Daytrippers Giant’s Footprint Collage essay

The plants fought back.  They are just as alive as you and I, but we always forget that.  They start out just as small as we do: as pollen.  They grow through the years, just as we do.  These plants are tough.  They can live many months without water.  Some of these plants go into hibernation, and some of them just sit, and wait, and never change.  The structure of these plants is fascinating.  How, in an area that is so dry, can they live?  They are so close to dust as it is, when the wind blows how are they not taken away, bit by bit until only dead limbs are left?  Some of them do though.  Some are dead and gone forever.  How come they couldn’t survive?

Perhaps survival lies in being a product of the place where one grows. The shape and composition of this place is reflected in the life it gives birth to.  Tough rock, gritty soil, dusty valleys give rise to rough leaves, crisp stems, scratchy blooms, thin membranes, and desperate roots.  These plants pool together where water gathers.

There is surprising gentleness too, sage blossoms and dandelion-like wisps that blow in the winds, fluffy blue flies by the thousands.  Where do they go at night?  How can such soft life hold on in such angry terrain?  The moss too, harsh and black under noon sun, will be green and spongy after a nights rain.  What fresh relief for the eyes now adjusted to the colors of drought and fire: orange yellow, black, earthy.  How fresh and important the small gushings of life are in this vast inhospitable canyon. How sweet the taste of water in a desert.

Rain; a recurring theme in the story of life.  Rain brings life so easily.  Just yesterday this place was dying of thirst, calling to the sky for help.  The sky answered.  The land revitalized, ready for a new season.  It is hard to think that at one time this place was so overwhelmed with water that almost all the life that is here now could not survive.

Not only could the living not survive, but the inanimate could not hold on either.  The Earth as a whole was ripped apart by this flood of Biblical proportions, leaving deep scars that after 15,000 years have yet to heal.  The sheer breadth of the time is staggering.  After 15,000 years this land is still a dry, unforgiving landscape with sharp cliffs and massive granite rocks tossed about as though a child had been playing with his toys and left them scattered about the lawn.  But this force—unstoppable as it is, is the most powerful force on Earth.  It can instantly bring life, while taking it away just as quickly in this harsh world.

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