This piece was inspired by a site in Arizona’s Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness, where in 2006 a campfire triggered the devastation of 4,000 acres. Visiting ten years later, the difference between the areas on either side of the fire line was still stark. I mourned the loss of the mesa’s trees but also noted new life slowly returning.
Hear an excerpt from the premiere performance by Cipher Duo:
Finally, away! from growling machines and crowds of squawking daytrippers into the faithful shade of Arizona cypress, pinyon and juniper. Copper earth murmuring to my soles; cactus faces beaming out from pockets of snow; sandstone walls standing guard as I climb sunny ledges, propelled into the magnet sky! I need to rest awhile among the skeletons of trees, branches blackened years ago by fire; grasses and manzanita recovering the wounds... and all alone, towering above them: a century plant, who survived the flames and reached up and burst into bloom— now lifeless. When we are very still, I hear whispering in a language I cannot understand. Let’s be quiet for a moment and listen.