I’ve been avoiding revising this draft for months. At some point , you just have to say enough is enough and let go. Unclog the blog. Even if it may ruffle some feathers among people I respect and enjoy.
Sitting in a lounge chair on the beach at Schist Camp, nursing a cold beverage, I’m wondering if I should be having more fun. And I wonder if I should blame Ed that I’m not. Wine and stories flow freely, laughter echoing from the canyon walls, but try as I might I cannot ignore the helicopters overhead, one or two of them at any given moment thwopping their way from rim to rim, giving sightseers a look at Crystal Rapid below (said sightseers drowning out their own noise with stereophonic music through Bose headsets, I understand.) Abbey pesters me with his unequivocal vision of canyon visitation:
HUMAN BEINGS WELCOME; MACHINES KEEP OUT.
Damn straight. “Can you believe the helicopters?” I ask one of my companions. He looks at me with surprise, listens for a moment. “Gosh, I hadn’t noticed them,” he says, and now I feel guilty that my gift of awareness has shattered his peace and quiet, too. Or maybe not—he returns to the food table and the enormous pile of nachos our guides have cooked up. They do look delicious.
Later tonight the overflight procession will come to an end, and the stars, endless depths of stars, will come out. Belinda and I have set up our tent “just in case” but plan to sleep out in the open. The nachos are good. The first bats flit past, taking care of any interloping mosquitoes. The river slips on downstream as the shadows deepen.
Heat and unrelenting sun. Dehydration headache. Mid June in the depths of the canyon. Midday. Pulling over for a riverside lunch, we all clamber off the boats and scurry for cover against the canyon wall like cockroaches, slathering on more sunscreen and picking at dry and cracking lips. Quick-dry clothes redefining themselves. Perhaps a quick swim in the river to cool off?