Shimmering bloated masses of yellow, red, and brown sandstone surrounded me as I reclined in the blazing sun. The afternoon sky was as dark blue as I have ever seen it. And far below me, the crystal clear water filling the canyon reflected the color of the sky, barely revealing the shadowy depths beneath the surface. Hot bone-dry air wafted lazily over my sweaty skin, fluttering through my long blond hair.
This place is an improbable witch's brew of landscaping: one part stark moonscape, one part tropical beach, and one part Sahara Desert. It was originally Glen Canyon, until the government built a towering dam and filled the valley with a lake that swallows up over more than 200 miles of the Colorado River, just above the Grand Canyon. My friend Ellen in Albuquerque had to convince me to come to the Lake, since I was predisposed to think unkindly toward a place that had been transformed by man's hands from a canyon to an inland sea.
But when I came to visit Ellen, she insisted that this was a place not to be missed, despite the regrettable heritage of its creation. She lent me her backpacking equipment and car, and convinced a friend to let me use his little Boston Whaler that he kept anchored at one of the three marinas on the Lake. Ellen practically pushed me out the door and sent me on my way to Page, Arizona, where I packed my supplies and equipment into the boat and rode off into the choppy waters. In the summer, it is one of the most popular National Recreation Areas in the country, and the waters near the marinas are plied by hundreds of houseboats and high-speed water-skiers. But this being late September, there was hardly anyone else out on the Lake. The water was still quite warm from the summer, and within fifteen minutes, I was able to motor into a cliff-lined little bay and go skinny-dipping. Navaho Mountain dominated the skyline; it is an incredible flat-topped butte that reminded me of Devil's Tower (made famous in the movie "Close Encounters of the Third Kind"). Once I got naked and wet, the Mountain also resembled my hardened nipples which jutted out through the surface of the water as I floated on my back.
Ellen had warned me that there were very few places to pull the boat out of the water, since the steep canyon walls normally slope right into the lake. She suggested that I had better get as far up the Lake as I could the first day, so that I could search for a beach that was secluded and unoccupied. So I pulled myself out from the gentle embrace of the tepid waters, and resumed my journey. The surreal scenery slid past me, putting me in a languid state of mind. I headed up several of the many side canyons, and eventually found a teeny little sandy spot where I could beach the boat. But there was no level sight to set up my tent. So I hoisted the loaded pack onto my back and started up a little foot-trail that meandered around the huge boulders, up and into a narrow crevice in the cliffs. It was still early afternoon, so I had enough time to explore this possibility, and if it didn't work out, I could always go back to the boat and try for another spot. The climbing was hard and the canyon walls were claustrophobic, reaching hundreds of feet over my head. But when I climbed up on top of one of the rocks, I could see a brighter, wider area ahead. Onward I trudged.
When I reached the open area at the head of the ravine, the contrast was dizzying. A huge bowl-shaped amphitheater rose up from where I stood, maybe half a mile across. It was like being an ant crawling around the drain of a bathtub. The buttery-yellow stone surfaces were smooth and soft looking, but the upper rim of the bowl was ragged with the mountainous serrations. A few scraggly pale-green cottonwood trees were clumped off to one side of me, their roots searching for some unreliable underground spring in this otherwise barren landscape.
In an attempt to get out of the shadows of the cliff, I climbed further up into the bowl, scrambling along the top of a finger-like ridge. With no boulders impeding my progress, I quickly gained altitude until I found myself on a (more-or-less) flat shelf halfway up to the summit, and beyond this spot, the slope became even more steep and smooth. I could climb no further, and I had found the perfect place to set up camp. Over to one side there was even a little overhanging fold in the stone skin. It hardly ever rains here, but the idea of sleeping in this shallow cave seemed reassuring. I dropped my heavy pack at the entrance to the grotto, and then walked back out to the edge of the shelf. That is when I encountered the view that I described at the beginning of this story. I had climbed high enough to see back over the narrow crevice that had led me to the bowl, and stretched out across the horizon was the dark blue expanse of the main body of the Lake. Beyond that, the far shore was a sheer wall of dark red rock streaked with wildly twisted bands of black. Way off in the distance, a ridge of mountains was dappled with a splattering of the first snowfall of the year. Yet where I stood, it was quite warm, and the perspiration from my arduous climb was slicked over my body and soaking my white singlet shirt. Being as alone as I knew that I was, I took the opportunity to strip off all of my clothes and wipe myself clean with a little water from my canteen.
Then I turned back to the incredible tableau surrounding me. It was so enlivening, so exhilarating. I stretched my arms high into the air, threw my head back and impetuously hollered at the blazing sun with a high-pitched shriek. Many seconds later, I was shocked to hear someone else scream back at me from across the wide amphitheater. I instinctively covered my breasts and groin with my hands, before I caught myself for being so silly. What I had heard was a perfect echo of my own voice, reflecting back at me off the far wall. The incredible strength and clarity of the reverberation was due to the focusing curvature of the cliff face. I laughed at my unfounded fears, and my laugh bounced right back at me. I found that I could sing a meandering duet, accompanied by myself, of course.
As I sang I performed a liquid, improvised dance, solely for the enjoyment of my echo-self observer. I don't normally consider myself to be much of a dancer. In fact, I sort of dropped out of ballet class in Junior High School, out of embarrassment for my clumsiness. But today, I was like Martha Graham performing the world premier of "Appalachian Spring".... I was like a full-fledged member of Pilobous Dance Theater.... I was the famous feather in "Forrest Gump," floating effortlessly, barely touching the ground. All of my body succumbed to the sensuous feeling of the moment.
And when things get this sensuous for me, I am always teased by the temptation to masturbate. I had only my echo-self as the voyeuristic observer to my increasingly erotic dance. I felt free to touch myself, rubbing the flats of my palms up my torso and onto my swaying breasts, rubbing my hard nipples into the resilient flesh. Then, in a coordinated motion, my head tipped back so that my hair flailed onto my shoulders, and one of my hands slid down to my crotch as I let my knees bend so that I was squatting on the smooth stone of the ledge. My knees splayed outward, and my fingers found their way into the wet and sleek canyon splitting the bulging mesa of my vulva. In the bottom of that chasm, where the waters churned down the rapids, my clitoris stuck up like a boulder through the chaotic white-water. My fingers were like kayaks, bumping up against the hard rock, again and again, keeping up the rhythm that I had established with my dancing. I bobbed up and down on the balls of my feet, and my breasts and head rolled around wildly. The pinching on my nipples and prodding of my clitoris brought forth hoarse and primitive grunts from my throat that reverberated back at me from across the bowl. Incredibly, the echoes seemed louder than my original sounds.
I have no idea whether I took minutes or hours to reach the climax of my masturbation. I was lost in the primal immediacy of the moment, transported from self-absorbed gratification into a feeling of being connected with nature. Clouds, skin, cliffs, sweat, tumbleweed, hair, pebbles, nipples, sunshine, labia, echoes,.... orgasm. It started as gentle breeze, and built up to a howling, spectacular storm within my loins, lightening striking out into all the interdependent elements of my taut body. I shrieked in the total ecstasy of the experience.
And then suddenly, my calf cramped up from the stress of squatting for so long. Perhaps it took a few seconds for the sharp pain to open the door to my distracted consciousness, for before I knew it, I was falling off my birdlike perch and off to one side. Just in time, I pulled my wet hand out of the twitching folds of my cunt, and used it to absorb much of the momentum of my tumble. But that in turn caused me to spin forwards, and I felt the course surface of the sandstone scrape across the tender skin of my forehead. I lay there flat on the rock, stretching my leg to work out the cramp. At the same time, I traded my sweat and leaking vaginal juices for the heat that radiated from the sun- heated rock. Some of that perspiration dripped down my face into my eyes, and the saltiness stung me into clenching my eyelids shut. I was in such a daze that when I reopened them, I thought I was seeing the world through rose-colored glasses. Then I realized that it was blood from my forehead, and that startled me back into awareness.
I forced some discipline into my mind and my muscles, and pulled myself up into a sitting position. I fought off the dizziness, and scrambled on all-fours back toward the cave, where I pulled the first-aid kit out of my pack. Using a little compact mirror that I had thrown in at the last minute, I cleaned the scrape, applied some ointment, and covered it with a bandage. I was surprised at what else the mirror revealed: the face of a wild woman, hair tangled and snarled, warpaint of dirt and blood smudged on my cheeks. My eyes blazed with the lust and exhilaration of my masturbation. I again swabbed the sweat off my body, and washed my cunt, but I left on my warpaint. It signified that I was free and alive and confidently alone-a brave Indian warrior, linked in some unimaginable way with the ancient Anasazi Indians that last roamed these lands a thousand years ago.
As all this happened, so was the sun starting to go down, and I used the last hour of natural light to set up my campsite and make some dinner for myself. A meal of dehydrated stew is not usually my favorite thing, but that evening, it was made perfect by the accompaniment of the spellbindingly splendid sunset. With only my little candle- lantern for illumination, I put away my cook set, and crawled into my snugly sleeping bag, still as naked as I had been all afternoon. Before I extinguished the candle, I studied the smooth walls of the cave, and was surprised to see faint drawings, which I immediately realized were Anasazi cave paintings. They were hard to make out in the faint light, but I could see the images of stick figures holding up round shields and short spears or clubs. The one closest to me even had a stick-figure cock drooping down between the stick legs. Something to dream about, I thought, as I blew out the flame, and within minutes, I was asleep, exhausted by my first day on Lake Powell.
I awoke in the middle of the night with the urgent need to relieve my bladder. When I returned to my sleeping bag, I sat up and looked out over the bowl-shaped valley laid out in front of me. It was bathed in the silvery light of the full moon, and stars by the billions twinkled in the velvet black sky. As the evening passed into night, the temperature had dropped, and I found myself huddling into the down- filled nylon. Too bad, I thought, that there were no bits of wood up here in the cave for me to make a fire. I was just starting to feel the heaviness of sleep begin to return when, out of the corner of my eyes, I thought I saw something move. But when I turned toward the cave's wall, I couldn't see anything unusual. Then again, I was confused by my memory of the cave paintings that I had seen the evening before. Where I recalled seeing the stick-figure warrior with his cock hanging down..., now there was only bare rock.
Suddenly, the light from the moon was blocked out by a form at the mouth of the cave. A jolt of fear struck at my solar plexus, and my breath caught in my throat. I was maybe 50 miles from any kind of civilization, and the few other people that were vacationing on the lake were probably far away. There was no help to be had if I was in danger from this intruder, whether it was an animal or a human. My eyes focused on the silhouette, and now I could see that it was indeed a person. The particular thing I noticed was that he had a huge head. As my eyes further resolved the details of the shapes, it came to me all-at-once that it was not just his head, or even a hat. It was some sort of Indian head- dress, studded with stiff feathers and bits of fur, surrounding but not covering his shadowed face.
The man entered further into the cave, and stood a few feet from the end of my sleeping bag. With the moonlight now shining onto him, I could now be certain that he was indeed an Indian, with the round-faced appearance of one of the Pueblo dwellers that have descended from the Anasazi. These are wonderfully peaceful and honorable peoples, and this recognition helped put me more at ease. But I was still left wondering how he had found me in this dark and isolated wilderness. If he was nearby this afternoon, had he watch me dance and masturbate, exposing my body not only to the sun, but perhaps his prying eyes?
In addition to his headdress, he was wearing only two other articles of clothing. Covering his chest was a vest made of many narrow horizontal white bars, perhaps made of bone or wood. They formed a kind of washboard pattern from his neck to his belly. And covering his crotch was a loose loin cloth, barely covering his drooping genitals. In the moonlight, everything appeared in degrees of black, gray and white, disguising the vibrant colors that would normally be seen in this ceremonial costume. Everything about him spoke of strength and serenity. He stood over my body with an erect stance, arms crossed over his chest. His physique was magnificent, arms and legs sculpted with long, full muscles. And his eyes bore directly into mine, silently communicating to me that I was safe with this stranger, despite the unusual and threatening circumstances of his arrival. Instinctively, without reservation, I let go of my fears, and opened my heart and my trust.
Despite the warm thoughts that filled me, I was still feeling the cold of the night air, and I wondered how the barefoot Indian could keep from shivering. Was he reading my mind? One of his arms stretched out straight and pointed to a spot on the ground about 6 feet from me. Instantly, a perfect campfire sprung to life where there had only been cold hard stone! Flames licked upwards from the small logs, piled tepee-fashion. Heat immediately struck against my cheek, and I reveled in both the miracle and the warmth. This was no ordinary stranger wandering into my campsite. I struggled to make sense of this magic, and then I recalled that one of the images from the cave paintings was missing from where I thought it should be. It seemed impossible to my logical mind, but the deeper truth was obvious. An ancestral Anasazi spirit-god had come back to life, and I dredged from my scatter-brained memory the name for these spirits: Kachina. I had seen pictures of these in a coffee- table book at Ellen's. In the light of the full-moon, in this cave hidden in the wild desert mesas of Glen Canyon, there stood before me a beautiful and stalwart Kachina, freed after a thousand years from his frozen stick-figure likeness on the cave wall.
While all these amazing realizations washed over me, the Kachina still stood with his finger pointed at the blazing fire, as if his organic energy was feeding the flames. Now his extended arm swept back over to my reclining body, joined by his other arm so that his palms were pressed together. After a long pause his palms hinged open. I could tell that he was trying to communicate something to me, but I couldn't interpret his sign language. When he repeated it, I was still unsure, but somehow, I inferred that he was suggesting that I take off my sleeping bag. Perhaps my initial suspicion was at least partly correct; from his two- dimensional presence on the cave wall, he might have watched me masturbating the previous afternoon. Could this episode somehow have given him the strength he needed to reanimate himself? I might have been misunderstanding what he was asking for with his body language, but I went on my gut instinct, taking the chance that I might be disrespectful to the Kachina. I unzipped the sleeping bag and spread it wide open, just as his palms had separated. I held myself up by placing my hands behind me on the ground. Answering his serene stare with my own, I thought perhaps I saw some little sparks dancing in the black irises of his eyes. Certainly there was no disapproval for my brazen action of disrobing completely.
Again, the Kachina repeated his signal of opening his palms, and I responded by letting my knees rise up off the ground toward my chest, and then fall away from each other. My two thighs were now angled outwards from my hips, forming a single straight line of golden flesh, broken only by the central nexus of my sparsely-furred cunt. My eyes remained locked on his gaze, as it calmly slid from my face, down over my breasts (which were thrust forwards by my posture), and over my taut tummy. Finally, I knew that he was staring right into my cunt. Without looking myself, I knew that my outer labia were pulled apart, for the dry air lapped its cold tongue at the tangy moisture of my fully exposed inner cunt.
Up to this point, I had been acting completely in response to the Kachina's wishes. After all, he was practically a god, and I was stunned by the magic of making the campfire appear. But it is not much in my nature to be at all submissive, even to the power of the supernatural. I wanted to be on more equal ground, here in the real world of living humans. Now it was my turn to try to communicate by sign language. I put a hand up in front of my face and crooked my finger repeatedly, beckoning him to come closer. This must be a universal, age-old signal, for he immediately reacted by closing the gap between us in two long strides. He now stood right between my wide-spread thighs, his arms again crossed over his chest. I leaned forwards and grabbed the backs of his hard-muscled thighs, and nuzzled my face into his crotch. He was still not at all erect but I forgave him since he had been out of practice for so long! And the potential was there, for his loin-cloth was bulging with its spongy contents.