We had a slower day today - an amble through the mountains, up a long and winding pathway and to the Emerald Pools.
On the way up I walk with friends. I have become close to a few people in the group which is surprising and delightful as we have only known each other a short time. In this environment we are being challenged physically and creatively and have made bonds with those who not only we have commonalities with, but those who peak our interest. People from diverse backgrounds have come together with a common love of the outdoors and the act of creation. Conversations about work, process, politics, relationships, nature and friendship continue late into the night and begin early in the mornings on our way to adventures.
Walking up to the pools was cool and easy, birds could be heard in the trees and laughter followed us all the way up each new path. The lower pools were prefaced by a waterfall which gracefully fell over the side of a massive overhang. We could hear and feel the rush of the water and stretched out ours hands to catch droplets of cool in the souring heat.
As we walked upwards, huge mountains swayed around us. Come in, come in, come in a see what delights are here for you….
After the intensity of canyoneering the day before, I am happy to wander, to have time to reflect and spend time with my peers.
At the Pools we go our separate ways, Donny to draw and smoke, Brooke to paint and me to wander a bit and then join Jordan on a ledge above them all. We talk and draw and laugh and paint. Her voice is full of wonder and joy and she speaks with such passion and enthusiasm, it's difficult not to join her. We throw something down to Brooke, a pencil or something and hear laughter ripple up from the pool below.
Donny is across from us quietly sitting and looking, drawing fat men and pretty girls and smoking from time to time.
It is peaceful and graceful and beautiful.
Again I find it difficult to draw. I make marks whilst conversing to Jordan, but am again overwhelmed by the enormity of the rock, the rush of the water and the heat.A squirrel jumps out from behind a rock and scares Jordan out of her skin. I laugh until my face hurts and remember her embarrassed smiles.
On the walk down the mountainside I take pictures of the cacti, the yellow flowers against the green and red of the mountainside. The river stretches out in front of us, winding down The Valley like a ribbon of teal. I want to dive in.
I realised in these few days how much I love the water, and how much I miss the ocean. I live 5 minutes from the beach at home and feel a longing that I was there now. The heat and dryness of the desert has testing my resolve more than once this trip already and it seems that wherever I go hear that the landscapes impact my creativity. But, I must say that I feel most happy when I'm out and about, walking the landscape and stopping from time to time to drink it all in. I may not want to live in the desert but I have discovered that it is a continuous source of awe and wonder and that in itself is worth it.