Alive in the Desert

Our guide says that the north rim of the canyon
is a thousand feet higher than here—
though here seems quite high enough to me.
Eighteen miles wide and a mile deep.

Steep walls rise and fall in more colors than I can count.
The horizontal fountain of the Colorado River
reflects a brilliant blue sky as it surges by
and through the rapids—bright ripples of white
voicing thunder that fades
within the deepest folds of aged stone.

I turn away from that to study
tiny yellow flowers flaring in the midst
of stubby branches and rubber leaves,
rings of lichen in a dozen colors on a smooth boulder,
mushroom-like sprouts of sporing moss
stemming their caps up from the browning sponge.

Among a small group of strangers,
I stand at the edge of a ledge
shaped by eons of wind and water.

I marvel at a million minute things,
the vastness and the nearness of all that has been made,
shaped by forces and ways beyond our comprehension,
and know that regardless of size or texture,
no matter how tiny or soft or smooth,
nothing that survives here
is delicate.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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