Landscape Arch at sunset in the Arches National Park, Utah.


I will always remember that scene in Picnic at Hanging Rock, when the four young girls, dressed in frilly white frocks, break away from the party and climb up the rock face. They are slowly overcome by fatigue, and at some point the rock begins to hum - the kind of low vibration that makes hairs stand up on the back of one's neck. The kind of low vibration that occurs when wind is trapped in high places; eery, mystical, somewhat scary. 

A group of Scientists studying the arches of Utah's national parks have recently found that the arches are humming. 

While conducting research on the health of the arches, and trying to determine when and why individual arches may fall down, the team found that they were able to measure the vibrations of the arches as they moved in the wind. By studying these vibrations, they could then assess the internal structures, movements and overall health of each arch. 

Reading about this, I was struck by the feeling of an instantaneous meshing of my experiences and scientific fact. I had often felt the humming of larger rocks, the way one can hear a TV being switched on in the next room. It is at once a knowing, and a physical sensing of the thing. 

According to these scientists, the rocks are not only humming, they are also moving, being plucked by the wind like strings of a cello. 




Millions of years of Earth time and Earth water create a natural arch, rib bone of Earth—red sandstone, pale limestone, dark basalt—by flaking small pieces of rock off a slender wall until a hole finally forms. Water, the agent of erosion, dissolves the rock and gathers in its small cracks and fractures, freezing and expanding, loosening rock grains sometimes too small to see. Arches are Earth clean to the bone. A person walking through one walks through Time. Land arches are most common in the Southwest, particularly in the Utah canyonlands and the Four Corners area. Sea arches occur in coastal bluffs, where it’s the constant pounding of ocean waves that wears a hole through a promontory wall. Natural bridges are a type of arch, but they are created in a different way. Instead of rainwater and snowmelt, it’s the current of a stream or river that eventually cuts a hole in the rock.
The Courthouse Towers seen through a dry twisted tree, Arches National Park, Utah.
Balanced Rock - with desert flowers, in Arches National Park, Utah.
Sitting on a rock in front of the Courthouse Towers, in Arches National Park.
Road through the Arches National Park, Utah.
Long haired girl explorer in Arches National Park.

the bones of the Earth laid bare
move with the frequencies
of air

- an intimate connection
between the two.

and me
standing there
in the gaping chasm that separates my foreign consciousness
from my ancient new home
listening in on the conversation
trying to make sense of a language I do not speak
catching only the faintest hints of those words
that hold a common root
and yet, acutely aware of the gist of it all.

Spiny desert plants in the Arches National Park.
Windows arches in the national park, Utah.
Dry desert tree and sand, Utah.
Navajo Arch, Arches National Park, Utah.
Arches National Park Devil's Garden arches.
Small desert tree in Arches National Park at sunset.
Holes bored into the red rock by water, Utah national park.
Devils Garden at sunset and twisted tree silhouette's, Utah.
Sitting on top of Arches National Park ledge, looking over the park.