A March across Powell, 17

June 28, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

March 17, 2014

I slept soundly for about six hours until I had to get up and pee.  After that I was in and out until dawn. The overnight winds fluttered the tarp once or twice but were mostly calm.

As I'm getting up I turn on the radio for a weather update. This morning they've updated the forecast to 25-35 mph with gusts to 55.  Okay, I'm not going anywhere. The forecast predicts the front will move through the area this afternoon/evening after which the winds will die down.  I'm hoping.

After breakfast I pack everything away and make sure it's all tied down and head off for a walk.  Between the lake on my north and the cliffs on the south I can't go too far but there are a lot of nooks and crannies to explore and they keep me busy for a couple of hours. As I'm exploring and photographing, the wind is steadily building. As I wader to the west I get a glimpse of the windsock on the pump-out station which during the gusts is straight and horizontal.  I don't know it's rating but it looks like we're exceeding it. Yep, it's gonna blow.

The Lost Hat, Glen Canyon NRA, UTThe Lost Hat, Glen Canyon NRA, UTA lost hat on the beach of Lake Powell, UT.

Continuing...

We're taught right from wrong to control us, or to get us to control ourselves and conform to society.  We're taught societal rules based on the notion that we can choose and have control over our actions.  My lady-friend had a choice, she could choose to break the hood ornament from that car or not. We refer to that freedom of choice as freewill and it's a fundamental tenet of our system of beliefs.

We view our whole world through that basic assumption, that we can choose our actions. The person who has offended us choose to offend us, therefore we're justified in our revenge. But what if we change our point of view and view the world, our lives, others, everything not as if we have a choice, but as if everything, all our actions, all the action of others, are predetermined?  What if we viewed every moment, word and action of our entire lives like a huge complex movie script? That all we, and everyone with which we come in contact, are doing is just playing our predefined role?

How does that change our view, if at all?

Before we proceed, let me be clear. I'm not saying that that is how it is, that we don't have a choice in our actions, that freewill doesn't exist. I'm just asking what happens, how does our view of the world, life, the actions of others, the actions of ourselves, change, if at all, by assuming a different perspective.

A few days ago when it was windy, I marveled at the different perspectives I had between sitting in the puny kayak bouncing among the wave verses standing on a rise of an island looking at them from solid, stable rock. Which point of view of the lake is right, which is correct? The one from amid the turbulence and turmoil with death by drowning just a moment away or the one from the relative safety of the shore where the lake appears to have only a slight ripple?  Okay, maybe this is a bad example with too much emotion wrapped up in it, but it got us started. Let's try another scenario.

Here's one point of view... I'm standing. In front of me is a rectangular piece of wood about three feet by six feet.  The surface is smooth, glossy and the color of honey. It is elevated off the floor about waist height by four legs, one attached to each corner of the rectangle. Arranged around the top surface are six round disks; six tall clear-glass cylinders and next to each of the disks are three metal objects, one on the left and two on the right. In the center of the wooden surface is a container with flowers in it. Okay, I could go on but obviously I'm describing a dinner table with place settings for six.

Now let's consider another point of view... I'm lying on my back. Above me I see a rectangular piece of wood whose surface is rough and unfinished.  The wood is suspended above me by four legs, one in each corner of the rectangle. A piece of pink, putty-like substance is stuck near one corner of the rectangle. Right, so now I'm looking at the bottom of the table. A different point of view can allow you to see something in a completely different way. (To be continued...)

Sometime around noon the gusts start intensifying, picking up sand as they move across the ground and pelting me.  There's not much for me to do so I bundle up in my shell and paddling pants and sit in my Alite chair with my back to the wind.  I've got the zipper pushed all the way up to my nose and the hood cinched in tight so the only thing exposed is my eyes. I sit for about an hour getting buffeted by the gusts. The combination of sun and pulsing wind is lulling me to sleep so I lay down on the rock which is cold but the air and sun are warm, it feels good. For a while I drift in and out of sleep.  Once I'm fully awake, I try sitting again. With the wind howling, neither position is much fun. The small cove directly in front of me is completely covered in white caps. Yikes.

Shore Curve, Glen Canyon NRA, UTShore Curve, Glen Canyon NRA, UTSensuous curves on the shores of Lake Powell.

Dinner preparation is difficult. I find a ledge and some sandstone slabs and build a small windbreak. It helps but I still have to crank the stove up to high to keep it from getting blown out. The water eventually boils and soon I'm eating Beef Strognaoff, yum.

After dinner I head out to take pictures, with all the dust in the air I'm hoping for a colorful sunset. I'm early, by almost an hour, but I setup the tripod and camera anyway. The light is already starting to get good. To make sure I've got everything dialed-in I take a test shot or two. Just then the light goes flat. Damn, a cloud bank has blown in blocking the sun. I wait long past sunset, hoping for a break and some light and some color, but it never happens. Dejected I head back to camp.

I contemplate building a fire but decide to go directly to bed. NOAA said the wind should start easing up about 9:00pm so I'm hoping the worst is over.  It doesn't seem like it's slowing down at all but I don't have an anemometer so what do I know.

I manage to get my sleeping gear laid out without loosing anything, which is a struggle in the wind, and climb in.  Just after I lay down a blast hits me and the tarp starts flapping like crazy and I'm getting pelted with sand, so I grab the corner of the tarp and pull it up to protect my head. It abates for a minute and then buffets me again, another pause, another beating. Every time I think it's done it comes back even stronger, like it was just catching it's breath.  After about a dozen cycles it slows down enough that the sand stops pelting me and I'm able to doze off.

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