Had a river run through Mike’s life, it would be the Colorado River, because his course in life was deep, and this River has cut deep down into the rock of the Colorado Plateau and is wildly incomparable in age to the rock which has endured for almost two billion years, as long as the most hardened rock can be expected to endure, and, at six million years of age, this river has accomplished much, and it bends around obdurate rock, cuts into softer composite rock, seeps into and mellows sedimentary rock, and anywhere an obstacle stands in its way, it seems to have burst through.
And so, it was with a Man, who rose to life in the altitude of a plateau, and, as he grew in strength, he went deeper into life, which, like the Pelican, gives of itself, so that life flourishes in others. And, though, he had a mother and a father, the father and mother in him were unexpressed, and he lives, newly sprung, in his friends' memories, as varied as are the many temperaments of this River, and his paternity is written all over this book, though, it has a posthumous existence and came to life en la luz de la sombra de su ausencia.
This River flows through lands long inhabited, where past and future cast present shadows, under the eye of the sun, but not all shadows are visible, and the Valley of the Shadow of Death, in Death Valley, is the shadow of absent rain, and a dry riverbed, the shadow of a flowing river, and the crepusculum of the third day, sheds a still small light on the first day of life.
The old stories say the Ancient Bearded One took red clay from earth below and air from above and breathed life into the first woman and, next, into the first man, and it went without saying that He formed woman in His own image, all things in Creation, He created them in His image, in the image of the form of His mind, and He made broad spaces in the canyons, next to the River, from which the endonym, Mojave, is derived, the wide place by the water, a generic toponym, Rehoboth, in Hebrew, and unique to Broadway, and through Him, people learned how to build houses, to plant seeds, to ask for the monsoons, and to grow crops. With His aid, people defeated cannibals and became civilized. Then, one day, Owl, who long ago was an ogre came upon the hair or nails of the Creator, or Coyote runs off with some half devolving thing and drops it in the desert where it grows while falling apart and nurturing its resentment, or the Creator's offspring, never as generous or powerful like their progenitor, in innocence or with craft and guile, consult the witches who know the things of their Father's past, and, always, up to mischief, they watch, and, when the Creator consumes juice of the agave, or chews peyote, or dances the sacred dances, and, inebriated, sleeps, these offspring seek the fetish that contains His power, and in so doing kill Him, and His flesh and bones begin to stink, and, by His example, the people that He loves learn that dead bodies are taboo, even that of a loving God, but there is always one Man who remembers the invisible things in which the power of God resides, and, always witnesses to the things He says or does, and, though, god has died, the people do not despair, for He returns, and this is the way the people are instructed, by means of His love and by His example, in the practice of mourning.
The head of this River, that runs through Mike, lies in the Colorado Plateau, a geological entity consisting of a block of dense rock many miles thick, on a foundation comprised of the oldest rock known, some two billion years old, visible at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. The River, was once thought to have cut an average of over 5000 feet, accelerating as the plateau was uplifted, and, with its tributaries, and other ancillary erosive consequences, came to be some many miles wide. But so contradictory is the evidence of what occurred, over so long a period, and, yet, with so much of the geological record intact, whether this River is the same River, moment to moment, or was more than one River, running through other Paleo Grand Canyons, not yet in existence, but foretold, and these questions make this River, as it is running through many heads, a different River, but the same, and considered by all a Wonder. But following the followed to the letter in this River, and, yet, can be understood to work because of this River, for when drinking of this river, shall he lift up the head and reason with himself and whoever comes to this River, as to all other rivers, comes with an open heart, freely confessing his heart's wonder at the preparation that allows his heart to commune with God, whose holy sanctuary this is, ribbed and vaulted with stone, the pink desert being its westward oculus, Turquoise, Abalone, Obsidian, and White Mountains marking its sacred perimeter.
From Four Points, in the land between the Rivers, to the mountain called Moriah, where in His Name, He revealed Himself to Abraham, pulling apart, pulling together, from beyond two billion years, as Vishnu, in the time of enormities and wonders, caused the entrainment of this Plateau, a dense rock, carried on top of the other debris. Nor is it the least believable thing, in a region whose prophets and madmen, with a monkey wrench, would drive out the money changers, dam builders, Ephraimites, and the sentimental, and the sacred place of Hajj is girded with His Name, and his many names solve into the Holy Name, and a monocline is his way of grief, and where human tears are tributary to the river of life, flowing from the Word, a watchman stands by his tower and this signifies that the Lord is in his Holy Temple and, coming to him as living stones . . . a holy priesthood is witness to this and praises Him.
And were there a brother to this Colorado River, it would be the Rio Grande – this river’s crown, an act of faith, on the part of those who traverse the wide and desolate waste, and steadfast beam on of staunchest wood by which means its waves and shallows are navigable, its headwaters rising in the Rocky Mountains of Southern Colorado, and West of Taos pueblo, the river has cut a canyon, some eight hundred feet deep, through depositions of gravel and volcanic rock laid down in the Pleistocene and Holocene epochs, eruptions ending about the time Cheops laid plans for his mortuary cult, but, though, it is roughly the same age as the Colorado River, it still has much excavating to do, and as it continues its descent through Central New Mexico, it follows the course of the Rio Grande Rift, a depression in the Earth's crust, running north to south, filled in with a three-mile- deep bed of sediment. Along this Rift Valley, the Southwestern part of the North American Continent, is separating from its smoother and denser basement rock, on which two thirds of the Lower Forty- eight is situated, a marriage, heretofore, of convenience and adjacency, admitting impediments, in this nation, at any rate, conceived by a continent in the throes of an abstraction, giving rise to a contradiction, that is a tautology, uniformly unique among different individuals, akin to a feud between the Hatfield's and McCoy's.