289 Emily Elliott


Graduating with a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia, a striking surprise came to me in the form of a travel scholarship that would take me across the country to the opposite coast and through the southwest of the United States on a search for Martian territory and abounding grandeur. One such place that encapsulated this feeling entirely is Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, where sheer, yellow rockfaces plummet vertically down to wall in a tightly bending meander in the Colorado River. Hordes of lookers creep as close as they can stomach at the very cusp of the rim to peer down over the edge at the horseshoe of river far, far below. Astounded by the overwhelming mass of the cliff walls, they clamber over rocks and sand to get directly to the edge. Skirting to avoid this chaos of tourism and crowding, I found in the sand a tiny lizard smashed by trampling feet so that his guts exploded out from his side.  Completely beautiful and delicate, this wee thing had suffered from the mass eagerness to experience the monolithic.

As the squishy little body nearly broke my heart, I sifted him out of the sand and pocketed him for safe-keeping, later to bury in salt for drying. A poignant feeling echoes of the subtleties and delicate qualities which can be demolished when we scramble too eagerly to be in awe of a colossal spectacle.