I found you here…
I found you here the other day, in a windswept cemetery next to a highway where trucks and cars and all manner of other wheeled things go rushing past in their hurry of doing this and that.
…and saw you lying there with a stone for a crown and wild flowers and grasses for a burial gown…and I wondered so at how you came to be there.
…when I was a passerby on that same long highway, going to get my little one, to join her with the one who traveled with me. We stopped to see you on a cloudy day with drops of rain both here and there.
…as I walked among your family members, as I trod the grass and smelled the wet desert air swirl about my reddening cheeks and numbing fingers, as I wondered about my days and yours in the steel-flavored wind.
…and saw you there and noticed that you shared your birthday with my little one, although yours was 110 years before his. You only lived for 13 months and were gone, and gone away, and brought here, to where I would find you.
…and you were special in my heart, even though I never knew you. The wind froze tears on my cheeks as I thought of your mother holding you that last time, as I thought of my little one…and I wondered so…
…and I found you there.
Little Cottonwood Canyon has become something of a treasure trove of subject-matter for my winter-snow-ice photography. Upstream from the Mormon Temple Quarry, and situated in the Wasatch Resort area proper, there is a water-plant (?) where water from the stream is captured and diverted into huge pipes and transported into Salt Lake City and surrounding cities for further processing and eventual incorporation into the cities’ water supply.
After I had taken the photos of the ice crystals standing upright on the white granite boulders in the empty stream bed…and had taken the pictures of the evolving ice-tubes, I continued up-stream to the water-plant and found this nice bit of frozen water coming down the chute from the plant. I thought it was a pretty sizeable chunk of ice….
Looking rather large up close…
If we continue up the trail that follows the course of the stream, we will come to a huge rock…and behind this rock is another cement chute that has been touched by taggers…an unsettling find out in the middle of the forest. We will come back to this rock in a moment, but this is what it looks from the front side –
Probably another half to three-quarters of a mile up the trail, there is another collection point that gathers water from the main stream and another pipe that seems to bring water in from another smaller stream that comes from one of the gulches or draws further up and away in the canyon. I had thought that the bit of ice from the first picture was rather large until I saw this chunk growing out from the pipe at the second water collection point. This mass of ice might not actually be as large as the first one, but it does appear to be somewhat more dramatic…or unusual –
And now if we turn around and go back down the trail to that huge rock, we will see something that makes this chunk of ice appear less awesome…
This was actually the first time that I have been on the left side of the stream and behind the huge rock. All other ventures to this location have been from the right side of the stream and essentially behind the massive rock. The water level of the stream was low enough this time that I could step or jump from stone to stone and make it to the other side relatively safely; on other occasions, the stream has been flowing more forcefully and there would be no way to cross the stream at this location; it could only be gained by parking off the road in the canyon and then hiking down to the stream….or crossing the bridge another mile up-stream and going off-trail all the way back. At any rate, this bit of water has created a huge ice curtain…and invited me to engage in further explorations “on the other side.” More to follow….
Rugged and beautiful, to me….
Pusch Ridge is along the western edge of the Catalina Mountains, the range that provides a natural northern boundary for Tucson, Arizona, USA.
Beyond the Vermillion Border
Swirling beneath the surface or deeply embedded within the spoken word is yet another meaning, an additional understanding or interpretation that is dependent upon the receiver’s frame of mind or point of reference in accepting that word. The paths that the person has traveled in his life will have an impact on the message’s content as well. Often, trusting that the speaker has the same state of mind or set of references that he does, the receiver will take the word for its surface value, not thinking to look into the current that carried the speaker into giving it…or not.
Those additional meanings could also exist because those spoken words were wrought in deception as a ruse, to mislead, to cover wrong-doings and hidden or veiled thoughts. They were presented to protect others or the self or bring unjust scrutiny where it is not needed, diverting inspection from where it is due. Gossip, lies, and rumors bred to undermine, to make others feel secure in their own estimation…to shake foundations and crumble established ways of thinking, perceptions, and values. Visible or imagined circumstances are mated with ill-conceived thoughts and a new ‘truth’ is born. It breathes with a life of its own, spread and passed-along as righteousness…contextual and circumstantial truths that reek in filth and deception until they are discovered and ripped apart with the knife of examination, eviscerated under the light of explanation and detail…but the damage is still done, the seed was planted and doubt has grown, sprouted and thriving in another life with its germinal droppings carried by the wind of conversation and whispered in hushed tones of ‘Have you heard?’
How many of our lives’ courses have been steered aside by a single phrase or the circumstantial pairing of words? What lashes across the back have been felt because of either ill-spoken words or ones that were found to be false? What taste of blood was brought to mouth because of an offense, a broken bone or ringing of ears caused by a violence that spews from hands evil with wrongdoing; might over weakness, forcefulness over fearfulness; the victims’ souls splayed open by the sharp tongue. How many lives and reputations in past and present have been sullied by murmured falsehoods and contrived deeds?
But words also nurture and bind and comfort and heal and uplift and encourage and inspire and lead many from sickness to health and from self-doubt to greatness and success…love-spoken words can be salves that heal our wounds and reveal truths that wash-away the scourge and disease of the bitter tongue…that fortify, that vanquish evil and doubt and failure…and stir to a greatness unimagined. And sometimes, too, these soothing and healing and uplifting and inspiring words are lies bound in sweet hope that they will be believed and acted-upon and taken to magnificent ends…causing the receiver to believe the words and dig into themselves to make them true because the speaker said they were true so they must be true and that makes them become true…and that lie has become truth…and then.
And other times the utterances become opiates that relax our diligence and dull our senses, calmly deceiving and betraying us with Delilah’s alluring promises before robbing us of our strength or resolve, seducing us, leading us into temptation and delivering us unto evil where we ransom our souls and happiness and futures and eternities for ideas and notions and feelings and…in other times and circumstances we escape with and through them, these words, into our fantasies and beliefs, conjuring imaginings and hopes, falling prey to our lusts and desires…whispered in sinful darkness they feed our longings…and we covet what we have not…we resolve to tell stories of deeds done and then, twisted mysteries that complicate and turn like worms in our guts when trying to remember what happened or not as we weave that tangled web. Their partial truths and half-lies stringing us along and telling us in bits what we need to know…in power and ruse against us, controlling and subordinating and enslaving or making us free, causing us to rise indifferent to blood and ties.
Skillfully spoken with temper and might, those spoken symbols can cause us to rise-up in defiance against our natural selves and believe ghastly things about others, to strike-out with deadly consequence or they can inspire us to love and nurture others at the cost of our own lives, can lead us to unbelievable heights and lengths to sacrifice ourselves and others for a cause, sometimes just and sometimes not and so…and someone said that someone said that He said “I am that I am.”
Between friends they are casual, words of comfort and ease, gentle conversation about anything or nothing, rambling and disjointed wonderings and plans and hopes and disappointments and promises to do better and live stronger and try instead of not…and they know the sacred and the secret, the hallowed and irreverent…jingling jangling juggling jumbling jabbering and tossing about in the mixing of anything and nothing and sometimes the learned stumble for a lack of the right one and the not-so-learned has it in picture form and simple and more beautiful and from the earth or the tugging inside the heart and in the hum of nature and in the tick and tock of the silent passing on the pendulum’s path and so…to speak in word form.
What aspect of our being hasn’t been touched by the spoken word? Is there a single step in this labyrinthine effort that is a stranger to the audible thoughts and contrivances of verbal communication? I dare to offer that near every color of life’s prism has been and is painted by and with every manner of uttering by the human tongue – those simple expulsions of breath, twisted and rolled, compressed and urged through the vocal cords, throat, teeth, and lips to become the shouts and screams and soothing whispers and encouragements or curses that propel us through our collective existence.
This is a Favorite re-post from December, 2009.
Trees in Silhouette
Treeline in Mill Creek Canyon during the sun’s waking…beautiful magic of light and clouds and the distance of a watching lens.
Good Morning, Moon
The trip was unplanned this time, but I brought the camera along anyway…and so glad I did. I tried to capture the layers of color that my little one asked me to photograph a couple weeks ago, and I think it worked better this time…and then the moon was still there, so it was too good to resist.
Years and moments…and wonder….
While time and circumstance can or might remove some of our curiousity and marvel for life, if we allow them to, it is a treasure to wonder again, and still, with the eagerness and attention of a child…and to have our hearts touched by their amazement with what they discover in the simple and the every-day.
My quiet friend and his grandson share a moment in a day…gentle…tender…loving…miraculous…thank you.
I lay there with sparkling glass all about me. The sun could blind a living eye with this glaring prism of light that is alive itself. Concrete is warm as leather-soled shoes stop on the sidewalk across the street. Cigarette butts, gum wrappers, and spent leaves lay around me. A paper cup with orange and yellow flowers sealed beneath cracking wax is blown against the curb under his paused foot. The wing-tip is untied and has a hole in the great toe. A white sock peeks out, surveying the air. A lost pebble under the ball of his foot nears him to craziness. No briefcase to put down before he sits to the curb. No hat to tamp against gravity before he leans over to remove the stone. My eyes see him but my brain just lets him be.
The metal taste in my mouth is like a penny hidden under the tongue. I can’t spit it out. He looks at me like he’s done something wrong. Hair flutters in his eye, then mine. And mine. Sand from the concrete presses into my cheek as he examines his sock. His mother doesn’t know where he is. Mine thinks I’m at work. Of course, she’s thought the same thing for years, or weeks on end; at day’s end. Days end. For that’s where I was. When I was. When I was there, the world spun as it does now. It still spins. The world spins still; it spins not moving, still. If you can know something like that, I guess that’s what it was doing, when I was, and doing. A feather, still. His old tweed jacket has holes in its holes. Cigarette burns in the arms with the lining appearing without.
My ears still ring; the blood yet flows through the tiny capillaries near the surface of my skin; it is still warm. It tingles when a car drives by. A truck makes it louder. And, he sits, not knowing what to do. The wheels on the chair spun for only a few seconds. They were startled, too. And the glass, it was whole and unnoticed when it was clean. Now it’s lost its pane and its absence draws a crowd. It is scared, fallen to pieces, broken near into sand. Lost. He sees the people looking down to the street. He sees the clouds crawl past the horizon. The building leans toward him so he rises and looks about. Not away. She thinks I’m at work. He saw me fall silently to the street. That pain is gone. That pain has severed the feelings that had been severed so long ago. Happiness fled itself. And drawn away. It screamed as I walked past, “Come here!” Don’t leave. Go away. The grit in the street crunched beneath his foot as the siren’s car approached. It left whole for another place, its tail following behind. The tiny hairs picking up the static dust. The lint and fiber of nonsense. Nonsence. Nonsents. Non-scents. Non-cents, he went bankrupt. Fell out of life. I fell to the street. He just fell out of life. And went away. They are lost. Do you look around? Does it sparkle in other places too?
The clouds are lowering a story at a time. Birds flew past the ledges without second thinking. They dropped their things in flight and landed in other places. We’re not the same. The chair flew out and took me with it. Anger seized, seized, seized, seased, ceased, teased, teized, seized me. In a rage the clouds swept me up. They tossed me higher and crashed me harder than clouds should. So friendly when viewed from the park grass. They threaten nobody there. So soft, like cotton candy – over-used simile. In the end.
His split finger-nails had been chewed down to the quick. Dirty fingers housed the nails and brushed the hair out of my face. The flattened side of my head didn’t feel flat; it didn’t ache either. I saw ants on the sidewalk, undisturbed they were. Undisturbed they were before I saw them, too. I had hidden in the bathroom, sat there so long that my legs had nightmares. The fan overhead drowned-out the speakers on the wall. The walls heard the speakers, but they didn’t listen. They kept on standing there, fastened, undisturbed, too. As dust falls, it sees its friends lying about, keeping a place for anybody else who might happen to drop in. They collect, one by one. Slowly there is a film of their bodies, covering whatever they touch. Are they happy? Water washes them away. They’re weak. The chair just took me like I was weak too. I only meant to hurl it at the window; then it grabbed my tight, angry fingers. White knuckles tensed the blood away. The weight just took me like I was weak, too.
I smell vinegar from the mustard on his fingers. There is some yellow, too. The breeze replaces my hair. The breeze misplaces my hair. Our moms ought to get together. His doesn’t know where he is, mine thinks I’m at work. I succeeded today. Now I’ll nev
This is a Favorite re-post from September, 2009.
Sand or Snow?
On first glance, it looked like dried-out salt grass along the beach sticking up through beautiful white sand…
These images were taken along the Pipeline Trail between Burch Hollow and Elbow Fork in Mill Creek Canyon, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.
I will grant that this is an unusual reference for the literal substance that will follow in the photos, but I was struck by the parallel when looking at the images by themselves. The forming ice actually has the appearance of cells…me thinks…and the accompanying photo array demonstrates the allegory or likeness of life forming in a womb.
If the page you are viewing has the graffitied water chute with the beautiful ice formations in the header photo, the “nursery” for these ice babies is located toward the far right side of that picture, at the bottom of the smaller water fall…
I suppose I should add a photo of the graffitied chute in case it doesn’t randomly appear when you’re viewing the page…so here it is…or a large portion of it…the part that I’m referring to anyway….
…and then this is the close-up of the nursery itself….
This next photo has the appearance of the inside of a fallopian tube where the wonder of fertilization takes place…you can almost imagine the cilia inside the tube pushing the little egg along on its journey…
…and these could be little ice cells dividing and making more of themselves, stem-cells that differentiate into their programmed forms…
…with the mass developing into tissues that will flesh-out the body in whole…
…until we can see it in embryo-form…
…and lastly the little buds where the limbs will grow…
…or maybe not…but that’s what came to My mind the first time I looked at the photos.
I was returning from my lunch-time walk to the park and back when I saw a man ahead of me on the sidewalk; he was on the same side of the street, but about a block north of me. I could see that he was pushing some type of cart, but couldn’t make-out exactly what it was…and given that he was wearing a t-shirt and pants of that sturdy brown color used by a certain parcel delivery company, I allowed that he might have been pushing a hand-truck or dolly loaded with packages…except that there was no matching sturdy brown truck nearby. As I continued up the street and heading directly toward the man, I noticed that he kept walking back and forth on the sidewalk, first up the street I was on, and then back and forth on the street that ran perpendicular to the one I was on, the one that I would have to cross very soon as I made my way back to work.
While I was waiting for the various cars to pass in front of me and allow my clear and safe passage to the other side of the road, I was better able to see what the man was pushing ahead of him. It was a shopping cart, and not one that was over-loaded with belongings, not one that would reveal the more transient nature of his life, but one that contained a solitary “something” or other…just a single thing…and not many.
I made it to the other side of the street and continued on my northward march up the sidewalk, quickly gaining on the man and paying special attention to the fact that he had stopped and was looking back at me…or in my direction, anyway. As he stood there in his short-sleeved t-shirt in the 31 degree weather, evidently being warmed by something he carried within himself…maybe something flowing in his veins already at this almost early hour of the morning, I wondered what the question was going to be. He was already working on it, too, slowly loosening his lips and mouth, making empty motions and aligning the thoughts of words, the mental sounds of them, maybe, in preparation for my impending arrival at his side.
I was expecting to be asked about the change I had in my pocket and was a little surprised when the man said, “Excuse me, Brother…dhhhooo you know…you know where there’s a restaurant around here…here?”
In the several seconds that it took the man to prepare his words and manage to offer them to me, I noticed that his one hand didn’t stray from his shopping cart…the rickety four-wheeled device that he was using to carry his unceremoniously-opened 18-pack of Bud-lite…and nothing else. In those seconds, I also looked more directly at the man’s face and noticed that maybe I could have been his brother…after all, we were both men…and we must have each had a mother…so maybe….
Cars and assorted traffic passed behind and beside us as we questioned the day and wondered things in our separate minds in those fast and fleeting moments…as the man still stood there in his short-sleeved shirt with his long black hair tied loosely in a pony tail. His golden-brown face was flat and thickly fleshed and had deep lines extending from the outside corners of his eyes and mouth; his nose was also mostly golden brown, but reddish, too, and bulbous, and heavily veined with red and blue road-map capillaries that spoke of years of opened beers and other kinds of things. His black-brown eyes were glassy as they passed and twitched at mine with his stumbling words and wondering words and with his outstretched arm, and then, “Izzzzz it that pa-hink…is it that p-hink building over there?”
I did happen to know where there was a restaurant nearby, so I told the man no, that pink building was a set of old apartments…you need to go back down the sidewalk and turn right at the street in front of us and head that way for a couple blocks…the restaurant is called “Rico-something-or-other.”
“Oh…ok…thank you, Bhrother.”
They rage sometimes in distant echoes, those ghosts of living in by-gone years…
…they sing and howl, sometimes, at atrocities lean and harsh that were wrought upon the land, scars that remain in hardened shadow form, of skeletons in brick and steel….
…and when the sun is down, they wonder in silent tones, sometimes, as evening light creeps low, as tiny eyes blink awake in their hollowed places, not hallowed…
…carts ring and clang on rails laid, earth’s treasures brought from below, man’s hand and mind are joined, sometimes, from pick to truck to refiner’s fire, to jewelers’ purses to ladies’ hands to settled estates, and then…
…and come around again to distant echoes and ghosts of living in by-gone years….
Tuesday Morning Mountains
Taken a couple weeks ago from the back porch of our house…on a Tuesday morning….
Blackbirds in Snow
It snowed again last night, giving us the second “significant” snow of the winter. There might be an inch of the white stuff on the ground, if that, but it is enough to cover the land and bring the white beauty of the season that I love.
As I was standing on the back porch attempting to get some good close-up shots of a couple of Robins in the old Russian Olive tree, a flock of some type of black birds stopped-in for a visit…
Less than a minute after they settled, the birds spied another mass of their companions approaching, and with a great rustling of wings and feathers, they were gone and away….
I think this is one of the most beautiful scenes I have ever beheld while out on one of my winter hikes…or any of them, maybe….
They said I’d find her in an old house behind Edison’s Supermarket, which wouldn’t have been too much of a problem if there had only been one of them. Walking door to door only led me from one abandoned home to another, one place where lives had been lived and then picked-up and moved to another place, sometimes because the owners of those lives had wanted to move, and other times because they had no choice, the greater life was moving them along against their will or staid complacency. And there was a desolation, too, that ran deep and into the dirt on that clouded day; it ran beneath the broken asphalt of the streets and the buckled concrete of the long unused driveways and sidewalks that led to burned-out garages and weather-warped front doors. It spoke to my wondering soul and prompted more questions than there were answers to fulfill…and left me feeling sadly empty and alone despite the fullness of my own life.
I walked the streets and alleys for hours that morning, entering the castaway homes and calling and looking for a blonde and stringy-haired girl whose life was circling an abyss of injection and want. I couldn’t find her…or didn’t, anyway. Maybe she’ll be rescued on another day….