I just returned from an epic road trip across the Utah, Colorado, and Arizona. I spent a lot of time in the Minnesota snow (or melting snow) and now I'm back, in beautiful, sunny california, going through everything I wrote out there on the road.

This is one piece I sort of love. Inspired by Southern Utah.


We're chasing winter and in a day we're caught between summer and snow. It's just a brown assemblage of dots on a skyline. Mundanity bleeding into more mundanity. Rock, river, flora, and fauna all blended on the same palate until each is a murky brown.

Not that it’s not beautiful, it’s beautiful. It’s the sort of beautiful that doesn’t stop because it’s cold, the sort of beautiful that doesn’t fade with age. It’s beauty in change, in sunsets, and old growth, and rainstorms and clouds that sweep across the night sky as if they’re cleaning it. Just doing some routine maintenance ma’am, just dusting the atmosphere.

Change is growth and death and life. I changed you for years but there was no beauty in it. Not like the birth of a million tiny grasses after the first snow melt, not like the way a trickle becomes a river and wedges itself into the heart of a canyon. Pressing deeper and deeper until there is no way in or out. Change is just like love that way, it’s neither optional, nor mandatory.

Sheets of ice skate down a gray river, and I’m more home than I ever was with you. Four wheels pester the road, grasping at nothing on slick smooth glass. We wobble and skid, but the road is straight and empty and we are fine. 

Hawks sidle up to fence posts. Crows gawk and flap down the long stretch of asphalt that divides two farms who’s beginnings and ends are not clearly defined on a map. A cow stops in the middle of the road, two hooves planted on either side of the yellow line, and I wonder if he too is not clearly defined. Standing between two things, two fences, two lives. Stuck in Americana like the rest of us fighting few. He’s all black and I wonder if that means something, until I see the graceful curve of his horns and realize he’s a bison and all my metaphors take off into the nothing of air, into the miles of space between us and another human, into the expanse of highway that hasn’t seen another car in days.

C. L. Brenton