That might not really be a word, “reflectioning,” but I’m not too concerned about what it really might or might not be. It struck me as appropriate when I was viewing the photos I made from my fourth and most recent trip out to Antelope Island State Park, Utah. Maybe it can become a word if enough people begin and continue to use it…so go ahead and try it out, if you’d like…use it in a few sentences…try to fit it in somehow on your Christmas cards this year…it’s not trademarked or anything….
Anyway…my Utah son and I made another trek to the island this past October and I brought home these photos. If you can recall any of my other trips out there (you can find them by searching in the archives [below] of February and September of 2012, and again in February of 2014), you might notice how much lower the water level is this time.
This Wikipedia article on the Great Salt Lake addresses the fluctuating lake levels, record lows and highs…as well as many other interesting things lake-related.
There wasn’t much of a breeze, no gusting winds, and no scalding sunshine (it was sunny, but nice), so while the inversion/smog layer was out there in the distance polluting the sky, it made for nice layering effects for the captured images.
I would have preferred the above photo to include the top of the island in the reflection, but that was not to be had, thanks to the water level. Hmm…having just typed that, I might have been able to get it in the image if I had stood on top of my son’s car as it was parked on the causeway behind us…. I don’t think he would have appreciated that, though, as he just picked it up from the dealership that week.
This person was of a similar mind, being out there with a camera (phone?) and taking advantage of the simple marvels offered by a little trip to the island on a Saturday afternoon. All of those black specks in the image are actually birds, not dirt on the camera lens. 🙂
I found myself in Utah this weekend…tried to lose myself so I’d have an excuse not to return to the desert, but alas, I remained on known and numbered roadways and managed to get there and back…with one or two photos tucked into my camera for memory’s sake….
We rode into a morning sky that was dusty with flour-like earth from yesterday’s wind…colors were muted and the shapes of the distant landscape lived only in silhouette form….
Roughly sixteen miles south of Beaver, Utah, one can leave Interstate 15 and take Highway 20 east through the mountains, catch Highway 89 and continue south through Panguitch, Glendale, Orderville, Mt Carmel, and Kanab as one makes their way further into the high deserts of Arizona and beyond. This image is facing south from the side of Highway 20 and gives the viewer a nice glimpse of some of the finer things of a cloudy morning in early April…rolling fields of Sage, Cedar covered hillsides, and snow-covered mountains….
Another view looking west from Highway 89-T south of Page, Arizona….just a bit further down the road from the location of the image in my last post.
it was the first in another stage of what has already been many trips down the road to and from an old place to a new one and back again and now the old is new and the new is old and desire is pulled in its different directions while the things that are passing are indeed passing and mostly without notice because they are not seen in their many familiarities, the eyes are on the road and the surrounding mountains and clouds in order to make it from one point to another and all the things in between are scant registers on a mental screen that has been focused toward what is within and not without…
the shadowed and purpled mountains didn’t register inside the lens as they did in my mind and it was only with disappointment that I stared at the screen with its muted hues and wondered at beauty and desire and hope, I had looked closer in another direction, through the side window, actually, beyond the bug-splatter on the forward windscreen and the highway railing and yellow lines and fractured glass and butts along the shoulder and it didn’t just come to me then, I had to seek it out, intentionally
We never know what we’re going to encounter on a road-trip. I found this determined individual on US Highway 89 just north of Panguitch, Utah, a few months ago…kind of tucked him away and forgot about him…suppose it’s time to let him go ahead and do what he’s gotta do….
This is the original photograph if you’re interested….
It’s nice sometimes, and necessary at other times, to take a step back…or up, to get another view of the objects of our attention…. It’s amazing what we can see when we’re not so focused on the one single thing…but on the whole and big/huge picture…. I hope you’ll enjoy these photos of one of my favorite places here in the canyons and mountains near Salt Lake City, Utah, USA….
This is what appears to be an old water-wheel house on the banks of the stream in Little Cottonwood Canyon. If you were to peer inside the window, you could see the old spooned wheel that used to turn with the flow of water to generate electricity many years ago.
Here’s another view from a little farther away…. I’m actually standing in the middle of the stream-bed taking the picture. The stream is empty right now, as the entirety of the water is being captured upstream and diverted into the water supply for the metropolitan Salt Lake City area. It will be flowing bank to bank in a couple of months when the water from the snow-melt is running.
This shot is from the slope heading up the side of the mountain that is on the south side of the canyon…you can see the empty stream-bed.
And lastly, this one is from way up on the side of the mountain. You can see the wheel-house on the stream bank near the lower right-hand corner of the photo….
If you’ll scroll back to “City Paint 6.1 – Becoming,” you’ll see the first two weeks’ progress on this western-themed mural that happens to be on the wall that encloses a parking lot behind a gun store, of all things. This is the third installment of the mural’s progress, the first two being covered in the earlier post. By the amount of work that’s been done since the last set of shots, it looks like it might be completed during this next week.
The first three shots are the three panels of the mural that are similar to the photos from the earlier post, presented in order from left to right.
And the final four photos are close-ups of the significant pieces of the mural, offered to show greater detail of the work….
Driving home from a visit to Phoenix last month, we had to stop the truck in a hurry to try to capture as much of this as possible. We were still about 40 miles south of Flagstaff and the road was winding and dipping around and below trees and rocks…and after probably another half mile or so, I was finally able to find a relatively unobstructed view of this amazing sunrise.
Did you ever ask your mom or dad what made that sound, that some kind of something that went “bump” in the night when all the lights were out and everyone was supposed to be in bed? I think I might have found him…lurking ‘neath the bushes alongside a vintage motorcycle that was parked in the front-yard of an old farmhouse…way out in the country where the hants live and walk about on moonlit nights….
It was day-time and I was just passing-by, so who can say where he was headed…who can offer where he might be tip-toeing tonight…?
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.
A tiny hand and arm used to clutch me tightly, and then less so as the minutes passed by and by. With my soft fur pressed against the little one’s flannel pajamas and fleece blanket, I could smell baby soap sometimes, and syrup, too, or the green of grass and the dusty rich gold and orange of fallen leaves…the rough and scrapey brown of tree bark on his little hands. I could hear his soft breathing, his tiny lips moving around his thumb…or the tiny baby snort when he moved again and grabbed for me absently, blindly in his sleep…. And then the car stopped…and the door opened…and I tumbled out…and away…and away…
…and now I find the sun rising and setting with the sounds of passing machines of large and small, with hard winds and whistling bugs and the grit and grime of flying things…
…and I wonder where his soft hand is now…and his smells….and I wonder if he’ll ever come back…or if I’ll always be lost…
…on the road, somewhere…between here and there….
It’s Friday again, somehow, and thankfully…and I simply do not want to get started on my work-day, even though it technically started about half an hour and more ago. I’ve been looking at a photography blog that contains photos taken in Colorado, outdoor shots of people and nature, and it was so easy to stay there and not attend to the stack of papers on my desk that represent people and infections and stories and trying to be nice as I listen to their unconcern, panic, or whatever their names and phone numbers hold for me today. I marveled at the pictures of scenery and nature that so resemble the area of my new home and the beauty of Fall and her changing seasons.
As I was driving to work this morning, I couldn’t help notice the orange and yellow and pink and red of the leaves on the trees and sidewalks in our downtown and nearby residential areas. It reminded me again of the walk/hike I took at this time last year through Memory Park and City Creek Canyon. Upon further reflection, it dawned on me that I went there exactly one year ago next week, so even the stars and planets are similarly aligned, as the trees and everything were the same…as I looked again at the pictures I had taken and posted on Facebook.
The office is now waking and my co-workers are talking on their phones with their own patients and infections and the computer keys are tapping in their fast and slow paces and the piano music is still talking to my heart from my computer’s speakers and the cars and trucks pass silently and loudly on the street below our eastern-facing windows, as the boss is gone today and it’s Friday, again, and the pen feels so good in my hand as its tip scratches the paper and I can still smell the wood-smoke and feel the chill in my ears and nose as I remember my walk from last evening…as the echoes of my little one’s boisterousness rang in my ears and reverberated still with flashes and snapshot images of his silly and smiling eyes and clownish grin. So I think I’ll take him and his brother/nephew out to City Creek Canyon and see if they enjoy the colors of the falling leaves and the crisp morning air as much as I do and will…and maybe I’ll snap some beautiful photos to post here, too…of people and nature, and people, too.
I guess the theme is natural white…the color we find in the elegantly contrasting clouds against the rich blue sky, the massive mountains of White, or “Temple” Granite that were the birthplace for the boulders that were used to build the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, and the crush of water that is flying and thundering down the Little Cottonwood Canyon Stream…all beautifully brilliant and alluring….
Liberty Park is about a mile from my workplace in downtown Salt Lake City. It’s roughly a quarter of a mile wide and a half mile long, so it makes for an excellent lunch-time routine, walking there, making one circuit of the paved perimeter, and then walking back…it takes just under an hour. The first time I went to the park, which was in probably September of last year, I found the trees almost mesmerizing me with their huge trunks and canopies of leaves as I tried walking around the track. I don’t know that I had ever seen trees so tall, especially in the middle of the city. Anyway, I’ve been meaning to take some photos of the trees to share here, and even though they are still bare from the continuing winter weather, I find them beautiful and alluring…maybe even awe-inspiring.
The Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City was built from blocks of white granite that were “mined” from a “quarry” near the entrance to Little Cottonwood Canyon, just south and east of the city. When I imagined what a quarry might be, I pictured a huge hole in the ground, or at least a huge scar on the rocky side of a mountain. The blocks for the temple were actually carved out of boulders that fell from the mountainside in the canyon. I’m not advertising for the Mormons or the beautiful architectural feat of their showcase temple, I am, however, sharing the natural beauty of the place where this people gently obtained what they needed to build it.
You can see a boulder in the very bottom and center of the picture that came from the mountain above.
It’s probably easier to see the size of the boulders that were used from this picture than the last one.
Frozen waterfall from the snowmelt on the side of the mountain. There’s not normally a stream there, so I imagine it’s just from the melting snow on a few warmer days.
This is the snowy canyon at the base of the mountains. The creekbed/streambed is in there somewhere…not running now, but frozen and diverted further up the canyon.
It’s crazy what the fog does when it freezes on the branches and poles…beautiful crazy….
Took this at the end of the hike…heading toward early afternoon and the winter sun was just creeping over this part of the Wasatch range…beautiful.
Go Sun Devils!
The pictures aren’t the greatest, given that I had to climb into the tub and take them through the window and between the bathroom blinds, but it appears that we had some type of falcon or hawk stop in one of our backyard trees for a breather…or maybe he thought he spied a mouse or something scurrying along in the morning snow. Again, the pictures are a little grainy, and maybe not as spectacular as one of my fellow blogger’s backyard guests, but I thought it was neat having the visitor that we did.
Some photos from the past couple weekends – last Sunday it was sunny and over 50 degrees, this weekend it was snowing and in the 30’s…and still beautiful. We had to stop a few times during the hike just to absorb it all. After having lived in the desert for the past 20-some years, it is still incredible that we are here with the mountains in our backyard. Enjoy….
I went again to that familiar place and found it changed beyond my reckoning. The form was present, as it wouldn’t change in my lifetime, I hope, but there was a white and pristine dressing on all that I beheld. Massive boulders and tiny rocks and winter-bare trees and bushes and then, the snow had touched them and quieted all I could see. The stream was still there with ice on her banks and hanging in icicle-form from suspended and up-ended trees and branches which lay in and over the waterway. Crystalline spears dangling in fragile state over the rushing water and forming in widening plates along the shore. No birds I saw as I trod the path, but tracks of deer large and small with their pointed hooves joined the joggers’ prints up and down the trail. Deeper into the woods and away from the stream were large cat prints and rabbit tracks and a spray of urine from something as he passed along. My heart is joyous for having been there today, yet sad somehow, in that I had to leave. I yearn still for that icy breath of breeze in my face and the white-coated pine trees and bushes and the smell of rich earth and decaying leaves and warm mulch and the essence, somehow, of an evergreen musky richness that came through a stand of bare, white-trunked aspens and isolated Christmas trees…and I had to stop and look around for what might be watching me. I could see no eyes in their form and heard no movement other than the rushing stream from near and far and a sometimey drop of snow from overhead branches and then. I saw a snow-cone of white-topped berries high in a tree that was bare of leaves and wondered, where were the birds whose treat awaited them. I saw the bark stripped off the side of a tree and looked for claw marks and found none. A shadow moved overhead and I saw a squirrel dart along the branch and start scolding me with his short chirps and flicking tail. He ran up the branch and hid on the other side of the tree trunk. He wouldn’t come near and he wouldn’t stand still long enough for the telephoto lens on the camera to catch him in a frame that would make him mine forever, and yours.
As I sit here and sip my afternoon coffee, my still-booted feet yet feel the trail beneath my soles and I can hear the crunching of snow in my memory…and the ringing in my ears is loud in the quiet of the room as my ears and nose warm from the chill. I didn’t notice the ringing as I looked at the clear stream tumbling over its rocks and logs and pouring into aquamarine and crystal-clear pools along the way. I heard only the rippling and rustling and rumbling of the water finding its way…as the heater kicks-on again and the coffee starts to cool and a piano melody rolls in my memory and the clouds are low in the evening sky. And in my mind, I go again to that familiar place and find it changed beyond my reckoning…and calling me still.
Life changes as it does and sometimes brings with it a peace that goes beyond words. My new home and new environment have returned my soul to the place where it was born. It is not the same locale where I fell in love with the outdoors, but the geography and essence are the same. Gone are the big city and desert…and here are the mountains…and peace restored. These are some of my new favorite places:
My ears are still ringing and my head is still buzzing or humming from the road-wind and travel and my arms and legs can still feel the pulling and turning and little bumps in the roadway that have embedded themselves into the corporeal memory of my day and afternoon. We have traveled, I and me, from the south to here again and have resumed the new habits and routine that have become mine in these last days and week. I have returned to here from there, from my home and home to this place of preparation and waiting. The long road and miles took me back to that place that has been mine and ours for these many years, that place of rest and sanctuary from the world and its assailing us and me. I have found myself here again after being there for only a couple days and my mind is still there as these keys type and start and stop and wonder at the words as they come and go and form and don’t and retype themselves as the clothes tumble in the dryer and I wonder at who’s sleeping and not. I wonder at who has cried today and not. I wonder at the quiet here and the eyes in the pictures and the empty pillow and the couch that used to be there in our bedroom and is now here in my living room. It’s tall and large and greenish golden brown and fit in that first and intended place and is now huge in its occupying of space and then. It looks like it belongs somewhere else as I think of tomorrow and the people who will be in mine and the other people’s tomorrows in which I will not be in substance and form.
Words came to me in the turning of the wheels and the passing of the wind and sahuaros and stands of shoulder-high sunflowers in their patchiness and grounded and monster junipers with their blue-berried cones all jumping and a-gaggle in their hodge-podge placement and positioning on the hills and passing landscape with the prickled-pears and cow-tongued cacti that clung neatly and a-jumbled along the side of the carven hillsides that bound and bordered that twisting ribbon of concrete and asphalt for those many miles from there to here. Those many miles that spoke in sundry tongues and painted images with their palate of words and thoughts that fled in happenstance at and in their impermanence, their scattered thoughts and round again and between glimpses at the guardrail and the mountains that command in their presence, Do come and stay and make anew that home and home and prepare the way for those to follow like the earlier pioneers who made their trails and forded streams and were the first and first as they went away.
I pondered the thought of this not being home yet and the gentle pressing of keys that told of hating the place where lonely lives, that ghosted realm of things and people gone from where they used to be, gone from where they’ve always been and not within reach or touch or the distance of a cross-room glance, but gone…and it lives alone there and waits the knocking door, the familiar step, the simple look, and the…rolling tears and the empty chair.
And the images of faces known and voices left behind, those Sunday mornings of yesterday and what they held and laughter and friends and none await me yet and the past is full and the present bare and the mountains beckon me and tell me that they will be my first friend here, as I think of my first friend there and my last one, too, and note the passing of time that was short and the leaving soon…and here we are, wondering at what tomorrow will bring.
If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, you might remember the posts Daydream, To go Away, The Remove, The Stuff of Life and…maybe not. I suppose it doesn’t matter, either you’ve read them or you haven’t, either you know me or you don’t, and that probably doesn’t matter either. Run, run, run away….
Life is moving hard and fast in the direction of great change. I am on the brink of leaving what I have known for ten and twenty years and starting all over again somewhere else, returning to a slightly familiar place where I will no longer be a visitor and returning to an occupation that I have once loved and hope to fully embrace again. I will not be a novice this time around, but things will be so different and in such a different place that my experience will only be a foundation for new learning.
The excitement of the past few weeks and the anticipation they held have been tucked under the emotional costs that I will soon pay for making the change. Rather, the excitement has been tucked under the “realization” or “coming to fullness” in acknowledging that cost, naming the faces that I will be leaving behind for good. Yes, I will be leaving my spouse and children for a time, but I will see them at intervals over the next few months, and the expectation is only that we’ll be separated for six months at most…but given the realities of life as I leave a part of it behind me and the circuits in which the loved ones travel, there is a strong likelihood that the six months will become only three or four and we will be joined again in our family fullness. The others, though, the friends and co-workers who have become special over the past years will likely be left behind in those worlds of our collective past where we existed together. Sure, we’ll see each other on Facebook and in occasional or seasonal emails and cards, but the truth and reality of life will probably dictate that we are going to exist more as memories than participants in our continuing lives. That is what the past tells me, anyway, those other laps around the proverbial block.
A week or so ago I went to dinner with two old and dear friends from a previous time in my life. The occasion for the dinner was to have one last get-together before I launched out into that other city and state that will likely be my home until I am no more. We had a nice couple of hours together, eating chips and enchiladas and drinking beer while we shared new stories from our lives since we parted and recounted memories from our time together. And when the evening was done and we all drove away in our different directions to our separate sides of town, it struck me that we had already parted. We had already made that divide of hearts and emotions and this new parting wasn’t sad, which at first struck me as sad in itself, but then just left me feeling a little empty somehow, like maybe anticlimactic, or post-climactic, if that’s an appropriate word. In truth, I guess that’s what it was. We had already parted; we had really already said goodbye. We had shed our tears eleven years earlier when I had first left them in our common workplace and had gone on to my new one. Even though we met probably half a dozen times or more in these past years, the hurt of the leaving had already been felt, we have already mourned; it’s done already…and it’s time for that whole experience to happen again with another group of people…another group of friends. We are cutting the cords, the ties that have bound us to each other for these past and passing years. I suppose I am cutting the cords and ties. It is my action, again, that is doing this, and then goodbye…. You have peopled my world, tugged on my heart, and will now live on in my memories and occasional contacts. I miss you already.
In that solitude there will be quiet and pain and the tinkling of only one spoon in the cup, one plate on the table, and only one head on the pillow. Shared voices will be found only on the telephone or in the crisp letters that travel through space and time and appear on a computer screen in an email at home and back and on the tiny text page of the phone. The nuances of expression will be gone and nobody else will wake with my stirring. The sounds of breathing will be my own and the thoughts abounding will all sound familiar.
And I am here and finally and up in the great northern place to which I have been yearning for all these months and weeks and days. I found myself here yesterday afternoon after only four hours’ sleep and about ten hours driving and the wind was blowing and the sky clouded with the salt plumes from the northern part of the landed city. I was hungry and tired and actually worn-out with what I had just done and I wondered what the hell I had actually done. I wondered if things were a mistake and I hadn’t even started the adventure. I’ll correct that…I have begun the adventure, as I have left family and friends and have stepped into the great and wide unknown that is up Here.
The wind has ceased in its craziness and is now just a strong breeze. The morning was quite chilly as I waited for the guy to arrive and connect the cable and internet services. I had the door open in waiting for him, along with the windows to create a cross-breeze that would do better at cooling the apartment than the central air-conditioning. And the day is now in its winding-down stages, coming to an end with only the evening remaining. My “house” is now as furnished as it needs to be to sustain me for these months, minus a chair-side table to hold my drink or remote, but otherwise, operational and looking something like a home, as it is known in the common sense.
I am feeling further out of sorts in my new surroundings. “Discombobulated” is a good word, I think. I know where I am, know why I am here, know where everyone else in my family is, and know when they will be joining me, but even with the familiar things in my little apartment home, the great outside is so different, the apartment is different, there are no pets, no kids, no wife, no backyard and no pool, and no police radio echoing in the background of my mind as I sit here in my late Sunday afternoon. I am feeling disjointed and un-centered…out of whack, out of sorts, half a bubble off plumb (in my life orientation, not my sanity), and maybe even like a ship without a rudder. I think that might speak to more serious problems than I really have going for me at the time, but it almost fits. I feel off. My bride told me that I should go for a drive or a hike to remind myself of the wonderful things that are here for me despite the aloneness I mentioned to her when we wrote each other earlier. So I did that…I went for a drive…down to Smith’s…where I had been so off kilter earlier that I left part of my groceries and other items there when I walked out of the store. I kept going, afterward, of course…drove southward down State Avenue to its end…some two or three towns south of my current home…my home away from home, my new home in transition from my old home…the home that I will call mine until my family gets up here in a few or several months…and then.
And later…I am in that strange and other place now and have left behind those I love and hold dear in different ways. It is a strange place and kind to my previous desert-dwelling soul, with morning kisses of chilly and promising breezes. My new home is only temporary, but it is and shall be my lodging and launching point as I head out into the wild beyond that shall nourish and sustain me until loved ones arrive in their time. There are familiar things here in this new and quiet place: my chair and music and pots and pans, the loving faces on the wall that have followed me and smile into my eyes as they will.
The quiet here is familiar, yet new and thick; there are no voices in the place, no cats to meow; only my thoughts populate these several walls. I should allow here that there are now voices and sounds, however, but they belong to people I haven’t met or seen; they only walk past my opened windows and talk as they get into the vehicles with the slamming doors and drive away to places I don’t know. The footsteps and sounds of a bath above me are from strangers, too. They are not of my children or kin and they exist as sounds only in this new world of my making.
Tomorrow will dawn and direct and urge me into another familiar unknown place and occupation. It will present new strangers to me and introduce new worlds that are waiting to be born. Time in its marching, plodding, and shuffling-along will open other doors, reveal new or different pathways, and bring experiences and lessons and stories of different shapes and hues.