Why Am I Here?


Because I am tired of beauty. Can that really be true?

I’ve spent the last five years in pursuit of writing in nature. I was an artist in residence in the Everglades, at Petrified Forest National Park, and at Andrews Experimental Forest in the Cascades. I saw orchids and tree snails, baby crocodiles and alligators, giant crocodilian fossils and trees petrified to crystal. I saw what park rangers call “clambodia”–an acre of fossilized clams. Leaves as big as my head, nurse logs, and fungi I could almost see growing.

I saw tourists and agribusiness, prisons and poverty, hunters and notices about teens killed by DUI. I was always on a border–between a National Park and a teepee rest stop. I wanted to cross that border somehow, or integrate place once and for all.

Maybe an impossible task, but in any case I came to Wendover, Utah.

The arid west is my home, with all that implies–water issues, military, salinization, and yes, raw exquisite landscapes at sunrise. I wanted to think about destruction.

In the little airport here there is a room’s worth of museum–a model of the Wendover base in its heyday and an exact replica of the bomb Little Boy. It was obsessively crafted, down to the rivets. And signed by members of the surviving crew. It sits in an office, with signs saying DON’T TOUCH THE BOMB. Maybe I as a writer see the irony, but it is meant, and I use this word on purpose, innocently.

2 thoughts on “Why Am I Here?

  1. Pingback: I hang the key « Miriam's Well: Poetry, Land Art, and Beyond

  2. Perhaps it isn’t being tired of beauty but just the need of something different. Beauty, as cliché as it might sound, is in the eye of the beholder.

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