The Call of the Canyon eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 219 pages of information about The Call of the Canyon.

An hour later she had bidden farewell to the weeping Mrs. Hutter, and to the white-faced Flo, and Lolomi Lodge, and the murmuring waterfall, and the haunting loneliness of Oak Creek Canyon.

CHAPTER VIII

At Flagstaff, where Carley arrived a few minutes before train time, she was too busily engaged with tickets and baggage to think of herself or of the significance of leaving Arizona.  But as she walked into the Pullman she overheard a passenger remark, “Regular old Arizona sunset,” and that shook her heart.  Suddenly she realized she had come to love the colorful sunsets, to watch and wait for them.  And bitterly she thought how that was her way to learn the value of something when it was gone.

The jerk and start of the train affected her with singular depressing shock.  She had burned her last bridge behind her.  Had she unconsciously hoped for some incredible reversion of Glenn’s mind or of her own?  A sense of irreparable loss flooded over her—­the first check to shame and humiliation.

From her window she looked out to the southwest.  Somewhere across the cedar and pine-greened uplands lay Oak Creek Canyon, going to sleep in its purple and gold shadows of sunset.  Banks of broken clouds hung to the horizon, like continents and islands and reefs set in a turquoise sea.  Shafts of sunlight streaked down through creamy-edged and purple-centered clouds.  Vast flare of gold dominated the sunset background.

When the train rounded a curve Carley’s strained vision became filled with the upheaved bulk of the San Francisco Mountains.  Ragged gray grass slopes and green forests on end, and black fringed sky lines, all pointed to the sharp clear peaks spearing the sky.  And as she watched, the peaks slowly flushed with sunset hues, and the sky flared golden, and the strength of the eternal mountains stood out in sculptured sublimity.  Every day for two months and more Carley had watched these peaks, at all hours, in every mood; and they had unconsciously become a part of her thought.  The train was relentlessly whirling her eastward.  Soon they must become a memory.  Tears blurred her sight.  Poignant regret seemed added to the anguish she was suffering.  Why had she not learned sooner to see the glory of the mountains, to appreciate the beauty and solitude?  Why had she not understood herself?

The next day through New Mexico she followed magnificent ranges and valleys—­so different from the country she had seen coming West—­so supremely beautiful that she wondered if she had only acquired the harvest of a seeing eye.

But it was at sunset of the following clay, when the train was speeding down the continental slope of prairie land beyond the Rockies, that the West took its ruthless revenge.

Masses of strange cloud and singular light upon the green prairie, and a luminosity in the sky, drew Carley to the platform of her car, which was the last of the train.  There she stood, gripping the iron gate, feeling the wind whip her hair and the iron-tracked ground speed from under her, spellbound and stricken at the sheer wonder and glory of the firmament, and the mountain range that it canopied so exquisitely.

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The Call of the Canyon from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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