The Site

There was a moment of
uncertainty. What if
I didn’t recognize it?
This site I had seen
a hundred times
in a photo.
This site that
really only existed
on the edge of my
imagination.

A nonsite.

It felt like we were
driving to the edge
of the world.
The road kept
curving before us,
making false promises
of a new view so
many times I wondered
if we had taken a
turn too soon or maybe
she meant “right and then left”.
The clouds stay low and grey,
the grass always green,
the constant gravel
road gently rising and
dipping, cows looking up
curiously with sleepy eyes,
rocks multiplying as
they lead their way
up the foothills.

Logically, I knew
it was there. I hadn’t
figured out how to read
the website concerning
the water levels, so
I just kept hoping the
water would be shallow
enough for us to see
the pink waters swirling
around it so that I
could dip my toes in.

There it is! I mean, the lake,
I don’t think that’s the
Jetty.
It was too straight
and the water wasn’t
pink. Anticipation
started to build. I felt
like I was coming back
home to see a long lost
cousin. I leaned forward,
my hands pressing into
the front corners of my
seat, my eyes searching the
water’s edge as it
began to recede.

Another turn up the hill.

Another line of rocks.

Shorter.

Curved.

That’s it!

I must have tried getting
out of the car. “Okay!
We’re almost there!”

The road kept climbing up.
The pink waters lay on
the horizon, just out of reach.

Then there was the end of
the road.

And the end of the world
sitting just below me.

Here is where history
repeated itself. Repeats
itself. On this site. I
sat on the edge of the hill,
the pilgrimage too steep and
rocky for me to complete,
forever the observer.
The view was beautiful.
The clouds low and grey
over us, the waters
seeming to cut into
the mountains on the
horizon and leading
toward forever, the
Spiral surrounded by sand,
except for a few small
puddles of salty pink,
leading me back to shore,
and the wind just enough
to remind me to breathe.

Katerina Marks
23 May 2016
I visited the Spiral Jetty, an earthwork by Robert Smithson, on 20 May 2016.
It is intact for me.