Phantom Ranch

The South Kaibab trail twinges in my calves, a gentle reminder of slope rather than distance. An active mind and the irregular cadence of an unknown snorer disrupt my sleep. Five bunk beds fill this small two room cabin; ten of us enduring close proximity, giving up privacy for the privilege of time at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

My mind is not here, it is one half mile away, it is with the river; I want to be with the river. I arrived yesterday; we visited but did not talk. Leaving now would give me time, quiet time, time together, time to reflect. Slipping from bed, I dress and walk towards an old friend.

A setting full moon illuminates colorless cliffs, sunrise is two hours away. The Canyon walls are heavily shadowed, they combine with a bright moon to hide more stars than the night sky reveals. I cannot see them but they are with me, comforting me, working with the river, working with the Canyon. Unseen, she is with them, I can feel her presence. I did not come to talk to her, I did not expect to find her, but she is here; listening more than answering, yet helping me find answers.

She is a friend, she is gone, her spirit no longer burdened by time; but the Canyon is timeless. I should have known she would be here, here for me.

Mike Bennett

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