We have passed out of Utah and into Colorado. The feeling of the transition is deep relief. It is green here.

The majesty and beauty of Arizona and Utah’s national parks will silence you, but they are still deserts. They are uncompromising in their barrenness. Life struggles at every step. We don’t know what happened to the people who originally settled there – the ones who left their stories in petroglyphs and who carved their homes into the stone – but I would put good money on the notion that some of their number, during one of their wide wanderings, found Colorado and decided not to go back.

It’s evolutionary, I think. We love trees and flowing water. To find a place like this is to survive.

Our path through the area is to go through the Rocky Mountains and up into Wyoming and Canada. But it was a kind of relaxed joy that led us to our first stop: Craig.

This small town hosts an annual WhittletheWood competition. Statues sprinkle the town as testaments to the art form of using a chainsaw to carve wood.

The competition started when a number of trees in the city park were diseased and needed to be cut down. There was a lot of hand wringing about that. In order to calm community outrage about the decision to remove the trees, they opted to exchange one form of art (nature) for another (chainsaw carvings). I wonder what Michelangelo would think.

We missed this year’s competition by a few weeks, but here’s a video – five hours compressed to five minutes.

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