Feelin’ Swell at San Rafael: Desert Photos & Haiku


In my last post I told the story of my time in Chiang Mai, detailing all the minor miracles that defined my journey out there and how it led me to where I am today…the state of Utah. I recently read an incredible new scientific paper on quantum dynamics and their relationship to information (message me if you’d like to learn more); one of the things that never fails to quiet my mind with reverence is this idea of a superposition of *all* possible states that prefaces any moment, a monstrosity which is whittled down into one eventuality by a given sequence of events.  I bring this up because this is how I continue to look at my presence in Utah: a far-flung probability activated into occurrence by improbable events.

Now that the weather is finally warming up, I get to  enjoy the many outdoor wonders of Utah that I’ve been tantalizingly hearing about this entire winter. Yesterday my girlfriend Jenifer and her mother Sue introduced me to The San Rafael Swell, home to what’s known as The Little Grand Canyon as well as the stunning pictographs at Buckhorn Wash, left by cultures indigenous to the area as far back as 2,000 years ago. For someone from the southeastern United States like me, walking around in such a place is akin to being on a different planet…the mammoth canyons are dry, red and carved to precision by the ghostly rivers of elapsing time, and looking at the varied pictographs/petroglyphs on the towering rock walls, which seem to depict big-horn sheep and powerful earth spirits all at once, one can’t help but wonder how this sprawling, arid landscape was experienced by those ancient inhabitants so long ago.

Thanks to my iPhone I was able to capture some decent shots–the air was crystal-clear and the weather couldn’t have been more balmy for a late February afternoon. In honor of the upcoming release of my first collection of haiku, Haiku by the Hour-Glass, I’ve composed some verbal snapshots here to accompany the visual ones. Enjoy!



Chiseled precisely

To bewitch the human eye

Desert masterpiece




Below my feet: air

Fingers struggle for a grip

Hanging by a thread




As though made in sand

By fingers meandering

The tide never came 





Canyoneers still flock

To see stories in sandstone

That yet slowly change





This was their canvas

Rocks and hands, their great brushes

No “Share” link needed





This desert morning

The sheep’s horns arced like rainbows

As he sought a mate 




Who, really, can say: 

Looming spectres in their dreams, 

Or a greater story? 





Around the night fire

Shadows stretched long on the wall

As the stars shimmered





A path in the sky

Offered by the ancestors

As we look around 

To learn more about San Rafael Swell, the Buckhorn Wash and its incredible petroglyphs, check out the Wikipedia page here.

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