3.06.2008,11:51 AM
Big Bend Revisited: Wow.....
“There is nothing permanent except change.”
-Heraclitus, Greek philosopher
Many visitors to the Big Bend area mistakenly believe that nothing there changes. On the contrary, geologic processes have been constantly changing the land for over 500 million years. Human, animal and plant presence have come and gone, sometimes returning. Each time one visits it will be different because with every passing day the land is indeed changing. So are we.

Some visitors are awe struck or irresistibly drawn to one of more features in the area. A few of us are tethered. An inexplicable mysterious magnetism draws and holds us to a place. Something about it claims us. We find ourselves returning again and again, each time feeling more like we are 'home', acquiring a sense of place for which we have no explanation.

Santa Elena Canyon did that for me the first time I glimpsed her towering majestic cliffs. And I knew immediately that I must return to her soon, like a tiny child clinging on to a guardian mother's layered skirts that tower above her. I felt the same the first time I got off the bike and walked upon a shale and rocky shelf overlooking an arroyo in the Terlingua desert and gazed around me. As if I had immediately grown roots into that desert floor, my second visit evoked a feeling of laying down on the ground and melting into it, become a part of it. I felt as though I belonged there.

My first view of the Boquillas Canyon walls along the Mexican side of the Rio Grande evoked a similar mixture of awe and draw. From the side of a hill miles away, it towered above and filled the view to the south. The paved road and rolling hills dotted with cacti and lechiguia below were dwarfed by the towering cliffs, as if it were a remnant of the giant dinosaurs frozen in stone, a reminder of a time long passed during which they reigned; when the ground gave birth to this canyon and the river tamed it.


Looking at the striped canyon wall with it's layers revealing cycles of sediment deposits from seas covering the area over 135 million years ago profoundly impressed me with an essence of time in a way most of us don't comprehend; or perhaps even see.

Frank Waters wrote, "Nothing puts into such few words the belief....that time is not a linear flow, as we think it is, into past, present, and future. Time is an indivisible whole, a great pool in which all events are eternally embodied and still have their meaningful being. Into it we may dip by chance, or by a meaningful flash of supernormal or extrasensory perception, and glimpse something that happened long ago in our linear time." Yet no supernormal perception is required to really see and let one's self be claimed by these magnificent land forms.

Some landmarks on this planet just take your breath away. Or at least leave you with jaw open and emitting a slow "Wow....." . The Boquillas Canyon is one of these. An observer can't resist feeling a sense of place and time here.


Labels: ,

posted by Macrobe
Permalink ¤