Chasm in the Desert Plain

Glen Canyon and Navajo Mountain BWGlen Canyon cuts a sprawling path through the high desert plain that spans southern Utah and Arizona. In the name of progress, the Colorado River was dammed in 1964 to form what is now Lake Powell. The dam spanned the chasm, not to create a path, but to alter it and to store water for the population of the southwestern United States. It’s the second largest man-made reservoir in the U.S.  In the black and white image, the dark hue of the lake’s surface creates a sense of the canyon’s vastness. Lake Powell and Glen Canyon is a story of man containing and shaping the natural world for his own benefit, but in so doing, creating an environment that draws myriad admirers into the landscape to appreciate the beauty of the desert lands.

I look upon the canyon and its dark waters and I am reminded of Will Allen Dromgoole’s poem, “The Bridge Builder”

An old man going a lone highway,
Came, at the evening cold and gray,
To a chasm vast and deep and wide.
Through which was flowing a sullen tide
The old man crossed in the twilight dim,
The sullen stream had no fear for him;
But he turned when safe on the other side
And built a bridge to span the tide.
“Old man,” said a fellow pilgrim near,
“You are wasting your strength with building here;
Your journey will end with the ending day,
You never again will pass this way;
You’ve crossed the chasm, deep and wide,
Why build this bridge at evening tide?”
The builder lifted his old gray head;
“Good friend, in the path I have come,” he said,
“There followed after me to-day
A youth whose feet must pass this way.
This chasm that has been as naught to me
To that fair-haired youth may a pitfall be;
He, too, must cross in the twilight dim;
Good friend, I am building this bridge for him!”


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