First of all, I had to look up how to pronounce “cairn” correctly. I vacillate between ‘carn’ and ‘karen’. Apparently, it’s “karen” almost hiding that ‘e’ at the end so it’s one syllable.
Anyway, there’s an utter necessity of cairns in desert hiking. For the last two days we’ve been on amazing trails in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, but without the cairns, we’d be lost. There’s an almost divine intervention feeling about them to me, the way they are stacked by a (seemingly invisible) hand of another, a kind person (or god) who wanted to help me find my way. They give me joy. I feel like a kid finding one, a little giddy when I search and scan for one on some smooth surface of sliprock or in the wide sandy indentation of a dried riverbed. And there it is. A little gift. And my immediate satisfaction of having found it and knowing I am on the right path, like the whole hike is some scavenger hunt in a stunningly beautiful world. And what if I looked at life like that, even when it’s tangled and feels empty, or especially then. What if there are cairns out there for me; all I need to do is find them, follow them.
Cairns are beautiful, too. I like to add a rock on top sometimes as I go by to make them a little taller, a little easier to see.
Here are some photos from Canyonlands (Needles) and Arches National Parks, but nothing…nothing can capture the enormity of beauty there.
Stay safe everyone! Hope you see the cairns in your life, on your path. 😊❤️