drove west on the same road, throughrnTres Piedras and over the San Juans,rnrolling and open to the sky, draining intorna vast basin of broken forests and widernsnowfields, cobalt and white in thernspringtime haze, the whole country runningrnwith the wet aliveness of spring.rnWater ran out from under the snowbanksrnbeside the highway, and pasturelandrnalong the Chama River lay underrnseveral inches of water. In Chama,rnconstruction crews were building on tornmotels and repairing roads, readying therntown for the coming tourist season.rnProceeding west, I entered the JicarillarnApache reservation, where eight yearsrnbefore Dwight Bridges and I had beenrntemporarily imprisoned behind a gaternpadlocked after us by an Indian on horsebackrnwho gave us a hard look as wernpassed through. He was a very tall, veryrnlean, very dark Indian, with a centuryrnof hate in his black eyes. When we returnedrnon the same road an hour later wernwere compelled to take down a sectionrnof his fence to get the truck through.rnHaving observed him make a mentalrnnote of the license number, we put thernfence in place again afterward.rnIn this springtime world of perpetualrnmotion, I wanted to stay in motion too.rnThe aborigines of Australia are given tornwhat they call walkabouts. You take offrnone day on a trek across the continent,rnand return when you have a mind to.rnAbos believe that the country, the landscape,rnexists hrst as a mental concept, requiringrnto be perceived by human beingsrnand then sung: in this way only it is summonedrninto actual existence. “Singingrnup the country” they call it: a beliefrncongruent with an idea of the aboriginalrnFor Immediate ServicernCHRONICLESrnNEW SUBSCRIBERSrnTOLL FREE NUMBERrn1-800-877-5459rnpoet Thomas Fleming, who argues thatrna region or area acquires reality from beingrnwritten about. The Old Ones arernwise, listen to the Old Ones. Briefly Irnconsidered detouring to Chaco Canyon,rnover 100 miles to the southwest. Therndesert home of that long-abandoned cityrnwould be drying now under a climbingrnsun, the lingering snowdrifts shrinkingrnslowly on the shadow side of the oppositerncliffs and slumping behind the stony dormitories.rnThe canyon itself is unspectacular,rndry and dead-looking as the soul ofrna BLM man, a place to run cattle in. Thernruins, though interesting, are not asrnimpressive as the tourists—thirsty forrnmystery, romance, and deadness—claimrnto find them. Around the time the seedrncorn that produced the mummified littlerncobs that can still be found lyingrnaround Anasazi ruins today was beingrnsown on the sandy canyon floor, Aquinasrnwas writing the Summa Theologica;rnwhen these buildings of ungrouted sandstonernrock were under construction, thernTower of London already stood. If anyonernwere seriously to propose housingrnhomeless people or inner-city delinquentsrnin these cramped and primitivernquarters where sunworshippers oncernpranced and Kokopelli, the hunchbackedrnminstrel, fluted on the rockyrnheights, the entire complex would berntorn down at once and replaced by an extensivernparking lot, lovingly maintainedrnin perpetua by the Park Service.rnIn Cortez, Colorado, I stopped torninquire about a place to board a horsernovernight on my trip south to the Gilarnin June, and in the morning continuedrnup to Moab, Utah, where they had arnmarathon in progress: sunscreened menrnwith washboard abs, not all of themrnAdonises, and women of every age andrnshape flopping around inside their sportrnbras and shorts. Warning signs stood inrnthe road going out of town and Moab’srnfinest leaned against their parked cruisersrnto guard and cosset the runners, eachrnand every one beloved by the MoabrnChamber of Commerce and other sponsorsrnof the event. I looked around for EdrnAbbey’s ghost and found him in the personrnof a particularly repellent-lookingrnturkey buzzard, leering obscenely from arnslickrock parapet above the highway.rnThe highway crossed over the ColoradornRiver and climbed out of the bottom,rnpast the entrance to Arches NaturalrnMonument from which Ed’s old ranger’srntrailer was long ago removed by relicrnseekers. I turned off at the sign to DeadrnHorse Point, followed the switchbacksrnup to the plateau, and threw up a tent inrna grassy swale surrounded by rock and juniperrntrees, a mile from the blacktop.rnMounds of pale Navajo sandstone likernpetrified puddings rose above the lowrnforest stretching southeast to DeadrnHorse Point, the geographical focus ofrnAbbey’s finest essay where he recountsrnhelping to find and remove the carcass ofrnan ignorant unwary tourist in the 1960’s.rnWhy, Abbey wonders scornfully, did thisrnman, knowing death to be inevitable,rnchoose to embrace it in the form of arnbloated leaking corpse, rather thanrnlaunch himself from the cliff edge intornthe clean empyrean? Well, Ed, becausernit isn’t the American way today. Yournknew that. Know that. Perhaps therernwill be more dead men at Dead HorsernPoint this season.rnGathering wood for a fire I overturnedrna stone slab and exposed a pygmy rattlerrnenjoying his RIM sleep beneath it. Anotherrnhour or so and he would have wakenedrnon his own to go in search of breakfast.rnHe was a short fat snake, writhingrndesperately as he rolled from the sandstonerncropping to the ground. I hazedrnhim solicitously away from camp, andrnbuilt a fire ring where the grass grewrnthinly. Hurrying to escape from Moab Irnhad neglected to stop at the City Marketrnto buy supper. There were granola bars,rncrackers, and a can of tuna fish in therndaypack, and half a bottle of wine, water,rnand staling coffee grounds in the camprnboxes. I built a fire and sat with my backrnagainst the rock, watching the earlyrnspring cumulus drift above the plateaurntoward the La Sal Mountains across thernColorado. The clouds were dark, edgedrnwith gold where they were backlit by thernsinking sun. One, taller than the rest,rnwas in the shape of a man, or god, blackrnwith woe and wisdom and bearing in hisrnhand a vaporous spear, or staff. He camernon as I watched, treading down the sky,rnpassed overhead with a sudden rush ofrnair and the sound of wind in the trees,rnand moved off toward the mountains:rnstately, unhurried but intent, as if hernmeant to spend the night there.rnA journey is a fragment of Hell,rnthe Muslims say. Arriving home, thernwanderer has nowhere else to go. Homernis the place where, when you go there,rnyou’re stuck. For a while, anyway.rnIn Kemmerer, Wyoming, the followingrnafternoon I found the house immobilizedrnin drifts of snow, and a gray windrnblowing. ern50/CHRONICLESrnrnrn