jacob B.

Chase L. Photograph by Jacob B.

Sam A. and I. Photograph by Sam A.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Makaela Herran permalink
    March 22, 2012 8:34 pm

    your blog makes me want to climb

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