zion week 2: tumult & beauty
The Canyon & I have had a busy week.
A tropical storm that made its way up through the Southwest arrived in Zion on Monday afternoon, deluging the canyon until late Tuesday. And when water meets gravity & rock on a massive scale, things transform in a hurry from this…
The Virgin River, which flows through Zion Canyon year round, increased several times in size, morphing from a clear, shallow stream to a raging chocolate colored boulder & sand milkshake, hurling itself down canyon, gouging new pathways & distributing debris in its wake. Waterfalls gushed like severed arteries from every hole & crack in every visible cliff face, tumbling rocks, boulders, & mud onto the road. It was fabulous!
I have settled into the warm & solid sandstone embrace of the Grotto House, joined by Dennis this week. It is the most posh residency accommodations I’ve ever had, from the charming kitchen...
...to the cabin like living room, now converted into my studio space.
While Dennis enjoyed himself hiking & doing small watercolor sketches, I hosted my first open studio in the cabin & finished preparing for my Southern Utah University presentation for their Art Insights program,
which upon arriving at the University I discovered was to be conducted in their humongous basketball stadium…
…no pressure, right? It was actually all dolled up for the next day’s inauguration of the new University president, not me, but it was a little daunting to see all of the bling & lights. Over 100 people attended, including students, professors, & members of the public. My slide show presentation was followed by a very active Q&A session. I feel I was very successful in bringing awareness to both tapestry as a valid art form & also to the Park’s AiR program.
Dennis & I celebrated my birthday by doing a five mile hike on part of the West Rim trail, pretty much a straight up & down affair.
The trail also links to the popular Angel’s Landing trail that traverses an exposed ridge, suitable only for those who are fearless or crazy. Kinda have to wonder why the trees on the West Rim, which overlooks Angel’s Landing, seemed to be heavily populated with turkey vultures.
My week was finished off with Dennis’ return to Tucson & the arrival of my friend Connie & her friend Barbara who were passing through on a leg of their southern Utah trip. After doing a short session of tapestry demo in Springdale’s Second Saturday Art Walk, the three of us enjoyed dinner & strolling through town as the Art Walk continued.
I feel settled into the rhythms of the canyon. Shuttles full of Park visitors churn up & down canyon all day into evening; people trudge by, sometimes asking unusual questions (“is there food in there?”); sunlight strikes the canyon floor late & climbs out early over the west rim;
canyon breezes blow, gently dusting the remaining spots from the mule deer fawns as fall approaches;
& after a 3 AM visit from a ring tailed cat who came in through the open window near my bed, I have learned to keep my screenless windows closed at night. The little guy just couldn’t help himself, tempted, I guess, by the smell of my bananas wafting out of the house in the breeze. After hearing suspicious noises, I discovered him in the kitchen sitting on the windowsill with a half eaten banana & was greeted by the strong odor of his skunk-like spray, the remaining bananas chewed & strewn all over the counter, & rather large amounts of his gory fuchsia colored excrement (from a diet of cactus fruits) deposited on the counter & on the white tile floor under the table & in the bathroom. Needless to say, after evicting my unwanted guest & cleaning up his leavings, it took a while to go back to sleep.
Sunday dawned to find me in solitude again, so I began the day with an eight mile round trip walk up the canyon road from the Grotto to the Temple of Sinawava & back again.
My small sample tapestry is well under way…
…and my senses are open, awaiting whatever treasures the canyon will decide to send my way this week.
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