Tag Archives: Recapture Canyon

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

The Trap, Part Three by Patricia K

Stone and junipers in Recapture Canyon. Photo by Saul Karamesines.  Click image for larger view.

Part One here.  Part Two here.

I wasn’t enraged, like a trapped coyote, because I hadn’t been really trapped, but I felt plenty angry as I put the Danger Tree behind me.  What a dumb trick, I thought, quite possibly one that could have ignited more trouble.  And yes, probably, it had been intended for BLM personnel.  That being the case, I was glad I’d triggered the gadget instead of a BLM officer, who might have not only taken its message more seriously but also regarded it as a threat, especially in the wake of the of local agones in which the BLM had played either black hat or white hat roles (sometimes both), depending on the angle from which you viewed their actions.  After the 2009  artifact raid, they’d pulled some of their rangers out of back country recreational areas for their safety. The mood of San Juan County residents simmering at the high heat it was, authorities harbored concerns that more radical elements might express outrage over Dr. Redd’s tragic loss and arrests of friends and relatives through violence rather than by the traditional outlets of Fourth of July anti-environmentalist floats, ATV activism and rallies, and the usual long, rambling letters to the editor that typically publish in local newspapers. Continue reading The Trap, Part Three by Patricia K

The Trap, Part Two by Patricia K.

Beaver Dams on Recapture Wash.  Photo by Saul Karamesines. Click on photo for larger view.

Part One here.

As my mind made sense of the scene, I said something like, “You’ve got to be kidding!” or (don’t laugh) “I’ll be doggoned!”  Words along those lines.  I took quick stock of my condition: unhurt, and no other sound suggested more surprises to come.  The trap was a light affair, probably capable of doing a rabbit or perhaps a fox some harm but nearly toothless against the rigid leather upper and hard rubber sole of my hiking shoe.  Yet the sight of my foot caught in an animal trap inspired twinges of shock and panic.  I am proud to say that I held those in check. After studying the situation, I pushed on the trap with my free left foot.  The device popped off easily and dropped into the dust.  I glared at the contraption, feeling an upwelling of anger. Continue reading The Trap, Part Two by Patricia K.

The Trap, Part One by Patricia K

Recapture Canyon in Autumn2 by Saul Karamesines

Crossfire Canyon is my name for Recapture Canyon, a canyon in SE Utah that has flared up into one of the many hotspots for the debate over public lands use and access.  I moved into Recapture’s vicinity at the end of 2005 and have been present for most of the drama that has unfolded. Some of my next door neighbors have been involved, and because I spend a lot of time in the canyon, I have at times been presumed to be involved.  Recapture’s nearness to my home and easy access has made it  increasingly important to me as “home ground,” even if, at times, it’s not a very peaceful place to roam.

Friday, January 13th, 2012. I hiked out of Crossfire after a pleasant winter stroll through the canyon. Noon had barely passed but the day looked much older.  Even though the solstice had begun turning up the light three weeks earlier, in the canyon, daylight still passed stubbed off at both ends.  By noon, the low-flying sun made it nearly to the canyon’s west rim, and by one o’clock, five o’clock shadows began darkening the western cliff faces.

On the final upward stretch where the cliff of a small side canyon pinches the trail against a rocky rise, I paused to consider my options.  At one of the trail’s narrow points stood a Utah juniper hosting a small video camera aimed across the trail. I wrote about finding this camera and about my reaction to it here.  Since discovering the camera just before Christmas I’d begun walking behind it to avoid having my image collected without my consent. Continue reading The Trap, Part One by Patricia K

Death of an old dog, part five, by Patricia

I meet a young couple in the canyon. A dog in their company tells me more about them than they guess. I see a piñon pine tree alight with fall sunshine. As I exit the canyon, I discover a prying eye. This is another long and the last installment in this series but it isn’t the end of the story.

For late November, Crossfire Creek was running high.  Usually, a few flash floods in October knock things around a bit, then bone-dry air siphons the water off into the sky, leaving the creek bed bare except where beavers have gardened two springs to create a year-round water park half a mile long.  As I stood on the bank above a pond contained behind one of the lower dams, I turned to see a young couple I didn’t know walking toward me down the trail, my neighbor’s Welsh corgi, “Goliath,” loping ahead.  November weather in the Four Corners region sometimes runs to the mild side.  The couple wore short-sleeved shirts and were holding hands as they strolled.  Seeing the dog, I supposed the pair to be relatives of my neighbors whose house lay east of mine across a city block’s worth of pasture.  I greeted them and Goliath. Continue reading Death of an old dog, part five, by Patricia

Death of an old dog, part four, by Patricia

Aquila chrysaetos closeup by Richard_Bartz

In which I make my way into Crossfire Canyon and meet a wondrous bird.  I muse upon the experience of eye contact with other species, referencing N. Scott Momaday and Martin Buber.  I see the light, loose and free in the canyon–it’s beautiful. Part one here, part two here, part three here.

As I worked my way down the trail, I discovered that my right knee was finally healing from a months-long bout with tendonitis and perhaps nerve damage.  As recently as two weeks earlier I hadn’t been able to raise that leg very high, so I tripped frequently over stones in the trail or fell on my backside on that more difficult-to-negotiate rock outcrop down which I had to lower myself to get where I wanted to go.  But this time, no trips, no falls.  Still worried that I was inviting further trouble, I forced myself down the trail. As I walked onto an overlook I frequent to see what’s happening in the canyon below–whether or not cows are lounging on the trail, for instance–something fine happened. Continue reading Death of an old dog, part four, by Patricia