Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 20, 2013

As seen through Mesa Arch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 3:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

Snow-capped La Sal Mountains and Washer Woman Arch; Canyonlands NP.

“In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty.”

— Christopher Morley

I was alive for decades before I began to understand and name my own personal sources of refreshment and refueling. With joy I report: life has taken me to a place where I daily experience them in feast-ish proportions. When I am roving the trails on ranger duty, standing on the edge of canyons a couple thousand feet deep, staring at ragged mountains jutting two a a half miles above sea level, breathing in great lungfuls of silence, that ‘secret nerve’ is fully activated. At times it seems that my heart can barely survive the reverberations.

What stirs YOUR secret nerve? What fills you, satisfies you, nourishes your soul? I’d like to know.


  1. Water, preferably large bodies of water. Whether looking at an ocean or sea, listening to the surf, snorkeling, riding in a boat of any size, watching whales or sitting in a hot tub, it all rejuvenates me.

    Comment by Rita W — March 20, 2013 @ 4:21 pm | Reply

    • Yes! What is it about water that is so powerful? Even rock potholes after a rain make me drop to my knees to look for signs of life…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 21, 2013 @ 7:33 am | Reply

  2. Dear Kathryn,

    my secret nerve… (and that of my wife!): Going to the USA for holidays in the Colorado-Utah-Arizona area (what we already did a couple of times, see our website) and see all the beauty, visit slot canyons, wandering for hours etc.
    We already planned to move there when we’re not working any more (only 1 or 2 more years), but it is very difficult for a non-US citizen to get a visa… we have to try to obtain one via the so called Green-Card lottery, but that’s hard: only 55000 every year out of a total of several million ‘lottery participants’… a pity, but we keep trying and hoping !

    Regards from Germany,

    Comment by Klaas Wijchman — March 20, 2013 @ 4:36 pm | Reply

    • Best of luck on that lottery, Klaas; I was unaware of the process. The desert will be here, waiting for you and your family…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 25, 2013 @ 7:30 am | Reply

  3. One of my secret nerves is being invited (as a nurse-midwife) to share in the amazing experience of labor and birth – a miracle EVERY time – never to be taken for granted and always to be celebrated. 5 very “special secret nerves” were the receiving of each of my 5 grandchildren into the world. It gives me great joy to know that you have shared the midwife “secret nerve:, too, in a former life! Now I rejoice in sharing your present life and world as a ranger. You continue to inspire and delight me. Love, Ann

    Comment by Ann Rabie — March 20, 2013 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

    • Thank you, Ann. I love your perspective! I’ve gotten to teach emergency childbirth to our EMTs out here, so I still feel connected!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 25, 2013 @ 7:27 am | Reply

  4. That which stretches my mind – travel to unfamiliar places, cultures, geographies, pics from the Hubble telescope or an electron microscope, inventions, discoveries and, most of all, ideas that move past the incremental and open new landscapes of thought – this and the ability to engage perpetually inquiring minds . . . who could ask for anything more?

    Comment by leroque — March 21, 2013 @ 7:34 am | Reply

    • That’s what I love about you, Dad. I think it has rubbed off…

      Comment by Kathryn Colestock-Burke — March 21, 2013 @ 7:37 am | Reply

  5. For me, its all about being in wild new places on elegant overland traverses. BTW, just circumnavigated ISKY with a Western Spirit group of High School students, a very awesome trip.

    Comment by midsummerman — March 21, 2013 @ 8:52 am | Reply

  6. Mine is much more prosaic. It was putting a beautiful meal on the table for family or friends. I’d get lost in the planning and preparation and just feel like beaming when we all sat down. Not any more, though. Now I am glad I am no longer doing so. Mom

    Comment by Mom — March 21, 2013 @ 2:48 pm | Reply

    • You may not know that all of us at table were beaming, too, at the sumptuous feast spread with love. Your super-human efforts did NOT go unnoticed. As a matter of fact, they’ve been passed down…

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 25, 2013 @ 7:24 am | Reply

  7. 2 things: the smell of the sea and the sound of its crashing waves as I walk alongside its surf;
    the other is the amazement of a new world of language and social interaction which happens after a cochlear implant is fitted into a 3 year old child!
    On the side, I must say Thank You for introducing my friend and I to Mesa Arch at sunrise last summer…exquisite!

    Comment by Joann — March 24, 2013 @ 8:36 am | Reply

    • The sea I would have predicted, Joann; the cochlear implant idea made my brain light up! Yes! And… Mesa Arch is still as glorious as the morning you were there. It shares its beauty with dozens each sunrise. Joy to you today!

      Comment by Kathryn Burke — March 25, 2013 @ 7:22 am | Reply

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