It is so very quiet. I am in the desert of Utah, but just barely. Over there, those mountains are in Nevada and those are in Arizona. It is cold. High clouds moved in late last night, helping to keep it warmer than it could be. Yet, it is cold. A winter storm is approaching. I am bundled in a sweatshirt, a vest, and a fleece coat. It is very still, the quiet before the storm.
In the valley below me I can see a red dirt road leading towards a distant mountain range. The road intrigues me; from afar I have seen a very symmetric peak, a peak that I would like to climb. I think it is in the mountain range before me. It looks close, but the way it disappears in the desert haze tells me it is very distant. The road appears to be the key to reaching the peak. Yet, even if the road got close, it would be a long, hard journey to the mountain. As a result, the peak sits on the horizon, unvisited, surrounded by the quiet of the desert.
The peak, like much of the desert, exists under a set of rules completely alien to what we apply to our daily lives. It sits, day after day, without any intrusions. Time has no meaning, except when measured in millions of years. It is hard to get use to the different concept of time offered by the desert. If the rocks making up my symmetric peak�s summit are typical of this area, they will be of some ancient granite. Lower, the rock will be �bullet hard� limestone. The limestone is from the shells and bones of animals that died hundreds of millions of years ago. The limestone in this area is many hundreds of feet thick. How many years, how many centuries or millenniums did it take to form? In places, my peak might have the remnants of ancient beaches, now in the form of sandstone. Did the dinosaurs walk on those beaches? Was it quiet then as it is today?
I can tell by the way my peak is disappearing that is has started to snow there. The storm is approaching. How long will it take to get here? Who is measuring the time � me or the mountain? All too soon, even by my standards, I will be leaving here. But meanwhile, I will sit here, bundled in my clothing, listening to the silence of the desert and watching a storm racing towards me.