Echoes of the Present
Reflection and reverberation in the desert Southwest
I beat the sun to the canyon and stood on a 500-foot cliff enjoying the remnants of the chilled midnight air between sips ...
Illustration by Jeremy Collins
I beat the sun to the canyon and stood on a 500-foot cliff enjoying the remnants of the chilled midnight air between sips of steaming coffee. Orion pulled one last arrow from his quiver and shot a flaming meteor at the horizon. The low, hoarse croak of a raven challenged the silence in the black cliffs of the desert Southwest. A soulful reply emerged through the labyrinth of stone monoliths, talus slopes and arches, followed by the hungry yip of a coyote. Then, silence.
I tossed a stone into the canyon and watched it fall. The place swallowed it without a sound.
Soon a faint orange glow found a cloud in the east, and ignited spires of light through the purple cumulous puffs. A rising tide of powder-blue sky swelled ever higher and revealed a black-billed magpie. His iridescent feathers reflected the first light as he took flight and drifted overhead. The rippling currents popping across his plumage were the only sounds in the canyon now. Then, more beautiful silence.