Sunday, March 22, 2009

Death Valley Photos

I am having trouble with my slide show that has disappeared for some reason and I'll continue to work on that. I thank my dear friend Robin for her suggestion to add still shots for those not having fast computer connections. So, to catch two birds with one peanut (I love birds and don't want to kill them with stones) I'm going to add some still shots of Death Valley. The image above is from the Furnace Creek Inn, an historic inn, complete with restaurant, spa, and afternoon tea. The setting is surreal, as the Inn grounds are an oasis of palm trees and tropical plants in an area where it looks like almost nothing lives. As I stood on the verandah of the inn, I imagined myself in an exclusive 30's Hollywood setting, looking out over a harbor on the Pacific. However, the "ocean" that is seen in the distance is a dry shimmering salt sea.

The above photo is along the Golden Canyon trail, which is mostly rocks, scant vegetation, even less of it alive, and only one fly that I saw. No birds, no lizards.

Even the rocks are dry and cracked!

The above shot shows the Red Rocks at the end of the trail, beyond the end of the trail, as it turned out.

Golden Canyon trail ends here in a blind hollow called Red Cathedral. This steep climb rewarded me with a surprisingly intimate space in the midst of a vast landscape.

The view outward from the Cathedral is shows the labyrinthine nature of the trail.

During our late afternoon drive through Artists Loop, we were rewarded with the setting sun's illumination of the rocks' almost unbelievable colors, as seen in the above 2 photos.

Small flowers bloomed at the entrance to the park, offering a small refreshment at the end of a parched landscape. As you can see, they survive with very little soil or moisture, reminding me to be grateful for the abundance of resources available to me.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Death Valley

My husband and I went to Death Valley National Park today and hiked through Golden Canyon. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, but still, hiking in the dry desert dehydrated us and wore us out. We drove along Artist's Road, where the rocks were "painted" with surprising colors. They were especially stunning in the late day sunlight. I expected desert, but there are almost no plants here, just one that looks like holly, and half of them were dead. I saw no birds. A fly flew by me in Golden Canyon. That was it!!

It's fun to explore a new and foreign landscape and enjoy the treasures it offers. In this case, amazing colors, beautiful solidified sand dune structures, and a landscape that mimics what I imagine the moon is like.

When I got home I made a slide show on One True Media that I've entered below. This helped me appreciate our day's explorations even more, because now I get to share them.

What have you explored recently? How might you memorialize or share the experience?

Friday, March 6, 2009

Slowly Fading into the Depths of Time

Petroglyph Magic

As I viewed the photos I took today at Valley of Fire State Park north of Las Vegas, NV, I saw contemporary human graffiti that I hadn't noticed in the bright sunlight. These petroglyphs are slowly fading due to the effects of wind, weather, pollution, and careless people. I thought of how empty the world will be when these ancient messages disappear for good. The petroglyphs' increasingly ephemeral existence breaks my heart and feeds my gratitude that they still exist to inspire wonder.

I had the photo program "fix" this photo and love the effect. Almost looks like a version of constellations overlying the depths of the solar system. Isn't it amazing that one can walk into the desert in the presence of human imagery from nearly 2,000 years ago and ponder its meaning?

These haunting pictures, pecked as they are in the desert varnish covering red sandstone formations, lead me to contemplate the power of the image. What gives these petroglyphs their power? The intention with which they were created? The integrity of their making with the pulse of the life of the people who made them? What gives some art this cathedral-like sense of awe and wonder? How might those of us who make art infuse our work with this depth of spirit?

May these petroglyphs inspire wonder and reflection for generations to come.