Wednesday 16 September 2015

The Edge of the Envelope

Lee's Ferry.  Mystical morning, Day 1.

Sometimes words aren't enough.

And, (those of you who know me well will be shocked), my recent journey on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon has rendered me speechless. 

So here today as I begin the lifelong process of recounting the soul-spinning, heart-expanding journey of a lifetime, I'll turn for help to the beautiful photography, paintings and poetry of my companions.

Cactus at Nankoweap overlooking The Colorado.  Photo:  Joe Daniel
Traffic lights, sounds of cities,
Alarm clocks and nighttime TV,
Left it all for a break from my mind,
Giving up my sense of time.
Floating downstream past the eddies of our minds.
It all began at a plug in the sand,
Days dictated by some far off demand.
Waters rose and fell through the night,
Eroding through the sands of time.
Flowing down through the currents we define.
Tracked the moon as it plotted our course,
From dark to light holding evening court.
Illuminating the grandest of sights,
As we drifted into night.
Shining down to light the stories of our time.
Wandering in this desert of dreams,
Unsure horizons present what they may seem.
Some fall fast past the depths of our sight,
Leaving misgivings behind.
Waters flow fast through the faults that we resign.
Sixteen heartbeats soon beat as few,
Three went down though each far too soon.
With toasts and tears we had to leave them behind,
Growing wiser through the trials.
Though we were less we grow stronger in our minds.
A final moon and one last sunset to view,
Nights of joy when libations weren't few.
The fortnight brought us to the end of the line,
Returning to the lands of time.
Roaring down through the annals of our lives.
In these canyons, finding friends for a lifetime.

~words & music, Gerrit McGowan


With deep gratitude to Kaeli Benoit for her paintings and heArtistry!
What I know is this:

Since being in the canyon, that red womb of the world, I cry more easily.  I feel more deeply.  All I want to do is to read desert poetry and write my own.  I am open.  Raw. 

I am drawn to those with the wild in their eyes - and to children - perhaps because, like me, they are still so fresh from the womb.

Those days on the water in that most magical of places reawakened me - brought me to another side.  And now, nearly three weeks later, I still find myself living close to the edge of that envelope - the 'knowing' place - fearful of ever letting it fall away again (yet knowing of course that it always does).

I feel the lessons of the canyon in my bones: 
        Sleep outside.
        Stick close to my tribe.
        Make space for magic in my life. 
        And remain ever vigilant to the call of the wild, immersing myself in those places that help me

You know what I mean?  Then come sleep with me under the stars...

This we must never forget: sleep with the stars.  Thank you for capturing the magic, Joe Daniel.


  1. Replies
    1. Oh thank you Margaret! I hope you're still writing...and sleeping under the stars.

  2. Oh Heather, you remind us about what is truly important and return us to our own place of knowing. You'll have to excuse me now, I need to go sleep under the stars...