The cold dry air fills your lungs, and for once they dont need to filter anything. The cold, clean air rushes into your brain and fills you with cold, clean thoughts.
Silence and emptiness, and cold, clean air. The laughter and screaming you leave behind in the car park, the cold, clean pathways covered in ice and snow stop the Americans from straying more than 10 yards from their parked patrol cars. Huge metal beasts which Freud would have found fascinating, but in the car park your little compact car looks like an automotive foetus waiting to develop into something stupidly big, destructive and fearful.
But you can leave the car. Leave the safety of the visitor centre with disabled access and a 20 yard walk down a snow covered path finds you alone. American wilderness is wheelchair accessible, but for once the snow stops even the metal wheeled fat freaks from joining you in your peaceful solitude, and keeps the screaming kids and bored dads from taking your cold, clean air.
The American desert is a wonderful place. The local Americans pervert it into some kind of endless strip mall selling spiritual enlightenment, dream catchers and yogic recentring. And the Indians play along, realising that if they take the stupid white folk on little jeep drives and feed them nonsense about their grandfathers eating rattle snakes then they too can have the Nikes and the flatscreen TVs, and of course the cigarettes and alcohol and a million white man diseases. The industry of the desert is obscene, and has nothing to do with the National Parks, who do a fantastic job in keeping a lot of this country wild and true. And so it is with enormous relief that one turns off the highway, piles through the snow, and finds oneself alone in the cold, clean air.