If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you might remember a few posts from last year that highlighted the same lake…and if you do remember those images, you might also recall that they sky was bright in its blueness and reflected wonderfully in the surface of the lake. It is amazing how different a place can appear when the clouds and lighting are so strikingly different. Coincidentally, these images below were made exactly one year later than the ones in the earlier posts…to the day.
If you’d like to visit those earlier images, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Red Pine Lake category to be taken to a continuous roll of the earlier posts and photographs.
And for those of you who are interested, Upper Red Pine Lake is at about 10,000 feet in elevation…400 feet higher than Red Pine Lake. The lakes are situated in Red Pine Canyon, one of the tributary canyons or forks that extend south from Little Cottonwood Canyon…just south and east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA…in the Lone Peak Wilderness Area of the Wasatch National Forest. The hike from the trail-head to the upper lake is approximately four miles in length, has an elevation gain of about 2,500 feet, and may take you from 2.5 to 3.5 hours to accomplish…depending on your fitness level……….and how often you stop to make photographs….
The man squatted on his haunches for a minute or two before he knelt into the brown grass and heavy leaves of late fall that covered this part of the forest. His several decades spoke loudly in the rubbing of bone and cartilage in his knees and the sharpness of the pain in his feet. He looked over the top of his glasses at the trees and rocks beyond, removing the field of his vision from behind the shading of the lenses so he could see the trees’ remaining leaves in their natural color, even if they were blurred in shape and substance. He had walked and run and hiked the miles and hours into the forest, remained on the trail for most of the morning, but now he wandered off a bit as the day progressed and as he felt the need for a slower pace.
About a quarter to half a mile back down the trail he thought he had heard a scream. It wasn’t long and it wasn’t short, but a medium scream that climbed in intensity in its short life and in its rebounding off the rocks and slabs of the canyon walls. He thought it was a scream. It might have been only an echo, though…an echo of a scream. He stopped and listened for what more might come after that middling scream and wondered from where and why it might have come.
The canyon road was somewhere off to his left as he had climbed forward, but now it was behind him as he sat there, facing into the woods and listening to what might be there or not. His thighs were trembling in staying in the position, or holding the position that he had been in for what must have been three and four or more minutes now. He thought he had heard a scream and wondered at the closeness of the road and the cars in their passing. Was it a girl or woman on the roadway on her bike, or was it a younger boy whose agony or surprise was too great to allow him the control of a more manly scream and instead came out like a girl’s in its purity of emotion, or was it someone on the trail or deeper in the canyon’s woods?
He tried to look past the clearing and through the near-winter bare trees toward where the base of the mountain had to be, those hundred or more yards in front of him. The man stood again and turned to look back down the grassy trail that he had followed to the clearing. He could still make out the larger and more often traveled dirt trail that ran this side of the rocky gorge that held the stream, but just barely, because of the rise of the ground and the vegetation that was in his way as he had gone this direction and that in following the more faint trail up and into the woods, the forested forever that ran up the canyon and brushed and hugged the side of the mountain that rose slowly and then thrust itself upward in a granite face with its contours and shadings from the light and the clouds and the darker woods beneath.
The man was still outside the clearing, down-trail of it by a dozen yards or more, but he could see that it had been used as a camp-site at some time in the past. He saw what appeared to be a tarp, curled and crumpled into a loose ball that had been blown and dragged by the wind and caught in the leaves and branches that lay in their forms across the wood’s floor. Pine needles and cones and fist and thumb-sized leaves were wrapped in the blueness of the tarp and faded it and caused it to almost bleed into the colors of the forest, so numerous they were in their covering of it.
The man looked behind him again and listened for the stream. He listened for the breeze in the trees and the stronger wind that might be up in the higher branches of the pines, that charging flow of air and breath that rides through the pine needles and cones and tight branches and sings among the heights and sometimes talks in a whisper tone of things seen and past and gone.
A truck was downshifted and rode the lower gears as it descended the canyon road, as it caught itself in a tighter turn and the gears of the transmission whined higher in their efforts to slow the weighted bulk of the truck. A bird lighted on a branch above him and hopped closer toward the berries on the higher branches, tentative steps and hops; he looked around and down and back as he climbed toward his prize.
The man turned around again and saw what might still be a sleeping bag at the far side of the clearing. There were leaves and dirt on it and he noticed…his abdominal muscles clamped down and a rush of adrenaline burst through his body…he was immediately scared and angry and his heart raced while sweat streamed down from his forehead and into his eyes…he wiped them furiously and looked again at the sleeping bag and saw strands of red-brown hair, clumps of it, tangled and matted and caught in the leaves and sticks, caught in the zipper of the bag and his heart was pounding in his chest and images flashed in his mind, he bent on his knees and leaned into the ground with his face into the grass now….no….
Someone else’s scent was on her neck, a blast of it came to him now as his animal mind listened to what might be around him, moving in his physical world as he raced into a past that had crumbled into ruins in years back and then….go away. Footsteps and echoes and tears in his eyes and fallen leaves in a warm desert air with a late sun shining into the night…she lied. The forest floor beneath him spoke of a present and he heard cars on the canyon roadway passing…rich earth, wet, decaying leaves pursuing their beauty and regeneration….cells breaking down again…thoughts coursing through his mind, bursting like unexpected thunder pounding into his consciousness…a pressure grew in his chest and made his shoulder hurt as he breathed deeply of the wet forest.
He leaned back, near upright, and tasted the salt of tears and thought of her beneath him, half smile and half pain in her closed eyes, holding his hips against hers and he saw shadows moving, pill bottles scattered on the floor and bed….capsules in a fold of the pillowcase and curtains moving with a breeze…. “Mommy!” came from the other room…. The pressure in his chest, numb shoulder, and tingling fingers brought him back…again the anger, fear, and cold. The man licked his lips and looked at the sleeping bag, he sought the hair again…leaves torn from their branches, bark shredded, splayed angrily against past thoughts…another motorcycle passed on the canyon road….
Sometimes we misplace our dreams, lose them, or forget that we hid them away…and sometimes they’re taken from us whole, from the first thoughts that spawned them to the final beat of the heart that sustained them….
***This is a work of fiction that was inspired by the finding of a long-abandoned campsite in the forested area of Little Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains of Utah, USA. Any resemblance of actual persons or events is purely coincidental.
I have spent the last few Monday afternoons riding around with representatives from another agency, networking, I suppose, finding common ground for our two programs, searching for ways that we might serve a specific population from our two different perspectives.
One of the advantages of being a passenger is the opportunity to look around without having to pay attention to traffic…theoretically, one can take-in the scenery while still attending to the conversation. The key, of course, is to not tune-out the other parties while becoming engrossed in the city-scapes and in watching all manner of humanity passing on the sidewalks, etc.
This past Monday, I happened to notice a flash of color on the parking lot wall as we passed a particular business…a flash of color that I had never noticed in my daily commute and coincidental passing of the building and parking lot every single morning on my way to work. During our course of meandering about the neighborhood, we passed the location a couple of times and I was able to discern that the flash of color was actually a mural…and even from my poor vantage point of the inside of a moving vehicle, I could tell that it was more than just a bunch of graffiti and crap art that one sees in some parts of a larger city.
On my way to work yesterday morning, I passed the location, looked at the clock in my truck to see if I had time to make a quick stop, and then promptly made a U-turn at the next light and went back to take a closer look at the mural….and to snap a few shots of what appear to be an incomplete work of art…a work in progress….
The mural is painted on the north wall of the parking lot at an Indian grocery store named, “Qaderi Sweetz N Spicez.” For those interested, it is located at 1785 S. State Street in Salt Lake City, Utah. You can click on the highlighted name to be taken to the business’s Google+ page, or click here to be taken to an article from The Salt Lake Tribune that announced the store’s opening this past July.
I haven’t spoken with anyone at the store about the mural…yet…(?) so I can’t say with any certainty what the intention or theme might be, but if I were to choose one for myself, I might offer that it has something to do with the faces of Woman…those many presentations of identity that we see in our everyday lives, or maybe ones that transcend definition or explanation and exist in our species’ memories before words were known.
If you noticed the bit of script in the lower left-hand corner of the second image above, you might have been able to discern at least one name, possibly another one or two, of the artists who likely contributed to the mural. The most notable name, to me anyway, is that of Kier, an artist whose work you can see in several of the other works that I’ve featured here in the City Paint Series, the first being “City Paint 3 – 2012…The End?” If you’re interested, you can click on that highlighted name and be taken back to the post to find another link that provides more info on Kier.
As I mentioned above, I believe the mural might not be complete yet. To the right of the smiling woman, there is what appears to be the beginnings of another image, and still further to the right of that one, some black markings on the cinder-block wall that might be an outline of still another image. I am curious to see how this one turns-out…and might even be so curious that I stop by the store to ask someone about the mural and to inquire about all of the artists involved in creating this work of art…..so stay-tuned for updates.
If you’d like to see the other City Paint images of street art and graffiti from around Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the “Street Art – Graffiti” category to see all of them. Thank you, again, for visiting…for spending a bit of your time with me.