My teenage daughter fears snakes. Walking in the arroyo yesterday, this Vermont girl quizzes her grandmother about the possibility of encountering a rattlesnake. Never seen one, she’s assured. Moments later, a rattler slithers near her feet, and she screams.
She glares back at me, as if I’ve magically created what she considers a devilish creature. Between us lie spiny cholla cactus, red sand, thumbnail-sized wildflowers I don’t recognize at all. We are no longer in the lush land of the Green Mountains.
Searchingly, she peers into a cluster of tumbleweed and then back at me.
Gone, I say. She waits a moment longer and then offers, You can go first now.
The unexplainable thing in nature that makes me feel the world is big fat beyond my understanding – to understand maybe by trying to put it into form. To find the feeling of infinity on the horizon line or just over the next hill.
– Georgia O’Keeffe