Carved into a cliff twelve miles south of Moab, Utah sits Hole N’’The Rock. That’s how it’s spelled, with a quotation mark–or maybe a pair of apostrophes–used as a separator. I don’t know why. It’s a home, or it was forty-five years ago. Fifties kitsch, the real stuff, not knock off replicas, decorates the place. In the Utah desert summer with temperatures pushing one hundred, the house tour leaves you chilled. Sweater weather year-round, underground is a natural thermostat.
Today, it’s a complex. The house, a zoo, a sculpture garden, real gardens, an old-timey general store and of course a gift shop. When Susan and I visited decades ago, it was just the house and gift shop—all contained in the giant hand-dug cave. Two soda machines churned away in the parking lot protected from the pounding sun in a wood and plexiglass booth. A homemade approximation of a bus stop in the airport long term parking. This day I held a hummingbird.
He was trapped. The plexiglass confused him. He couldn’t find freedom despite two large doorways without any doors. Bright and shiny green, he reminded me of an oversized cicada. Exotic and creepy, I was reluctant to handle him. He eyed me as I approached. He wore a look of fear, I suppose, as he fluttered against the window, sliding this way and that, but never far enough to find the opening to escape. I caught him between my cupped palms–he buzzed like the rattlesnake I almost stepped on later in my trip–and shooed him out the door.