In Zion… – Zion National Park, Utah, USA

She stands, like an Old Norse Legend, turning her will against the mountain and its ragged snow-capped peaks. The desert road, raw and jewelled with a sheen of ice, melts away to a distant vanishing point which shows both the curve of the land and the shape of her passion. I stand, a little back, drawing circles in the crimson desert dust with my boot, watching her absorb the tranquillity of the day and draw down its vitality. If there is a secular equivalent of kneeling in a great spired cathedral whilst mystic light slants down through Gothic stained-glass windows then this must surely be it.

Slowly, gracefully, peacefully, she turns.

“Zion,” she says with a throaty drawl, “makes me believe that there is something…”

I wait. A car hurtles past throwing up clouds of dust and desert debris. Soon peace returns. She licks her lips.

“Something beyond this world. That God exists, that there is a plan and we, although small and insignificant, are here for a reason; for a purpose and that divinity is all around us.”

Back in the car once more she is quiet, meditative, captivated by the landscape, assimilating it, capturing the very essence of this timeless place, storing away each detail against coming loneliness. We drive on and are chased across the landscape by a storm of biblical proportions. I press my nose to the windscreen and try to out stare it whilst discerning its meaning. Eventually, I lean back in my seat and turn on James Blunt’s majestic CD. The atmosphere inside the car is now ephemeral and serene whilst outside the storm continues to pound the car with snow and hail whilst fork lightening flickers across the horizon. The day darkens. In bringing us here she has pared the world down to the basics: me, her, music, dreams. The road in front, when we catch glimpses of it through the storm, seems to challenge us to make impossible, yet beautiful plans which must surely come to fruition.

As we drive deeper into the park, amid small squalls of snow that eddy around the car in complex geometries, she sighs thoughtfully and I watch her deconstruct herself into the landscape: crumpled butcher-paper mountains, soaring towers that resemble arthritic fingers and sensuously shaped sandstone cliffs. She is becoming the scenery and beauty flows down into her. I can see this clearly in her eyes. I lean back in my seat and believe that she has willed this park into existence and that the vocabulary needed to describe it adequately only exists in her dreams and desires. She drums lightly on the steering wheel with fingers tipped by corpusants and, with lips slightly pursed, pulls the car to the side of the road. She seems to be performing some complex piece of emotional osmosis on the day and drawing out its core beauty.

The hidden canyons, timeless rocks, icy slopes and winding hair-pinned roads speak to her in a fundamental and profound language that I can but hope to understand. She leans forward on the steering wheel to take in more of the view and I hear her sigh deeply. I feel overwhelmingly moved to share such an intimate moment with her. She drums her fingers once more on the steering wheel with a little staccato rat-a-tat-tat which speaks more of desire than impatience, her eyes burn with a beautiful and haunting intensity and I know that there is something profound occurring. In a very real and palatable way she is showing me the depths of her soul and telling me something of great importance. I sit, silently, trying to decipher this message whilst she arches her back in desire and longing as a bank of cloud rolls across the mountains and blots out the sun.

She sighs once more, shakes her head reflectively and returns to the current place and time. Her emotional soliloquy, writ large in the language of mountains and dreams, is over. She has bared her soul, trusted me to be the custodian of this precious moment and content that I understand this she drives us slowly back to the visitor’s centre. Dusk is now close at hand.

We stand in the deserted car-park and wrap our arms around each other. Laminar bands of colour bleed out from the setting sun whilst gathering hammerheads give a silent velvet hooding to the earth. Content and centred I close my eyes and draw in mountain air. I can feel tranquillity and stillness seep from her into me. Full night isn’t too far away but there is still some colour left in the day. The first stars are visible in the night sky.

“Where do we go from here?” I think to myself.

As perceptive as ever she sees this thought flicker across my face, pushes herself away from me and spirals off around the car park. I hear the sound of her boots echo off distant peaks and I am sure that her eyes are twinkling. And, at this moment I suddenly understand: It doesn’t really matter what plans we make and that there really is no need to ask questions that neither of us can answer because, like the beauty of Zion, some things are eternally true and just meant to be.

Philip Blazdell escaped from the circus at an early age to join the BootsnAll Academy of Poetry and Rhyme (now sadly disbanded). Graduating bottom of his class (due to an unfortunate incident with a spirit level and a bottle of absinthe) Philip has shocked both BootsnAll staff and readers by his durability and shocking lack of talent. He is an unrepentant Luddite, who writes his articles using a quill pen on vellum and when not writing mundane articles on mundane places he divides his time between the US and a small town in Poland. He has no webpage (so last year!) and refuses to check his email but is more than happy to receive post cards from readers. He was last seen hustling across the border in…(opps, can’t mention where…) but hopes to make it to Moscow in time for the spring.