Meditations in the National Parks comes from my learning in nature. Inspired by contemplative spirituality, I’ve meditated and taken notes in the parks. This series is the formation of those meditations. All words and photographs are my own.
It is summer as we leave Denver.
It is winter as we pass the western Colorado mountains.
Summer returns through Utah. It remains as we enter Nevada, but only at moments defined by space.
Great Basin transcends seasons. The hot, desert Nevada air surrounds us. We sweat as we hike. As we go higher, the temperatures cool. Layers are placed over our thin shirts for this temporary warmth.
At night at our camp, temperatures drop to freezing. We bundle up yet again after warmth of dinner and drinks around the campfire. Our campsite would be entirely silent but for a roaring river next to us, rushing with water from snowmelt. Snow is still visible on the mountain immediately viewable from our tents. Will it remain there all summer, protected by the higher altitude? Or will it soon take the form of sound rushing next to our camp?
Normalcy eludes Great Basin. It is a conglomerate of everything, taking the jewels of each season and forming this beautiful ring around the area. The four days we inhabit Great Basin are an entire year. Stillness and movement coexist. Silence and thunder are partners. The ease of these relationships is my delight.
I, too, am in transition. I am alone after having partnership. Where peace once lived, restlessness abounds. There is no fluidity in my soul like there is from the snowy mountaintop to the icy, raging river in the Basin. Can there be? The source of peace is missing, but its shadow remains. Does that mean it is still real? Is water still snow? The substance is still essential; the form has been altered.
I leave Great Basin the same way I entered — in transition. Great Basin has taught me that is enough. That is the essence of the Basin, and it flourishes. So too can I. Embrace.