The barren west, the Plague

It seems strangely appropriate traveling the vast landscapes of the American West during the outbreak of the CORVID19 virus. We are forced thru quarantine into involuntary isolation – it’s not so different being alone in these bleak landscapes – water and wind sculpted rock, sage, pinyon and blackbrush scrub and the feeling of infinite empty space between everything. Social distancing at its finest.

Cemetery sunset on CO141, so far the most remote stretch of road I’ve travelled. Slept well with the dead, who were totes unconcerned with the plague.

Arriving to grocery stores with barren shelves, 6 foot distance laws, and government regulated personal space feels post apocalyptic. Yet within it service workers, post office staff, bike mechanics and grocery clerks seem unperturbed… thank the working class for their pragmatism and willingness to help in the face of a perceived crisis.

Hopefully the last snow as I leave Colorado for the canyon lands of Utah. A morning of frozen toes and the creeping anxiety that ‘this is the new normal’ before descending 2000 feet into the canyon, where it was dry 50 degrees & sunny.

Where will this adventure end? Is this the end already? I ask myself if it’s irresponsible to travel at this time – but there’s not going back at this point. Colorado is covered in snow, public transportation isn’t an option, and it’s unsure if return is worse than continuing. So the only way out is thru…

The sense of depth and scale leaves everything feeling far apart and unreal. I watched a motorbike cruise down this road and disappear long before they even approached this massive geological structure. When everything feels like forever, anytime is now.

1 thought on “The barren west, the Plague

  1. Edwards, Gerald E

    Hi Nko. Thank you for the card I received today! I have been following your journey. Amazing what you are doing. Would like to see you if it works out for you when passing this way. Father Gerry

    Reply

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