I wonder what exactly has prompted this family to venture into this infamous and yet alien body of saline water. For three years I have come here sometimes every day, and never seen a single person walk out in the Great Salt Lake in this area. For as long as I have known there had been a "no vehicles beyond this point" sign posted at the entrance through the bizarre dystopian landscape along the pier, a grim reminder at Rozel Point, that the thirst for wealth knows no boundaries, until someone removed it last month.
My languid body turns slowly in space in the soft ripple of waves and every muscle seems to shock and tense as I touch the sand and look up. It sounds as if someone has been approaching for a long time and is getting closer but I see no one. I relax again thinking that maybe I am in some higher state of consciousness hearing the cumulative sound of movement in the water coalescing at some point within the Great Salt Lake. Then I realize, "no that is definitely someone tromping through the water." The sound has been a constant of which I have had a very conscious awareness, but it seems to be getting louder, as if heading in my direction, where I would just as soon they see a corpse and pass on. The water warbles out for miles like someone dropped a tiny pebble in a small glass or pool of black, still water, the surface is stir so lightly one can almost hear the plop or clink, and still I see no one, but now it is very distinctly the sound of water sloshing behind someone's calves as they tromp. My cumulative wave theory is not correct. I don't know if ripples make a sound, though they must because they disturb the air, but I have listened and heard the sound of tiny bubbles bursting across the entire surface of the Great Salt Lake when the water was so still it looked like it has never moved, which is probably its most natural and perfect state. That is what the silence here is like, acoustic sound for bubbles vanishing into thin air. The silence at the
Great Salt Lake is a remnant of the world prehistory.
It is getting late and there is enough smoke in the air from wild land fires to obscure the stars. I pack up my belongings and scrub the salt off my body and pull my shirt on. I can feel places I didn't get on my back because my shirt sticks and feels uncomfortable. I reach down from the back of my neck and scrub the coarse salt from the soft skin on the middle of my back and pull my shirt off and shake out the salt dust. In the faded evening light I see the erratic behavior of taillights. As I approach the off-kilter lights of the car, the engine revs to a pitch. The tires stir on the ground the gears turned sound as if they are grinding mud and the frame jolts as the brake lights glow. It seems as if the car itself is in a struggle with the mud. Five or six men and boys move anxiously around the car making room for others as a full effort is underway. A man shouts commands at everyone and the driver, and it does sound like this is something he does all time. A woman steps away from the situation as I near with my OP sandals flapping my heels and stares at me. For all this time, the placement of a small sign had the unintentional consequence of paying respect to a world one should not ignore, but walk and ponder carefully on this street of cobbled stone.
Yet here they are, stepping into the unknown.