Canyonlands Pt. 2


At once all lights extinguished, no moon no stars, no trace of daybreak on the sky. I’m in the canyon without knowing how I got here, unsure if my eyes are open, straining them against the dark. The earth beneath my hands and feet is cool, at first. Still and heavy and lifeless in itself, until in time it becomes granular and I begin to feel the textures change as I move closer to the river, or into rock, or clay or the tracks of an animal. Able now to feel every grain under the arches of my feet, to see the colours, which all looked rust before. In the sun it all looked the same, miles and miles of orange rock. But it isn’t, there are ribbons of colour that I can feel with the tips of my fingers. There are galaxies living inside of it, and inside of me that are speaking to each other. I can hear now, the blood rushing in and out of my heart, animals tracing the riverbanks and slipping under the water around my feet. For a moment it is beautiful, astounding, and then crashing into heartbreak and a bone deep, agonizing exhaustion on top of me. I’m filled for a moment by images of you, a home I finally returned to, only to leave again, and again, and again. I want to lie down on the river bed and let it run over me, to take everything with it and drain my body of the love I carry around for you. Carry around like the promise of some sublime, eventual rest that I want more than anything to slip into now. I want to be asleep now, to wake up when it is light again and shapes of things are certain, and to not have to listen to the quiet language of the night in this canyon that never ends. I want you to find me, for once. Am I moving towards the dawn, or is it moving towards me?

For a while, I let the current take me. The sky is pitch black, but I know where the horizons are. Know where the rocks are, gliding beneath me. I’m unsure if I’m being carried towards you or away, as though the river is a circle and you are at both ends of it. The absolute gentleness of your heart strikes me for a moment; takes me down. There is a place I’m going to and a place you’re going, and neither of us can turn away.

Weeks pass in darkness. At times I almost forget, or imagine that I do. I dream of airports and stations and running against the tide. I grieve everything I’m leaving. I try to believe in God. I try to be good, and I give up. I allow snakes to run over my body, to lay their weight on me, to coil around my neck and then slide away and release the blood back into my throat. I walk high up on the banks, skipping from stone to stone. I feel my way along the riverbed. I push rocks off the banks and hope that they hurt something. I try to let go.

Sometimes I climb up to the highest peak I can find, standing above the river. And with my eyes wide open against the sky, I imagine the dawn rolling in over me.