Origin Story

“I surrender my body to water now red, red is the Colorado, blood of my veins

Terry Tempest Williams

By Hanna Johnson

Course sands that mimic crushed ginger 
combine with turmeric and cinnamon 
in a tall terracotta bowl.

That same claret colored soil courses through
river’s body, 
the water churns spiced, iron red earth 
and turns everything to rust.

Petals of desert marigolds drip like honey
from a cracked wooden dipper
as they slide into lumpy red dough.

A pair of callused hands reach into the 
fat lipped bowl and tear off tiny 
portion of thick dough.

Ancient fingers knead the deep orange loam 
until a they form clay arms and legs, 
they give the figure smooth river stones for eyes.

I was born the moment water mixed with this
warm and sweet spiced land.


Hannah Johnson is a botanist working in the red rock vistas and plateaus of Southern Utah. The landscape surrounding her is infectious and filled with awe. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes and plants she encounters while working and playing among the rocks and flowers.

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