Monuments to Impermanence

I’ve had occasion, recently (or so), to visit Antelope Canyon and its surrounding area.

It’s a spectacular sight, a photographer’s dream, whether very amateur like myself or otherwise.

Upper Antelope Canyon; in winter, you might get so lucky as to not get crowds in your pictures. Might.

Antelope Canyon(s) are slot canyons, unique flukes of geology. The Navajo sandstone of the region is very porous and long, long ago, flood waters rushed through the canyons and carved away the weaker stone. They’re formed very suddenly as landscapes go. Their smooth, winding walls are sculpted steadily by monsoon rains and more floods.

It’s a funny thing to think about: once, there were no canyons here. Now, and for long ages, there are. Eventually, they will be gone, even if they last to the death of the Sun. And they will always be changing, daily.

The beauty of canyons is a monument to impermanence. This holds true if they’re narrow slot canyons or vast Grand ones or the great Vales Marineris of Mars.

We have a skewed view of permanence. The world changes very rapidly for better, worse, and whatever. I think our core wiring is not prepared for it, even though change is the nature of nature. We have a tendency to think the current state, or some past state, is the proper state, the state where everything should stay, like a balanced scale.

That’s not true, but it’s how we think. Why? Change has been quite rapid to our perceptions for the past century and more, but we still react with a stunned shock to it. Perhaps it’s because we live longer, more idle lives since the industrial revolution bore its true fruits. We are now more capable of noticing change since we’re neither dying young nor up to our eyeballs in the grunt work of trying not to starve.

It’s folly to pursue a static world. For one, it’s impossible. We can’t account for all the factors that influence the complex structures of nature or human lives. We may never even learn of them all, and control is another task altogether.

Second, human beings get bored in changelessness. You stagnate, you fail to explore and take advantage of your potential. Another wiring thing.

Third, should the world remain static, there will be no new wonders like Antelope Canyon and it’s like.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Published by kathrynzurmehly

I am, among many other things, an Army vet and a freelance writer.

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