Back to the black top, Toroweap, AZ

Friday, September 5th, 2008

The day on the side of the road was only turning better with the clouds now puffing up and some real blue skies showing through in patches larger by the hour. The sun when hidden was generating a cool wind, taking turns heating it up when uncovered. Every burst was a promise for the calachi to dry a bit more. Michael’s "calachi weatherman" was starting to dry out and show some immediate age through its forming cracks. A good sign. The Ranger had stopped by and I did hear him say that more rain was in the forecast for the night.


More rain meant staying not only during its duration but restart another "drying of the ground" cycle. I looked around and around, of course not seeing past the near by hills to determine the truth about the oncoming weather. Michael kept hinting about leaving by the afternoon, after offering to ride the first seven miles and come back to determine its condition, as we were also told that it would be the worse part. We had decided to go out through Fredonia, the longest route back to Damerron, but also the easiest. I was in no hurry… I was not pressing the issue… I was comfortable in Spirit’s company with still much water, a bit of food and an unfinished book.


But of course it made sense, with no clues on the predictions, it was as "okay… check out the road and if all looks good we will pack up and take off…". If I did not see him back in an hour my own mission, if I so accepted of course… (!!!) would be to go and rescue him! I had the feeling we would leave and I started tightening up a bit my scattered items, it was getting late in the afternoon and if we were going to do this we would try to get out by dark. The option to again set up camp just a bit further was acceptable.


Michael came back within an hour, there where a few bad spots still very wet and muddy, the first one being the worse. We decided to take that chance, I knew I would make it through, it was only a matter of stopping often to remove the calachi that would form between the tire and the fender. And we did, easily, low tire pressure helps a lot, the first seven miles as promised where a bit tough and fishtailing, the middle section would be a piece of cake till we arrived to the end in the dark with more "mud shakes" ahead of us.


In the meantime, not too far from camp I was intrigued by this little old cabin barely standing up through time. It might have not been as much as the structure as who lived there, how long and how serene Life should have been so far off from the main stream. But was it? Can Life just be what we make of it? Being stranded brought up so many thoughts about the Journey and the days past, more and more there is a direction that forms and guides me so strongly. I wonder why it takes so much time to get to know one’s self as well as I do? And will it change again in the future? Probably. A little cabin, not much left of it but its walls barely standing up. Living quarters, a bathroom with a primitive wood stove, a tub. They worked the land for sure, maybe children were present, did they leave one day for the big city? maybe the wife one day came across a magazine with pictures of fancy carriages and dresses and suddenly the desires for what she might have thought a better Life took over. Who knows as I stood there, imagining it all, at the same time thinking about our land we are headed to and thinking how such little cabin would fit so well within us for the winter months.


The single tree, doubled as a post, had been the witness of it all. Thousands of miles away I had been myself the witness of such a totally different stage in the past. Cobblestone private streets adorned with houses in the millions, cars so shiny and so pricey, clients with clothing that came with price tags large enough to probably feed such Families for their entire Life and more. Children whining because the neighbor’s kid had the latest of the latest in clothing and haircut, appeased so quickly by the parent’s chauffeur driven immediately to the local Rodeo Drive look alike. Their own only contact with the other side of the World was around Christmas when piling up many toys in the back of their vehicles they were taken to a town only 50 miles away where children were starving all year. A gesture taken only to allow them to appease their conscience for the remainder of the year. I have seen all this, experienced it, have even been the recipient of their generosity at time, and now, I stood here in this total silence in front of this dilapidated cabin feeling that it was in itself such a beautiful structure.


What we need in Life is already within us, we carry it daily. We were never in danger those past couple days. I was happy we were stranded, but truly… we were not. We just did not have the mobility to move, to physically go any further down that road, but we had such an incredible mobility to move within ourselves as we did through our conversations and thoughts. Time was still, the wheels were still but the mind suddenly through Mother Nature’s beauty moved on to higher grounds shedding one more time some layers encrusted by the years past. New paths in Life are sometimes obscure, they are because we have never been there as every day is a new day, only if we let it happen. I did let it happen, the obscurity of the path still prevails but I do see a bit of daylight now and it gives me hope for the times to come. As much as I will remember my first sight and emotions seeing the Grand Canyon at Toroweap, this muddy curve where we spend some "time" will as much always have a special memory in my heart as I know I took a step up without this time going backwards. One will never know unless you let it happen. Let it happen.


single cloud  

The sky turned into a gift that evening! We were doing good time, out of the mud, riding a mile or so apart each at our own pace, and as one might think through the photos as a monotonous sight, all was just the opposite. The colors, the freshness of the smells, the coolness of the air, I just had to stop a few times and just be one with it all as I knew I was leaving it all behind for now. It was almost as a distinct message… don’t go! This is all for you, I am working so hard to paint this Masterpiece. I could not move, frozen in that moment as suddenly the sun itself send its own message replenished by new colors and exuberance of rays. There was no Canyon here, the Earth was calm almost untouched by Nature’s erosion just a few miles back… but the skies.


sunset a  

Darkness dropped on us a while later. With more lights on my rig I passed in front making sure that Michael was making it through the new mud puddles we were encountering. As long as I saw his headlights upright I felt all was fine as it turned out to be. He claims to be a fair rider, I claim that he is an "excellent" rider, you don’t want to know my thoughts if I would have been on two wheels! We arrived at the black top, we shook hands, we both knew that these were moments we would not forget. "Well done" had been those days, truly well done, as much as on our Friendship level as our own each personal level. My own Hero still remains to be Spirit… never batted an eye or an eyelash for that matter. There is so much to learn from such composure of his, no doubt about it. Just when I thought our bond could not be any tighter it has suddenly as everything else happening these past days gone up a notch.



Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… In "Your Favorites", organized also in "States", some even labeled "first year" and second year". Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is available also through SmugMug.

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Be well, always. Ara & Spirit

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4 Responses to “Back to the black top, Toroweap, AZ”

  1. The Artful Adventurer Says:

    It takes a vast open landscape to render sunsets as spectacular as those you photographed. The west is an awesome place to get in touch with ones self because you can still find places where you are totally alone. Only when we are alone with ourselves for extended amounts of time in places of natural wonder and inspiration, do we discover who we really are. No distractions, just you, and you. Love the post and photos go so well with it.
    thanks, Mark

  2. Pat Conner Says:

    What an adventure!

    I anxiously read each paragraph you wrote and couldn’t wait to finish it to find out how it ended. Then I was disappointed when it ended,,
    only because I didn’t want it to end!

    I really enjoyed reading about your adventure.


  3. starmakerfx Says:

    amazing story, Amazing people and Most amazing Artwork

  4. Evelyn Says:

    Im so Happy for you both
    The story brough tears of joy to my eyes

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