The Art at the End of the World

    Adding to the excitement I presumed we now shared: The road conditions near the jetty were highly variable, which was to say not always roads. The lake’s water levels, too, needed to be below 4,195 feet for us to see it, and those levels were partly dependent on snowfall (this winter there was lots) and how much of that snow, by the time we arrived, had melted and sluiced down the mountains — water that also, en route to the lake, could turn the 16 miles of unpaved roads into impassable mush.

    Where we were headed, in other words, we might not be able to reach. And even if we were, what we traveled so far to see might not be visible.

    ‘‘Will there be internet?’’ they asked.

    I appealed, finally, to their desire to see me happy, a strategy that, thus far in our lives, had failed 100 percent of the time. I told them that, for more than a decade, I’d wanted to visit ‘‘Spiral Jetty,’’ as though these years of compressed desire had become a diamond that I could flash in their faces, my little crows.

    This ploy worked as well as it ever had. They grudgingly accepted their fate. I accepted mine. You cannot sell others on a pilgrimage.

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