Imagine cliffs to every side, canyon like in their complexity of form, vast in their expanse, yet vaster still is the expanse between them. Grassland winds endlessly around the cliffs, dotted with boulders, most small yet some large, towering over the sagebrush and rolling hills of dry clumped grass. The expanse is vast, and only a few things stand out in memory of this expanse. A few trails meander tentatively, losing themselves and then discovering their way again. A few small streams trickle through a dense copse of trees and bushes crowded to get a drink. There is little else save sky and stone in this place. My memory is mostly of the stone.
I stand in a hole created by a giant’s footstep. The crater 50 feet wide and 30 feet deep. It smells of dry grass. It feels of damp stone. The walls rise, cracked in near perfect hexagonal prisms, reminiscent of Easter Island, faces facing me with some unknowable wisdom in their eyes. Stone eyes. Nonexistent eyes. It evokes an awe, a godly air. Damp stone columns become temple pillars. Red Indian paintbrush becomes stained glass. This crater is not alone in the landscape, clusters dot it in the distance, witness to water’s power.
It is hard to imagine that a gigantic flood carved this place. Several great lakes worth of water rolled over this land, creating vortexes of compressed water, huge tornados with enough force to rip through rock. Where they touched down, however briefly, stone was flung aside and these craters were left behind, massive monuments to its force. How fast did the water rush over the landscape? What obelisks did the flood crash into, creating the vortexes that drilled out the earth? It is hard to imagine, yet somehow I can almost sense what I have in fact been told. I see water rushing in, smashing and splashing angrily at the land. This giant’s footprint still contains the force that created it. Somehow here, in damp stone and dry grass a tornado still coils.
You are in the hole. Looking up at the cliffs rather than looking down from upon them. Gaze limited by stone walls, cracked, and segmented in squares and pentagons. Broken off rock piled halfway to the top at times, sagebrush craning for the sky while reaching for dampness with its roots. My attention is drawn here and then out again. The sky informed by a lens, the kind only a limiting enclosure of stone can create. Is it that it is a circle that evokes such sacredness from this place? It is sacred. A temple built like an Anasazi Kiva, a place to connect with the earth, and perhaps the tornado that still coils within.
This is a pothole, oddly named, found in Dry Falls National Park where I am. Why a pothole? This hole is considerably larger than any pot I’ve seen. It is too large to be a pothole, too large to be anything save sacred in my eyes. This is a giant’s footprint. Here I am insignificant. Standing in the wake of a giant, awed by its vastness.
In the hole I am in awe.Around me I see rock that was carved out in an instant by a twister of bubbles, burrowing into solid stone. As I feel the rock with my hand I imagine the bubbles bursting – creating enough force to carve out the stone. Within the pothole, there is life flowing everywhere. There are grasses on the ground – lichen and moss, growing up the side of the walls.Trees sprout from the ground trying to reach the sky. I feel like I am in a giant planter pot and I am a bug looking up at the plants above