Zion 03

I have lost them but I climb the canyon floor as it rises and the sand yields to rock and clouds sail around me, then beneath me. The clearing out to the white sky is intermittent. Less frequently the canyon floor materializes. I catch views to the opposite canyon wall where folks stumble up a trail that appears to be etched lightly onto the rock. The people look cut out of frayed cloth. Like me their akathisia is rooted in an unknown. I have tried to give it a body at least. He steps out of the trees into the sand dimpled by the swelling rainstorm. I stand at the edge of the trail with smooth shear rock glossed down to him.

The will to live is like the belief in vision. I believe it has been with me always, that I see even when my eyes are closed. I know that something else exists, a tendency, that something else can be obtained. In that sudden binary where always there is one and the other is its opposite, I feel the magnetism of the canyon floor. My brain liquid in my skull lurches forward as if to leap out on its own into the rain and cloud. This tendency reaches around and blinds the capacity to see life eternal, pulls me to the edge and evokes in me the crunch of my skull quickly and simultaneously eradicating him and the canyon and the sky into precious disparition. But it is a vacuum that is the conjecture of the living. It is a charade of death because the emptiness of death can’t be known to the living. My doctor would accuse me of professoring myself out of suicide, but overthinking often has its merits.

Now completely alive I wait back against the rock wall for them to climb to me. He looks up into the clouds vaguely winding about me and thickening across the knobby tops of the cliffs and it begins to rain more earnestly. Thunder or jet engine stalks the valley. He and his partner turn back, visible walking far down the valley, then disintegrated beneath Velvet Ash canopies.

He sat up late by the low stave fence with an unopened can of Black Label ogling a prone cow. Her head of curly hair swirled in ringlets from the damp. An enormous, brown, ill-proportioned spot ran up her neck and down her snout shy of the mouth. It was a blemish that would relegate any human woman to a shuttered apartment or at the very least some oddly plastered hairdo. She sat there peacefully as the dusk swelled. Rather often she would creak deeply and kick out her hind legs straight across the ground to what a cow might want for an ottoman. I sat within a break of stocky, black cypresses across the pasture. I slept there too.

The blinded horses were up to the fence in the morning. What they wore was more of a mesh mask that matched their coat. It bound them all at once into a single color, without feature, like a weathered statue. They stood near the spot where the paddock and pasture met at a ruined series of stave aisles and leaning pens that funneled beasts to a ramp. The vague wrecks and silver silhouettes had never been repaired after their initial improvisation. There is no memorial but decay for their final hooffalls.

The rain fell consistently. My guide, awakened and dried, looks into the sky and sees no rain against it. He looks then up the valley intently. I wanted to think he surveyed for me and might find me but I had recently roused in the cypress and remained darkened amidst them. He watched for something nonetheless as if the absence of stimulus had begun to trouble him now as much as the unavoidable gesticulating hands in the airplane. They talked, both looking up the valley, and now headed up into it again on foot.

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