Monocline

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Photo: Strike Valley Overlook

Capitol Reef National Park, UT

A monocline is a geological fold in Earth's crust. In Capitol Reef National Park, a hundred-mile-long fold has been sculpted by ancient seas over the course of eons. This erosion shows every single layer of the warped crust, a vast visualization of both time and space.

 

On January 6th, 2021 I began the day with a short hike near Fruita, Utah, then I drove to the Upper Muley Twist Canyon Trail in the remote southern district of the park. I lost service and even radio by about 10am. The day was beautiful, but the sun can't be taken for granted in the winter out in the desert. I got back a little after dark and eventually had radio, and I learned what had happened. My instinct to hike is always escapist, and this day in Capitol Reef - named for its white sandstone domes - I didn't know what I was escaping. But of course I didn't escape anything in reality.

Since then I've been processing the futility of my escapism in regard to both the scale of my individual place in this societal moment and the place of our society on a geological scale. The Anthropocene is an era of human impact on the earth and on our species as well. I wrote this piece reflecting on vast negative space rather than a landscape - the wind or space beyond the sky instead of the horizon.