Tag Archives: Fremont cottonwoods

Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt. 1) by Patricia Karamesines

Crossfire in the Fall

What a mystery is the air, what an enigma to these human senses! [T]he air is the most pervasive presence I can name, enveloping, embracing, and caressing me both inside and out, moving in ripples along my skin, flowing between my fingers, swirling around my arms and thighs, rolling in eddies along the roof of my mouth, slipping ceaselessly thought the throat and trachea to fill the lungs, to feed my blood, my heart, my self. I cannot act, cannot speak, cannot think a single thought without the participation of this fluid element. I am immersed in its depths as surely as fish are immersed in the sea. 

David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous

Part One of a three-part post.

August 24, 2013. When I head out today for Crossfire Canyon, I step into a world in motion. Currents of surface wind, smooth in texture, cool to the touch, flood out of the south, curling around every solid body be it person, fencepost, or stone, leaning into every curve in the terrain. Weeds and spindly desert sunflowers undulate in it. As I pass my neighbor’s orchard, waves of wind sound in the apple and pear trees’ leaves, oceanic in temperament, noising like breakers crushing themselves against sand.

Here on White Mesa, the character of the desert air ranges widely from spring’s sandpaper winds that rattle windows and flake shingles off roofs, to the sudden dust-ups of sand spouts or dust devils, to dead still, the odd hour where the air’s quiescence reminds me of a motionless pool deposited in a stream bed after a flash flood has rumbled through. Today’s wind surges without half smothering me. I’ve walked into mesa blasts that grapple with me for my breath. This wind is respiration friendly. Continue reading Field Notes #12: Who Has Seen the Wind? (Pt. 1) by Patricia Karamesines

Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Five

Parts one, two, three, and four.

The mid-sized Ancestral Puebloan site sitting up on that “erosional layer of lower strata” (love that phrase) of Crossfire’s east cliffs is one of my favorites because of the serene view it offers down-canyon.  From what I’ve seen of that portion of Crossfire, including about a mile or so of what lies below the “No Drive Zone,” the farther south the canyon runs the wider it opens out and the higher the cliffs soar above its floor.  This Pueblo II-Pueblo III site’s impressive field of view takes in several of the canyon’s other ruins, including the first site across canyon that the archaeologist and I visited and, possibly, the tower. An ATV trail, badly eroded now as its illegality has come clear and nobody wants to risk keeping it up, crosses this site and runs onto the mesa east of Crossfire.  Sometimes I climb just above the ruin and sit on a flat rock jutting from the canyon wall out of which the trail was carved.  It’s nice up there, the size of the place intimates itself more deeply, and I feel the canyon’s inclusiveness fold me in. Continue reading Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice 2010, Part Five

Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three

Part One here.  Part Two here.

The rain that earlier diluted a few thoughts in my journal failed to commit, but the overcast thickened. Light making it through the clouds fell flatly. Trees in the juniper forest through which we walked cast no shade that could be distinguished from cloud shadow. Below us on the creek’s banks, Fremont cottonwoods had lost most of their heart-shaped scales to autumn winds. Remaining leaves flapped on their stems, working free from the trees’ upper stories, winging back to their roots.  With the loss of the cottonwoods’ stands of verdure and the stalks of most of the other plants gone to straw, Crossfire’s green flames burned very low, deep inside the trees and in the ashes of the canyon’s seed-time. “Grey” was the word for the day. I guessed temperatures were hovering around 38 degrees, but high humidity accompanying the storm front whetted the chill.  The archaeologist is a light, slim man.  He wore no gloves and not much of a coat.  He remarked that he felt cold. Continue reading Field Notes #11: Winter Solstice, Part Three