Here immersed in these extravagant wonders formed over millennia, are cathedrals of stone so immense they cover an expanse as far as the eye can see. Within these grand cathedrals, in every nook, are small chapels of amazement. Every glance a testament, a long look a revelation. An acknowledgement.
“A weird, lovely, fantastic object out of nature like Delicate Arch has the curious ability to remind us—like rock and sunlight and wind and wilderness—that out there is a different world, older and greater and deeper by far than ours, a world which surrounds and sustains the little world of men as sea and sky surround and sustain a ship. The shock of the real. For a little while we are again able to see, as the child sees, a world of marvels. For a few moments we discover that nothing can be taken for granted, for if this ring of stone is marvelous then all which shaped it is marvelous, and our journey here on earth, able to see and touch and hear in the midst of tangible and mysterious things-in-themselves, is the most strange and daring of all adventures.”
The ranger at the entrance station for Bryce National Park provides a brochure that explains the science behind the majestic spires, cathedrals, layers of colors, sculptures… but the facts can’t prepare you for the wonder of it all. The scale, the quiet, the sacred feeling that pervades – all are immense. Travelers talk in whispers. We glance at each other with a sort of shrug that says, “How can we take in all this?” It is sacred, it is all encompassing, it is peace.
“If a man knew enough he could write a whole book about the juniper tree. Not juniper trees in general but that one particular juniper tree that grows from a ledge of naked sandstone near the old entrance to Arches National Monument.”
-Edward Abbey, Desert Solitaire, A Season in the Wilderness