Red Alkali Lake Collage Essay

Grasses in the wind

Land. It has seen 10,000 years of our past and has lived through more than we can know completely. Each rock tells its own story, carved with patterns of geologic lineage. In the valley below, boulders open to a barren, white circle. It is the residue of Green Lake, which has all but dried. Another ring of wet, this one nearly filled with cattails and tall grass: red alkali lake.

We set out in a circuitous path, a large group from the camp with our reality bunched up around us and slowly, as we walk over the land, through the air and plants, the bunches divide like cells and we begin to feel the place. To feel the desolation, to hear the solitary bee hum by. Rocks, grasses, dry flowers, knobby worried foreheads of giant stones buried in the soil. As we walk into the remains of green lake, cracked, alkali crusted earth swallows our boots and the fecund, complex scent of mud fills our senses. We sink in the mud, or try to balance on top of it, and it ripples beneath our weight: we feel the place.


Finding our own patterns in this place, we spread out. Some of us follow a path, some circle into a point, some scatter. We all find a place. We sit in a cave, high above the arid ground, perched like the golden eagle that peers down at us. Alkali lake is below, newly furnished with our footprints. Positive energy surrounds and fills us as we gaze out on the canyon below. Turning and looking into the cave, it is quite shallow, about 4 feet across. There is evidence of life here, and we too feel our place.


We explore the patterns further, encountering rocks, plants, tracks in the soil, growth spiraling into the center of red alkali lake. Inside the thicket, reeds fall on one another, following the evaporation rings of the lake, becoming thicker and thicker until they form an upside-down, giant woven basket. Clambering onto the basket, gently at first in a wobbly unsteadiness, we look to see the protective semicircle of the giant inner channel cataract.  Becoming quadruped, seeing the water circle to the center, we feel in place.


As we come back together and sit, the cells of our knowledge regroup, forming an organism of being: a living system of knowledge.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>