Friday, October 31, 2008

Day 81: The Devil's Punch Bowl

The banks bled; mineral springs dyed their gravel beds crimson. A sandy delta gaped from the left after a trackless bank of spent logs. Shrubs guarded the entrance to the sacred place and I had to climb like Zaccheus to witness the spectacle.

Deer had once tracked up this sandy slope, but what strange enchantments they found here I could not read. Not so nimble I lost my footing once or twice on the ordeal to the summit, which is not the summit but the edge of a wide sandy crater, but not a crater. For it was born not from some falling visitor from heaven but from the unholy depths of the earth where the unwanted critters make their homes.

Two pairs of springs burst forth (but more, for I abstract out the smaller minor things) to coalesce in two yawning Y's, themselves meeting in a pitchfork that just escapes the bank through a tiny brush-lined crevasse to the delta and river beyond. All elements mix in their colors but not their places, with yellow clothing sand, grey the dirt and the darkest black takes mud. Green weeds grow near red rocks to complete the inhuman rainbow below.

It is a conspicuous place meant not for habitation but for marvel. In awe I set camp outside its twisted gates. I would stay a while. Perhaps forever.

Day 81 ended: 49*38.726N, 099*18.364W


John said...

This post compelled me to search out your flickr stream, in hopes of finding images of such a thing. I didn't identify any images that corresponded to the description, so I suppose there might not be any. But, perhaps it's better to leave the inhuman unrecorded, to avoid failures: in the technology to render the scene with fidelity, in the equipment entirely, or to be struck to stone or madness by God.

Kevin Saff said...

That is primarily a function of my flickr stream being so far behind the times. I did take some photos, but I seriously doubt they show the place well.

When I drove up to Calgary from St Louis I took many photos, and in Yellowstone I eventually gave up trying to capture the scene as I saw it and instead used the textures and colors I saw to create visual images which didn't try to capture everything.