Monday, July 7, 2008
A rainbow appears, bridging the cliffs of Oak Creek canyon. A noisy thunderstorm had rolled through, pouring life blood into the dry canyon. The monsoons appear to be arriving early this year. They call them monsoons here, but they are probably not one typically imagines as a monsoon. In Zion, the monsoons come in the form of afternoon thunderstorms, and they typically arrive in late July, rolling through nearly everyday. They are a blessing, providing much relief from the heat and dryness. The mornings after are cool due to high humidity, instead of stiflingly hot as the sun rears its flaming head above the canyon walls. I had just returned to camp from a quick trip up the canyon on the buses for some photography. From the sky above, I hear a familiar sound and know at once that the local Peregrine falcon pair is on the move. But this time is different. The swooshing and slicing sound of the Peregrines ripping through the air sounds much more active this time. I look up and spy both falcons. But between the falcons, is a single white-throated swift. Dinner time for the peregrine pair. The pair, while I was not looking, had singled out a single swift from dozens of others zipping through the air high above. The swift was zigging and zagging, trying every maneuver it knew. One falcon, in a headlong dive, descended upon the swift. The swift narrowly escaped. But the falcons are not flustered by the miss. While the falcon had attacked the swift, the other falcon was gaining altitude. After the swift escaped, the other falcon began his dive at the swift. While this occured, the first falcon gained altitude for another attack. On and on they went, constantly shifting positions in the sky, one attacking, one preparing to attack. I was awestruck. I stared at the sky for several minutes after they had disappeared behind the horizon. There are few things that impress upon me this feeling of power. I have felt the same thing after pushing a huge boulder off the top of a mountain and watching it bounce and pound down the slope and shatter at the bottom (naughty, naughty, naughty...I know! And I will never do it again...along with the risk of injuring/killing people below me, the power that I felt from the rock tumbling down was too much for me...it is too frightening to feel such power). I have felt the same after standing too close to a train as it blows by at top speeds. The peregrine pair, however small in size, emanated this same feeling. I said "wow" several times afterwards. I never saw if they caught the swift. But I would not be surprised if they had.
Posted by Jesse DeVoe at 5:18 PM