Do you remember in those old Western movies, the Marshall was chasing outlaws who were trying to make it to Mexico? If they made across the border, the Marshal would abruptly pull up his horse, announcing he was out of his jurisdiction. The fugitives had escaped into a place of sanctuary.
With cell phones and computers, there are few places to escape to anymore that guarantee sanctuary from pursuers. A couple of weeks ago, I managed to escape with one of my closest friends, affectionately known as The Cosmic Peg. Twenty years ago, we would regularly escape for three and four day camping trips. Over the last several years, however, it’s become harder for us to get away; but even if we have only a day and night, we can still manage to escape.
Our first escape was into the Waffle House. We retreated from the world of healthful food into an orgy of fat and carbs. If you go to the Waffle House during certain hours, you can order unlimited food, and it’s made to order. They’ll make you pancakes, waffles, eggs with home-fried potatoes smothered in onions and covered with cheese, a bowl of grits, chili, and a cheeseburger. By the time you finish, your face is beginning to get numb, your eyelids are drooping, and your bowels are screaming for mercy.
We continued our escape three miles down a dirt road to a secret hot spring that we know. After days of rain, the road was inches deep in mud and we were lucky to get out. We ended up at Tonto Natural Bridge State Park which features the world’s largest travertine bridge — 180 feet high, 400 feet long and about 100 feet thick on top.
Mid-week and mid-winter, in a drizzling rain, and we were here alone; we had crossed the border, and without pursuers. We descended into the narrow gorge of exposed sandstone, contrasting vegetation, and lots of birds, into a magical world of waterfalls, deep pools, and hidden caves; it is a world that makes the awesome visible.
No matter how hard it is to escape from your ordinary world, there is always a way to find a place where the only sound is falling rain. Where the afternoon sun creates a stroboscopic effect so you can watch a single drop of water fall for hours, and nobody can find you except yourself.