|Kwagunt RM 56.5 – naseem rakha|
In winter, in the canyon, you worship the sun—seek it out like a moth to its flame. There it is—around the next bend, in that eddy, up that cliff. Once in its rays, you shed layers, and your face lifts and your hands are removed from gloves and stretch bare and free out toward the light.
It has snowed as low as the river, and in pre-dam times before the daily tidal shifts caused by the power needs of Phoenix and its outliers, parts of the river have even frozen. But we 15 on our river trip were lucky. The snow we saw was well behaved; sticking to the upper ledges of the canyon, spackling the Kaibab and Toroweep, icing on a 1.8 billion year old cake. After the sun set it was the fire we all huddled by, driftwood and laughter our fuel. Songs too, and chocolate bars. A little bourbon. We did wake to ice a few times, and frost on our tents and sleeping bags. But tea and coffee were quick to brew, and if it was a layover day the fire was re-lit and there we’d sit waiting for our sun: Helios, a nuclear fireball, massive and brilliant and blinding, and yet somehow, strangely, a life-giver, a sustainer, a distant yet giving god.
|snow falling in the canyon – naseem rakha|