Not on a burned tortilla, grilled-cheese sandwich, or even in the faded paint on the side of an old weathered barn…but walking among us…sleeping under our same roof for almost 20 years…who knew…?
It was Tuesday morning after an anxious Monday…stressful months.
So many things have happened so far in this year of 2020…
…lies revealed, viruses emerged, taxes not filed, bountied soldiers’ lives not acknowledged, quarantines served…
…promises broken, tallies marked, masks unworn, lives lost, children caged, families torn, secrets revealed…
alliances broken, and real heroes scorned.
Sometimes it hurts to pay attention.
My morning commute down quiet streets, following taillights…
…watching the eastern sky gray into dawn, encountering silhouette cityscapes of buildings…
power lines, and ubiquitous palm trees.
Others heading in the same direction, south on Central Avenue…the light rail…bicyclers…
…a far off desert “mountain” that defines the lower edge of the Valley of the Sun.
Art museum, opera, loft apartments, pharmacies, coffee shops, attorney general office, city athletic club…parking meters…
…cameras watching to see who steals through a light….
Heading east now and ever approaching my destination, passing charter schools, groceries, fast food, temp agencies…
…ever present construction zones…and hospitals.
My bride and I ate lunch at this city park decades ago…when our children were little and life was difficult, though less complicated….
I could go straight and then left and reach the office…or I could get on the freeway and go somewhere else…head west, then north and away.
When I found a pedestrian bridge on an evening walk in Utah, a local spray-can artist had adorned the walkway with “Seek Life.”
Looking west from the bridge…contemplating the day…desiring that it fulfills hopes…that more ballots are cast for my guy than the other….
An overhead ornament on the bridge…a simple thing in a complicated time. Breathe….
One from the archives…November, 2018…looking east along the Walking Jim Trail…Lake Pleasant in the distance…and the rolling desert hills in between here and there.
sometimes my daydreams are really thoughts about the things of which i would be dreaming, the words that describe what i would see or have seen, words i would use to tell you of the things i remember or wish to see again, so it might be appropriate to share those things in the black and white of words on paper, things which might be able to be described on the whole or in their collected parts, yet they are things which are beyond mere words when contemplated in the mixture of their richest essence, or in my experience, here
I visited an old friend when I was in Salt Lake City a couple of months ago…
You might remember it from the first posting here…
There is something particularly alluring about the bridge and its location…something that makes me want to return again and again….
On one side of the blown fence, it’s county park property, on the other side, it’s state trust land…land set aside for the state to use for its various institutions.
On one side, you drive through a gate with an attendant and pay $7 to access the park property for a day, and on the other you pay $15 to access it for a year, unless you’re a hunter, and then you only have to pay for the hunter’s license.
I parked outside of the gate on the trust side, stepped over the mangled fence, and went wandering through land that had single and double-track trails leading all over the desert, went past old watering ponds and tanks that had been marked with graffiti, stepped over spent shotgun and other shells, shattered clay pigeons, and beyond the other marks of man searching for more ancient trails of creatures that care nothing for trespassing signs and fences.
There were small and larger dry waterways with footprints of birds, mice, rabbits, lizards, and coyotes; tracks worn into the desert floor that were likely created by cattle heading toward the watering ponds from those past eras when the land was (more?) open and access was simply granted by desire; and tracks of time’s passing in the already parched desert grasses and wildflowers, the new buds on trees still waking in middle Spring, and various sizes of cacti in their growing, thriving, and dying.
Should I be concerned that I will be arrested for stealing the intellectual property contained in the images I made while trespassing on State land…..?
smoke from california’s november wildfires drifted across the desert and found a temporary home in the sonoran desert north of phoenix…lake pleasant under haze…as seen from the distant end of the walkin’ jim trail
A sunrise hike with one of my sons last weekend brought some spectacular desert views….
…with perspectives elevated above the fray that exists between here and there…
…treasures of an Arizona desert morning….
I had driven past these ruins (?) at least two dozen times over the last several years…and finally made the stop on my next to last trip before moving out of the state. The third and fourth images are from a second set of buildings just a little further down the road….
There were a couple of out-buildings, corrals, and a stable further up the hill and toward the left of these first two images.
These two building didn’t appear to be as old as the ones in first two photos…there were more “modern” pieces of junk and rubber-wheeled trailer parts on the property.
There was even a cement-stooled outhouse with a plastic seat about 20-30 yards uphill from the buildings. I hope there was also a cement septic tank to prevent the contents from leaching downhill toward the houses…if that’s what they were.
And lastly, here’s a color rendition of the first photo in the set. It was a pretty, mid-May afternoon in middle Utah, about six miles (or 15?) south of Panguitch, just off of Highway 89….
“Few are altogether deaf to the preaching of pine trees. Their sermons on the mountains go to our hearts; and if people in general could be got into the woods, even for once, to hear the trees speak for themselves, all difficulties in the way of forest preservation would vanish.”
– John Muir
“Between the wish and the thing, the world lies waiting.”
– Cormac McCarthy
This is the second image in the “Homestead” series, a collection of photographs of a particular setting, taken from slightly different perspectives and with various post-processing finishes that I have effected with Picasa. You can view the first/original photo by clicking here if you’d like to refresh your memory or have an immediate comparison for this black and white rendering…. Or, to see all of the photographs in the Homestead Series, you can scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Homestead Series under the Categories icon.
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.
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.