According to Anne Walka, a writer and naturalist, there are three sins in writing: using empty words, using too many words, and trying to sound “cool.” Sitting in the sun on Comb Ridge, just west of the small town of Bluff, UT, she challenges Semester in the West students to call out their favorite verbs. A wilderness guide-turned-poet, Anne is the author of books including Waterlines: Journeys on a Desert River and Walking the Unknown River (And Other Travels in Escalante Country). Her comfort in the desert landscape around Comb Ridge is plain to see as she guides us in noticing the place we are in; what it sounds like, what it tastes like, what it feels like. “Can you think of anything as quiet as a lizard’s shadow?” she asks.
By Kenzie Spoone