September 28, 2016

Yucca Processing

Hollis Moore
Muley Point
September 14, 2016

Jenn told us about the basin with the cottonwoods on top of Cedar Mesa. It took me a while to find it. I was so distracted by the edge. This is a place of “ghost water”. The salt cedars and cottonwoods give away the clue. Drinking up any visible water, they left a bare basin. A bowl for me to make a yucca print. A place to process the yucca fibers. A day to listen the sounds of my tool muddled by the wind.

September 27, 2016

Sense of Place in Sound

Molly Zimmer
Muley Point

September 8, 2016

The sense of a place you get from spending time in one location begins to reveal itself as a gesture: sound, touch, smell, and movement create your experience that lasts long after you leave.

At Muley Point, the ancient sand dunes are formed through the effects of water eroding, collecting in tinajas; creating unique densities in each rock. When these stones fall or become separated from the cliff edge in the expansion of freezing and thawing, they create a distinct sound. It echoes in the naturally occurring amphitheater acoustics, and breaks apart upon impact, or continues to tumble down impervious to the stones it contacts.

Stones became what I saw as the gesture of Muley Point, UT. Color, density, sound, and movement of each one prompted me to make a video demonstrating this process.

“Don’t Bust the Crust”

By Nancy Dewhurst
Muley Point

September 6th, 2016

Last night we arrived at Muley Point after an eventful day of exploding fix-a-flat. I slept outside in a Tijana due to fear of my tent blowing over the edge of the mesa.

A Tijana (not the one I slept in)

September 26, 2016

For the Creatures of the Desert

By Kaitlin Bryson
Muley Point
September 8, 2016

It was a sweet relief to find myself in the aridity of this Mesa. I have a profound reverence for the old Pinyons and Junipers that populate the complex and complicated soil structure, which the lichens, microorganisms, and sparse rainfalls are slowly constructing. I wandered through the ancient landscape and found the indentations of numerous tinajas (basins) pocketing the sandstone boulders. These pools blossom after a rainfall and provide the desert’s creatures (plants, animals, soilweb, fungi, etc.) with life-giving waters. The observation of this made me reflect on a previous experiment in which I was dragging a large stone behind me in a giant circle as a meditation and dedication to the process of grieving. This action was physically difficult and put me in a trance-like state. Unfortunately, it was also a form a destruction to the ground below. This left me deeply troubled. Once I saw the tinajas, I decided that I wanted to grind the stone down and create a basin with my own hands. It would be an ode to grief, but also make a mark with the potential to hold or foster life, instead of destroy it.
an existing tinaja

I grinded on the sandstone slab for 20 hours over the course of three days. The action was laborious beneath the pounding heat and against the wind, my body folded over in constant effort. And yet, I managed to make a small impression in the sandstone that will hold water and ultimately give life to the creatures of this land. I know that through time and with more rainfall, water will pool in this space and the lichens and innumerable microorganisms will enter and begin to work to make the tinaja wider and deeper, enriching its effect.  

the first hour of work

The work quickly became a constant meditation in which I was able to sift through my grief and also get outside of my normal thinking patterns and instead focus on the abundant life that resiliently resided around me. There are many trees and brush growing directly out of the rocks, windblow on the edge of the cliff. They are dwarfed, maybe growing just a few inches per year.  And yet, they are able to live in this incredibly difficult environment thanks to the community they share with one another, with their ecosystem, as with the ground—the Earth—itself. The plant roots are connected through a symbiotic mycorrhizal network that permeates the soil and sandstone. Because of this partnership the plants are able to get the nutrients that they need from the deeper soils that are composed of more organic matter further north. One thought that came through strongly for me was that this nourishment and support is much like my own grieving and, in a larger sense, like the act of existing. All beings independently occupy their own small corner of space, but all need one another (humans and nonhumans alike) for nutrients, for life, for support.  

the finished tinaja

September 25, 2016


By Hamshya Rajkumar
Muley Point
September 9, 2016

The vast Desert is silent.
In silence and solitude, I can locate myself.
I closed my eyes and I danced to the wind.
Ananda (bliss*)

It has been a long time since I tuned into my surrounding.

September 24, 2016

Water: Soundscapes and Color

Molly Zimmer

September 2, 2016

My goal is for my creative process to connect intuitively and viscerally to the readings I have chosen about a collective sense of place, movement, and the transformative experience water has on the environments we visit. In each location, I will ask myself, “How does water transform this place?” I will observe, mediate, write and read poetry.

In the Rio Grande Headwaters, water becomes the force of transition. Rains wash and permeate the soil. The river swiftly moves with the sound of water constantly flowing. One way that I am exploring this sense of movement is through soundscapes and color, derived from the Aspen trees turning yellow in the fall. Water is fluid and reveals the nature of objects around it. Whether that be through the water leaving leaves that turn yellow, or the way that water travels around rocks in a river. It vibrates when it clashes with large jutting rocks, and glides smoothly by rounded stones, curling fluidly to travel downstream.