Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


I'm in Moab, Utah, a place I would never have gone to on my own...and it is spectacular.  I'm not a huge fan of the desert, preferring the mountains and forests and rushing springs types of wilderness, but this area along the Colorado River is drop-dead gorgeous.  Cliffs in ten thousand shades of red and brown and grey and white and yellow layered in jagged lines angled up and down and stretching through miles and miles and miles of wicked curves while water rushes along below.  I stopped my car so many times to snap a photo of an image that slammed into me without warning, I finally just stopped killing the engine and let it run as I fired up my piece of shit camera.

But God, the things you see here.  A bend in the river as smooth-sided stone walls hollowed into partial overhangs billow up and up and up, streaks of every shade of umber and sienna and sepia there is washed over and into them, looking as if they'd been polished and tinted by giant spirits.  Sharp jolts of rock leaping into the sky as if standing watch over all that happens far below it.  A stream whispering forth down a gully that is hundreds of feet deep at the point where it joins the Colorado.  It was all overwhelming.

Seriously, Moab had never even entered my radar as a place to visit, before.  It's the opposite of my preference in scenic beauty.  And yet...I'm converted.  I want to take a tour down the river at night.  Or just sit and stare at the rock formations one can see in all directions.  In truth, spectacular is too simple a term for this area.  Ethereal.  Otherwordly.  Humbling.  Those words are a better fit.

I may have been over-reacting to the ruination of the Spiral Jetty.  Apparently it was built at a time when the lake was very low due to a drought, and for decades was submerged when the lake was replenished.  It still looks broken to me...but that may have been more deliberate on the part of the artist, Robert Smithson.  What's weird is, David Rakoff has a book of essays out about various things, and one of them is the Spiral Jetty.  It was highlighted in a fellow blogger's blog, yesterday -- Salmugundi -- who talks about a lot of books (and many other things...some NSFW).  Very serendipity-like.  (BTW, I stole this photo from Wikipedia; I can't upload mine till I get home.)

One thing I will NEVER like about the desert is how damn DRY it is.  My sinuses are so freaked out, I've had a nosebleed.

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