Ranger Kathryn's Arches

June 15, 2009

Nine minutes

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 7:55 am

After exploring the Windows, my eye caught a sign pointing around the back of two large openings:  “Primitive Loop Trail to parking area.”  YESSSSS!  If I have learned anything in my six days here, it is that visitors assiduously avoid trails marked “primitive” or “strenuous.”  These areas become mine… ALL mine.  Tour bus after tour bus of American or Japanese or (fill in blank with any nationality)… they stop at the viewpoints, hop out, run around, re-board, and miss all the good stuff.  

I ambled behind South Window — it and North Window are gigantic openings in one heck of a fin — and picked my way down a pleasant gravelly path.  The quietness greeted me like an old friend, and I welcomed the embrace.  Nobody was back here. They are engaged in an odd personal contest:  they see the arches from the front, check it off their To Do list, and beat a hasty retreat.  Ahhhh… joy for me.  One bird singing heartily off to the east; a slight breeze blowing now and again; and off I walk. 

Finding a perfect slickrock perch, I climb upon it and sit down to survey my tranquil kingdom. The land drops off in front of me to a rockless undulating scoop, perhaps a half mile across.  Blackbrush and Mormon Tea fill the view.  It is 5:40 pm and I determine to sit motionless until 6 to see what happens inside me.

I begin noticing small things.  That bird?  Its song is repeated, over and over, although I do not recognize it.  A cricket chimes in every once in a while.  The breeze is welcomed, since teeny gnats have found my sitting place and begin to pester me.  My pulse is slowing.  The sunlight from behind me is bright, but not nearly as harsh as a few hours earlier.  

5:49 pm:  my peacefulness is invaded.  Visitors, darn visitors!  Why can’t they stay out in front of the arch?!?  Ruined my 20-minute experiment!  Oh, well… they need their version of solitude, too, even though it is a family group of eight or ten, who are thrilled when I offer to take their picture.  

I bet they don’t notice my bird, my cricket, or my breeze.


  1. K
    Your writing reveals the effect this environment is having on you.
    Nice revelation!

    Comment by Dick — June 15, 2009 @ 7:07 pm | Reply

  2. Dad thought of it first, but it sounds so wonderful that I want to iterate it. Perhaps one of your great gifts to park visitors will be to “teach” them to hear the silence, notice the bird and the cricket, and just “to feel”. Give them that gift, Kathryn.

    Comment by Mom — June 15, 2009 @ 7:26 pm | Reply

  3. Gonna try this again…as I told you on the phone, your blog is a total delight!! You make me feel like I’m right there!!! Thanks for the call…love you!

    Comment by Kathy Lewis — June 16, 2009 @ 7:54 am | Reply

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