That “Four Peaks” ridge in the distance is literally at least sixty miles from where I made this image along the Northern Parkway just east of the Loop 303, in the west valley of Metropolitan Phoenix. At ten minutes before 6:00 am on this Saturday past, the air was full of desert dust, vehicle emissions, and whatever other crap builds-up in the lower atmosphere between the parched land and the morning sky. This photo-making spot is along the route that I take to work every morning and I had been admiring the silhouette of the mountains in the distance for some time now. The quieter and less-busy morning seemed like a perfect time to stop and make some photos. Those sixty miles ‘twixt here and there are chock-full of western civilization’s offerings, as some five or six cities, two Native American Indian Communities, thousands of miles of city streets and freeways, multiple hundreds of acres of agricultural endeavors, and the exhaust of tens of thousands of vehicles and hundreds of thousands of people can be and are found in between.
I haven’t been hiking in the Four Peaks Wilderness Area, but might make it out there later this year or in early Spring of next year. It’s not something that you do in the summer months unless you camp nearby overnight and then launch up and back down from the peaks a couple of hours before noon.
Not like in the war for heroic deeds performed on the battlefield when risking one’s own life to save others’, but as in making something that could be considered plain or even unattractive, pretty, glittery, sparkly, refreshing to look at, and many other etceteras and etceteras….
I found myself downtown with over three hours of free and available time, yesterday morning, before having to report to work for a particular outreach event, so I intentionally brought my camera with me and visited what has been christened the “Grand Avenue Arts District” and found more than a couple of things to photograph.
In addition to the dozens of photos I snapped of local street art and murals, I found this row of decorated Aloe Vera and could not resist spending a few minutes’ time making a handful of images.
The morning’s sun was still gentle at 7:45, but the day had already started to heat up and another scorcher was underway.
She was a “rescue cat”‘ when we got her from a shelter a few years ago…tiny as could be, and she has remained so…has remained a rescue cat and has remained tiny. I wasn’t at the shelter with my wife and son to adopt her, but I’m told that she climbed up into my son’s lap and would then have nothing to do with anybody else…and that is a condition that has remained, as well. Unless I’m doing something in the kitchen with turkey or ham, she won’t have a thing to do with me…I’m lucky if she lets me touch her with a finger tip. Whenever family members come over to the house, the cat is gone and hiding under a bed or in a closet somewhere.
This image was made from nearly 20 feet away with a little bit of zoom action….
My son originally named her something like “Gray Stripe,” or “Bat Cat,” or some other such thing, but the name was changed to “Puff” after a few days. The cat hid under the bed anytime my wife or I entered my son’s room and would not come out for any kind of coaxing, gentle talking, or offering of treats, etc. The only thing that brought her out was when my wife started singing “Puff the Magic Dragon.” Whether it was a familiar tune or simply my wife’s melodic voice, the little feline slowly walked out from under the bed and hopped up on top of it and approached my wife. When she stopped singing, the cat disappeared under the bed again…when she started singing, out came the cat again…stopped singing, there she went again.
It’s a sad song, but it struck me the other day that I have now been back in Arizona for longer than I had lived in Utah….and this little gem of a photo has been sitting in my “drafts” folder for over five years. This particular day in March of 2013 found me walking the neighborhood trail called, “Dimple Dell,” and gazing eastward at the beautiful mass of rock and earth known generally as the Wasatch Mountains and specifically as Broads Fork Twin Peaks (only the western peak is visible; it’s the one on the right). I had posted other images from the hike…maybe even some that looked very similar to this one…which probably explains why it was sitting in the “drafts” folder for so long.
Anyway, they are always bittersweet and tender moments when I look back and reflect upon what used to be in my backyard…at what was just a few minutes’ driving time from the house. And there it is….