Archive for October, 2012

I saw Superman, again….

I saw Superman walk down my hallway today and he didn’t and doesn’t care what you think about him.  He was a white-boy with dread-locked hair that’s long enough to tuck behind his ears and he smelled like the stink and rot of unwashed bodies in tight and closed places.  I’ve smelled his kith and kin in hovels bare and small.  I’ve sat and listened to their stories of life and things passed-by and wondered at their truth and then found that it didn’t matter, those things and they, well…they became true in the telling.  And today, as he shuffled past me in his coke-bottle glasses with scratches and old and yellowed tint from age and sun and wear, the arms hooked over ears with huge and fearsome gauges stuck in the lobes causing holes that would be large as a ring on my thumb, he shuffled past in that mess and whatnot with torn jeans and ravaged converses as he huddled his face into the small baby of two months or less and whispered his whiskered and loving words into his tiny self.  He whispered kind nothings and stink and I didn’t smell his breath, but neither did the baby as he lay there cuddled and warm against that chest in the torn and fake-leather jacket and was loved by him in all that it meant to him.  That baby there was cherished in those moments where he existed in my life and Superman had him and rocked his world…and I hope he remembers that love when life comes on him hard and rough as it sometimes will…I hope he remembers that his Daddy loved him, then.

***This is a Favorite Re-post from October, 2010.


Pumpkin Patch….


Sister Lakes – Lake Lillian

This is the third and final post in the Sister Lakes series.  It’s a bit longer than the earlier posts, too, as it has a handful of photos from July of 2011 that demonstrate a higher water level and another few photos dedicated to the dam, which I feel is a significant part of the related landscape.  If you’d like to visit the posts on Lake Blanche and Lake Florence, you can click on their highlighted names and be taken back to them.  In those earlier posts, I described how these naturally formed lakes were dammed back in the early 1900’s so that their water resources could be preserved and then released to the Salt Lake Valley as they were needed during the later summer seasons for irrigation and other purposes.  The dams were breached in 1972, once again allowing the water from the winter seasons’ snow-melt to flow down into the valley unabated…where coincidentally, much of it is then captured from the waters of the Big Cottonwood Stream and used by the Salt Lake City metropolitan area.  The portion that isn’t used is allowed to flow into the Jordan River, which then flows into the Great Salt Lake at the far north-west corner of the Salt Lake Valley.

The first image is actually the drainage from Lake Florence that leads into Lake Lillian…so this is the drainage or waterway leading from the higher lake down into the lower one.  I’ve mentioned in the comment section on the Lake Florence post that, while these are not man-made lakes, they were modified with dams and outlets that caused the snow-melt waters to be captured and then diverted from the higher lakes directly to the lower lakes, and then down into the natural drainage (stream) that leads all the way back down into Big Cottonwood Canyon from this tributary canyon, Mill B South.  Before the dams were built, the water from the snow-melt simply drained from the surrounding mountain-sides and was captured in the lakes…as the level of the water rose above the natural rims of the lakes, it simply overflowed into channels that it had made over time…and naturally made its way from one lake to the next and then down into the larger drainage that led down into the canyon.  If you haven’t yet visited the other posts, understand that Lake Blanche is the largest lake and at the highest elevation of the three.  Its waters flow downhill, maybe 200 yards, and into the medium-sized Lake Florence…and then a little further down in elevation, and probably less than 100 yards, to the smaller Lake Lillian.

One of the most appealing characteristics of Lake Lillian, in my opinion, is the setting in which it is found…right up next to the magnificent rocks of the ridge below Dromedary Peak, in the above photo.  I’ve spent several hours hiking around the lake on different occasions and absolutely love being there…it’s a visual feast of colors and textures….  If you were to be standing at the side of the lake (and facing the lake) in the above photo and simply turn a little to the left, you would behold the view in the below photograph.  The massive rock on the left side of the photo is the side-view of Sundial Peak…which you can see more extensively in the Lake Blanche post.

I took the below photograph while standing directly beneath the three dark trees near the left-center of the above photo…so between the two images, we’re able to see the perspectives afforded from each side of the lake…if a round-ish lake can be said to have two sides, that is….

The prominence of Sundial Peak seems to lend itself to being in more images than one might intend…the above photo was taken to the right-side of Lake Lillian, directly below Dromedary Peak and looking toward the east, which is back toward Sundial Peak…and the below image is from the north shore of the lake and looking south-east…again at the magnificent Sundial Peak….

The below photo was taken below and outside of the dam, looking down the drainage and back out into Big Cottonwood Canyon.  When there is more water in the lake, this area is a bit of a chute and creates an impressive waterfall…which you can see in the fifth photo below….

The next four photographs were taken in July, 2011…exactly one year earlier than the other photos…and after a winter season that had record amounts of snowfall for our Wasatch Mountains.  Aside from the difference provided by the presence of the snow, you can tell that the level of the water is significantly higher than it is in the other photos.

The water was right at the breach-point in the dam…and flowing wonderfully from the lake, creating crazy waterfalls on the other side….

Compare the water level in the above photo to what you can see in the fourth photo below…that’s quite a difference.

This is only one section of the magnificent falls created by the abundance of water flowing from the lake….

The last set of photos is of the dam itself.  As I mentioned in the first paragraph of the post, I feel that it is a significant element in the visual presentation of Lake Lillian’s landscape.  While it is obviously not a naturally occurring feature, it was crafted of native stone and still contains the textures and colors of the surrounding rocks and mountains.

My son is right about six feet tall…which means that the wall is probably more than 20 feet at its highest point…which we would find out-of-frame and to the left of the above photo.

So…the water is down, what…10-12 feet or more from the same time last year…?

The below photograph shows only a portion of the top and back-side of the dam…and you can also see a bit of Sundial Peak in the upper left-hand corner…and Dromedary Peak is a little beyond the upper right-hand corner….

And lastly, a significant portion of the back-side of the dam…with Sundial Peak in the background, of course…as it is nearly and wonderfully unavoidable when making photos in the area.  I believe I mentioned it in the other two posts, as well, but the dams on the Sister Lakes were built and modified over the period of 1905-1934….  You can see different layers of rock in the above photos, maybe indicating separate phases of construction/modification.  I would imagine that a significant portion of the dam was removed from the back-side when it was breached in 1972…or it has been carried away by the flowing waters of the past 40 years….

When I look at the front of the dam, I think it’s amazing that men built this by hand over 100 years ago…and when I look at the back-side of the dam, I think it’s freaking incredible…what an architectural and engineering feat…no, it’s not one of the pyramids of Egypt, but it’s still pretty fantastic.

I know this post was a bit long…but I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing in my adventures among the Sister Lakes in Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah.  If you’re interested, the canyon itself is just south and east of Salt Lake City proper and is part of the Wasatch Mountains that comprise the eastern border of the greater Salt Lake Valley.  It takes about a 4-5 mile drive into the canyon to come to the “Mill B South” trail-head, and then another roughly three miles of hiking (2-2.5 hours) with an elevation gain of about 2,600 ft to reach Lake Blanche.  It only takes a few minutes to reach Lake Florence and Lake Lillian once you’ve reached Lake Blanche.  Again, if you’d like to view the earlier two posts, you can click on the highlighted names of the lakes in the previous sentence to do so.  Thank you for visiting…and for spending a bit of your time with me….


Frost-ing…?


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baby boy….


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Enchanted


Upper Red Pine Lake, last….

You might remember the other two posts on Upper Red Pine Lake…but you can visit them here and here if you’d like to refresh your memory before continuing to the images below…or afterward…or not….


Lichen


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portrait of a boy


Found in the desert

I recently spent a few days in Tucson, Arizona, USA…visiting with my wife’s mother, walking the morning-quiet roads of her desert neighborhood, and taking a new perspective when viewing the natural beauty of the surroundings.

Those are the Santa Catalina Mountains in the background, with Mount Lemmon at the highest point, some 9,157 feet in elevation.  A Prickly Pear Cactus with fruit is in the foreground and the iconic Saguaro Cactus is prominent toward the left of the photo…I believe that might be a Palo Verde tree beneath the Saguaro with its green bark…and I’m not sure about the larger tree/shrub to the right…maybe a Greasewood.

Owls and woodpeckers often live in the holes that you see in the Saguaro’s limbs.

I believe these are Harris Hawks…they were mostly immobile when I was photographing them…but that only lasted for a minute or so….

Again, if I’m not mistaken, these are a variety of Cholla Cactus…and those spines can cause quite a bit of discomfort….

Wikipedia says that there are seven sub-species of Mule Deer…with the Rocky Mountain sub-species ranging the western portion of the United States and up into Canada.  Aside from the Saguaro Cactus, you can also see the Ocotillo Cactus (the other tall and very skinny plant), Palo Verde, Prickly Pear Cactus, and directly behind the deer, what I believe might be more Greasewood.

Prickly Pear Cactus with fruit.  You can purchase Prickly Pear jelly and candy in local stores…or you can “Google-it” and find them on-line, as well.  🙂

Desert sunsets can be beautiful…lighting the mountains with rose and orange hues…and bringing-out greater definition of the mountain’s many surfaces as shadows grow….


Seek Life

Found on the pedestrian bridge….

Some might say that we’ve been wrought with a fierce hand that’s guided by an unkind heart…or maybe one that doesn’t care, doesn’t know how to, just gives us a life, kicks us from the womb of our beginning, suckles us on a raw tit and then dumps us out the door as soon as our legs can hold us.  We can’t be blind, or we’ll die from sundry things, so we learn to look where things mightn’t be normally, we learn with knocks and scrapings how to get along, to grab what we can and hope it will be good enough for a while.  In time there’s a longing that holds us, that draws us toward things that others pass-by, that others see, per chance, and think nothing of…but it’s those things that give us a yearning for a kindly pursuit, a craving to know what might be…and so our life goes, driven by an unseen thing that could consume us if we’d let it, if we’d loose the things that bind it to within a natural limit of how it might be.  And sometimes there’s naught within us to hold it…and we go about with a frightening urgency, seeking some definition for our unfettered minds, seeking something to give them form, to harness our desires, to make them ride on a certain rail, to progress in a certain direction….and sometimes we don’t find it, don’t find that thing that renders our efforts meaningful…don’t find that thing that consumes us, that drives us into a future that is ours to make and hold…and we keep seeking.


Sister Lakes – Lake Florence

You might remember from my earlier post about Lake Blanche that there are three sister lakes situated in what has been referred to as the Hidden Valley…at the end of a drainage or tributary canyon, Mill B South, which extends off of Big Cottonwood Canyon, just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.

I think I’ve probably already provided as much of the interesting history of the area as I might, so the remainder of this post and the following one on Lake Lillian will be simply sharing the natural beauty of the area.  You might recognize Dromedary Peak in the photo above from another earlier post…as you can see here, it provides an appealing backdrop for Lake Florence…and Lake Lillian, as well.

The above photograph shows another side of Sundial Peak, which you might have seen in a couple of other posts, but probably most significantly in the Lake Blanche post referred to earlier.  The rocky and beautifully treed ridge above is what you would find between Lakes Blanche and Florence…and in the below photo (taken in July, 2011), you see the waterfall/drainage that leads from L. Blanche to L. Florence.  With the greatly diminished snowfall this past winter season, there was very little water flowing between the lakes this year.

The next three photos are very similar, but demonstrate slightly different perspectives of Lake Florence and the rocky backdrop of Dromedary Peak.  You might notice a couple of people toward the right side of the second photo below…I don’t know who those folks are, but they had camped at the location overnight and help to add a bit of dimension to the beautiful orange/red rocks that form a portion of the bowl for the lake.

As I mentioned in the Lake Blanche post, dams were built on each of the lakes to preserve a certain amount of water per year…water that was collected from the snow-melt that occurred each spring.  The dams were built over a period of several years, started in 1905…completed in 1934…and then breached in 1972 when they were deemed no longer necessary.

If you look closely, you can see a small portion of Lake Lillian…right behind the skinny finger of a dead tree immediately to the left of the dam…on the far left side of the above photo.

For those who are interested, the trail that leads to the Sister Lakes is approximately three miles/4.8 km in length and has an elevation gain of about 2,600 ft/792 meters, with Lake Blanche being at about 8,900 ft/2,713 m and Lake Florence, 200 yards/183 meters to the west at 120 feet/37 meters lower.  Sundial Peak is measured at 10,320 ft/3,146 m, Dromedary Peak is at 11,107 ft/3,385 m.  The entire Sister Lakes area falls within several thousands of acres that are designated as the Twin Peaks Wilderness Area, which is part of the Wasatch National Forest.

Aside from the beautiful reflection of the ridge in the above photo, you can also see where the waterfall is missing (mentioned in regard to photo #3) in the rocky cleft near the middle of the image.

Wildflowers on the little ridge behind the dam on the far west side of the lake…I checked six on-line resources and can’t identify them properly, but I’m guessing that they’re from somewhere in the Sunflower family….

Similar images, above and below, but from different perspectives….

I’ve included this last photo from July, 2011, so you can see Lake Florence with a bit more water in it…and with a nice snow-patched mountain back-drop…you can also see Lake Lillian in the background.

I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting Lake Florence in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah.  The next post in the series will focus on Lake Lillian, the smallest of the Sister Lakes in the Hidden Valley area of Mill B South, in Big Cottonwood Canyon….


One moment….

She breathes quiet and deep and fierce…a harsh whisper of tones unheard but felt…present then gone and stirring and troubling always…not in concert even with herself…one moment….


Red Pine Stream

This is the drainage from the two/three lakes waaay up at the top of the trail…maybe not technically called “Red Pine Stream,” but that’s what it is, so….  I took this a couple of weeks ago when Fall was barely making its presence known in our Wasatch Mountains….


Forgotten….

Cricket song rises with the waning moon as tender leaves swirl in the slight current and eddies beneath the low-hanging trees…a snake slithers cross-wise over the river making tiny ripples that ride slowly away, lost in the reflection of that fading moon.

I suppose I didn’t know I even existed until the day his mom asked how he thought I felt laying out there in the rain.  I didn’t exist as something that could feel or be aware until that moment, so I didn’t and wasn’t, but that reference changed everything for me…and I still don’t know if that’s good or bad; is it a curse or a blessing to suddenly know that one exists or is, to have a sense of being, to know when one is being ignored or noticed, neglected or attended to…or forgotten?

I have fleeting thoughts and ideas enter and pass through my consciousness or awareness and I have started to feel things with my physical self, as well as my inner or cognitive self…if that’s possible for me to do.  I understand what it means to be alone, to feel something or someone draw near; I grasp the idea of “used to be” and “what if” and know there is significance in these pairings of words.  I used to belong to someone…what if he came back for me?  I used to matter, to be important, to be remembered…what if I never am again…what if this is to be the way things are for the rest of my “life…” until I fade away again into the nothingness that enveloped me when my awareness was naught.  Or…what if I am found again, wanted again; what if I am desired again, my presence cherished again, if I am cared for again…what if those things happen again?  I will continue to be aware, to belong, and to be a part of…to be.

Many days and longer ago…there were colored balloons and streamers and several, small cone hats, more for show than necessity, as the one being celebrated was not so little anymore and had no need for such things.  His mother and sister decorated the trees and bushes and fold-up tables to play with his gaining years and the ones left behind…they lovingly mocked his approaching young-manliness and a hoped-for sense of responsibility that just might blossom…any day now.  Friends gathered with family, laughing, playing, making a little feast of sausages and rolls with spicy mustard, hot potato salad, and chips, too…tradition brought the chocolate cake and hand-cranked, peach and strawberry ice-cream, buckets of it that had been kept cold in the shaded water running near-by….

The day progressed and shadows grew long with the moving sun…adult voices quieted in the hush of approaching evening as their little ones slowed in their running about…after they chased bits of wrapping paper that had rolled and fluttered across the sand, caught in the breeze…and balloons bobbed-about, still tied to their anchors…minus the one that was loosed from a little hand and went sailing away.  I heard goodbyes spoken in the falling dusk and car-doors closing, bright yellow and orange honking from horns that reached into the gray light and caused heads to turn…hands to raise in their waving…the glare of headlights pointing down the roadway…thank you again…see you soon…echoes fading.

The boy and his family all climbed into the pick-up truck, one by one…and drove away…with a shiny, new bicycle in the back…a gift from his Opa…

*****

Photograph used with permission by Gary D. Bolstad of Krikitarts.

Thank you again for the challenge, Gary…for the invitation to participate in the sharing of your beautiful photography.


Antelope Island in September, too….

I was surprised at how low The Great Salt Lake was during this visit…as it was significantly higher in February when when we made our first trip to the island.

Hmm…no, my son’s not dancing, there on the left…maybe celebrating because of a well-thrown skipping-stone….

Looks like a little island of reeds out there…and the water is a long way away….

One of the 500-600 American Bison, or Buffalo, that live on the island….

My little one brought his binoculars and a notepad and pen along for the trip…it was fun watching him take notes of his observations….

Small group of Pronghorn Antelope…the male has the larger horns and the black, cheek markings….

Whole bunch of Sunflowers….

Daughter carrying her pre-Christmas baby….

Hopefully we’ll have some wonderful snow this winter…and green, rolling hills out on the island in the spring….


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Boys on a Rock


Dromedary Peak


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Delicate Desert


Desert Wildflowers….

Revisiting the photos that I had taken for yesterday’s post…from along the road somewhere in north Tucson, Arizona, USA.

Thank you to James for suggesting a series on my desert wildflowers.  If you haven’t visited with James at his site, James Brandon O’Shea – Oregon Artist, you’re missing a treasure.  James’ art and poetry are often compelling beyond description and it’s easy to get lost in his archives.  I encourage you to stop-by….


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Tucson Monday Morning


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Tucson Desert Sunrise


Tucson Sunset….


Sundial Peak rocky panorama…and perspective….

I think it looks different without being able to see Lake Blanche beneath it….  Perspective, point of view…vantage point…however we might phrase it…as with many things in life, our view or perception of things/situations is often effected by where we are…how close or  far away we might be from the actual subject matter.  Is it any wonder, sometimes, when we, or someone else says, “I just don’t see it that way…?”  It doesn’t mean that either one of us is more right or wrong than the other, although we might truly be one or the other…we just happen to have another perspective…for whatever reason….