Into the Unknown - The Great Salt Lake and the Grand Prehistoric Dominion - Gabriel Blackhelm
Powered by SmugMug Log In

La Terra Dei Morti

There is an eerie, yet familiar silence as I turn off the engine. I get out and walk along pier of stones through the splintered pylons and oil pits left on the shore of the Great Salt Lake by a Texas oilman. The strange appearance of the President of the United States alongside Russian president Vladimir Putin after their secret meeting is still reverberating on my mind. The obsequies manner with which the president would defer on all questions regarding Russian accountability was broken only upon a question posed to the Russian president as to whether or not the Kremlin had incriminating tapes on the U.S. president, "if there were any, they would have released them a long time ago, believe me." With all of the skeletons in his closet, the president is completely transparent. Vladimir Putin remains silent on this outburst, though it does not seem to go unnoticed. The irony of the conservative movement coming under the persuasion of the biggest foreign adversary of the United States in history though not unexpected, has an ominous feel. Corrosion has at last reached the veneer. It is not as if a beacon of light has been dimmed or gone dark, but that through the mouthpiece of a pathological liar, the darkness is willing to speak the truth.

I sometimes think of the Great Salt Lake as being prehistoric, but it is more like nonhistoric, or antihistoric, a sort of living chaos into which I descend and emerge cleansed or unidentified with the historic world. I vigorously scrub the salt off my arms and notice they have lost some muscle since I was last in the boxing gym. Lighting strikes in the dark clouds gathering on the other side of the Great Salt Lake. A magenta hue across the Great Salt Lake from the mountains on the peninsula to the Newfoundland Range far to the west, ghostly mountains full of tales that appear out of the darkness and vanish immediately. The scene reminds of leaving Promontory Peninsula late at night earlier this year and walking for miles into the wind and driving rain. Walking into complete blackness everything lights up as far as the eye can see and I think in this moment I am about to die.

I wake to a heavy wind in the early morning hours, and sensing a storm coming I arise and pack up my stuff and begin my exodus. A narrow path seems to make possible a passage through the middle of a cliff. I step carefully along the cleft with only a small flashlight loaded with fading batteries and a dim circle of light at my feet. Moonlight sparkles on the Great Salt Lake, though I can see the wind is being driven by a sky darker than night on the horizon. I search at the end of the path for the best direction to take along the slope with my little amount of light as a bottle of propane explodes with startling force in my backpack. I whirl around about to throw the pack to the ground as it stops and I realize I have no propane in my pack. There is a moment as it occurs to me I have no pressurized liquid in my pack. I peer into the dark and shine my bleak light onto the clefts of the path illuminating the rocks and grass behind me. I click the light off and stand there in the blackness in the sweeping wind waiting for another sound, a taunt, a warning... nothing.