By Henry Vaughan
Sure thou didst flourish once! and many springs,
Many bright mornings, much dew, many showers,
Pass'd o'er thy head; many light hearts and wings,
Which now are dead, lodg'd in thy living bowers.
And still a new succession sings and flies;
Fresh groves grow up, and their green branches shoot
Towards the old and still enduring skies,
While the low violet thrives at their root.
But thou beneath the sad and heavy line
Of death, doth waste all senseless, cold, and dark;
Where not so much as dreams of light may shine,
Nor any thought of greenness, leaf, or bark.
And yet—as if some deep hate and dissent,
Bred in thy growth betwixt high winds and thee,
Were still alive—thou dost great storms resent
Before they come, and know'st how near they be.
Else all at rest thou liest, and the fierce breath
Of tempests can no more disturb thy ease;
But this thy strange resentment after death
Means only those who broke—in life—thy peace.
We spent time in four states today -- from extremely hot, dry eastern California to hilly Nevada to glorious northern Arizona to the lush canyons of Utah. San Bernardino County was nearly 100 degrees; we had lunch in Baker, the nearest city to Death Valley, and drove from there to Las Vegas, where we looked at the wonderful hotel architecture. From there the highway dipped briefly into Arizona through incredible canyons -- they looked partly like the Badlands, partly like the Painted Desert and partly like the Grand Canyon -- before looping up into Utah where for the first time in many, many days, we witnessed a thunderstorm.
And then we drove into gorgeous Zion National Park with a rainbow arching over the cliffs. We checked into the park lodge and took a walk to the Emerald Pools Trails, where we hiked up a paved path to stand beneath waterfalls that drop 100 feet from colorful striated red rock cliffs, spraying the path below. Along the way we saw a elk, lizards, huge black beetles and deer walking within five feet of people. We ate at the lodge and visited the shop, where the kids played chess on the big wooden tables. It drizzled a bit more in the evening as the deer walked right through the grass around the lodge eating.
Spreading from the desert of eastern California into Nevada, cacti, yucca and Joshua trees.
San Bernardino and Las Vegas have a slightly different approach to the cell phone tree than the east coast variety, which pretends to be a tall pine.
The amazing landscape of northern Arizona -- not as spectacular as the Grand Canyon, perhaps, but delightful to drive past.
A rainbow emerging from the dark clouds over Utah hills. Sorry about the splotches; I took the photo through the rainy front windshield.
Wild turkeys near the entrance to Zion National Park. They aren't native to Utah, but escaped from farms generations ago.
A mother and baby deer in the evening on a hillside above a hiking path near Zion's visitor center.
Zion near sunset as the storm clouds moved out. More photos tomorrow.
Friday we'll take several hikes in Zion before heading on to Bryce Canyon and its arches and spires.