She left for college last week, my youngest daughter. She was so excited and busy preparing. We were out together and I wanted to take her picture.
People are watching.
Come on, just stand over there. The light is nice.
She can be that way, stubborn, strong willed, opinionated. If there were still knights in the world, I’m sure she would be among their order, defending the weak, championing the right and the good against injustice. She was not shy about telling me when my decisions were, in her opinion, unjust. She was, often, like now, embarrassed by my actions.
Dad, not now.
I took a picture of her shadow as she walked away. I didn’t ask for permission.
She is gone, away to college. I am confident that in her studies she will find a grail, or bring back an elixir that will change the world. Her quest has certainly changed mine.
Our house is much quieter. I don’t wait up at night for her to come home. Her room is clean.
Yet, in the early morning, I still catch glimpses of her shadow and I find that I miss the light of her smile.
There are moments in life which transcend expectation, which transcend time. And there are places in life which transcend those moments. Transcendent experience is something to hope for, even, to seek after. Yet, the fleeting nature of transcendence reveals an existential quality of mortality.
Transcendence can not be achieved, it can only be experienced. And, the experience of transcendence comes when least expected.
It may be that transcendence is only possible when the imposition of expectation has been removed. Perhaps, in those moments, there is a void which only grace can fill. As grace reveals divinity, divinity reveals truth. Truth transcends the moment and our understanding of existence, who we are, where we come from, what our purpose is, becomes clear, or, if not clear, at least implied. In transcendent moments, inspired questions transform the heart. The sacred nature of transcendent transformation ennobles the soul.
Capitol Reef is such a place–a place of transcendent transformation; transcendent because it exceeds expectation; transformative because it is slowly, yet contagiously transforming.
I have , purposely, waxed philosophic. Indeed, the loftiness of the ideas expressed can not compare to the actual grandeur of visiting Capitol Reef, however briefly I was there. In geologic terms, any time that I could spend there, however long that might be, would be brief. Nevertheless,the time I spent in the park was transcendent.
It is impossible to capture the essence of the place, nevertheless, the majesty of the rocks cried out for something beyond the ordinary. So, forgive, if you will, my HDR sensibilities. While the images presented may lean toward hyper-reality, the actual experience of moments in Capitol Reef transcends the ordinary and claims the extraordinary.
Besides that, it was a lot of fun 🙂
Chimney Rock from a distance, Capitol Reef.
Capitol Reef rock formation on the trail to Hickman Bridge.
Chimney Rock in HDR
Freemont River cut, Capitol Reef National Park.
Davy and Anne at Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef.
Davy and Anne at Hickman Bridge, Capitol Reef.
The road through Grand Valley, Capitol Reef.
Wind Gate, Capitol Reef.
Chimney Rock, Capitol Reef.
In the distance, Capitol Dome rises above the sentinels of Capitol Reef.
Wide shot of Capitol Reef rock formation on the trail to Hickman Bridge.
It takes a while for things to change.
Patience and faith, they say.
I can’t wait. I won’t, I say.
Deep time puts the age of Earth at four-and-one-half billion years.
I sense immense distance in Earth’s span, yet the years mean nothing in comprehending the patterns of death and life and death again which deposit layers of yesterdays upon tomorrows, until all that remains is this moment.
I stand in a place where the evidence of change surrounds me, yet actual change can not be seen.
Perhaps these rocks crumble to dirt,
for a million, maybe a billion years, for me to walk this path.
Red dirt sticks to my shoes and I carry it with me in defiance of the law of long waits.
I am here. Now.
The wind soughs and the rocks speak in whispers. I stand still and listen. The words do not bring me comfort. Change is as the rocks.
I look up at the sandstone sentinels and the sky stretches out before me.
I am small, insignificant, tenuous.
I look down and a silver stream glints below towering canyon walls. My heart skips a beat and I step back from the ledge. I have climbed much higher than I realize.
My breath catches as my son scales the cliffs below me. The rocks he climbs are hard broken. I call out not to walk those rocks, they may crumble. He has not yet reached the precipice on which I stand and must choose his path. I squint in harsh sunlight and see myself in his approaching shadow.
I feel old.
I see in him that I am old,
old in that my body is not what it once was;
not so old, in that the elements which make up my frame have not yet been scattered by hot winds relentlessly carving through stone.
My son will climb much higher than I have steps remaining. Yet, I still have steps remaining.
And the Gods said, “Let it be so.” And they watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed. For even the Gods must watch and wait.
In the vast continuum of eternity, patience and faith take time.
So I am learning.
Wistfully, I lift a handful of dust and toss it to the sky. The wind accepts my offering.
My time has come. I have touched the rock of ages and must not linger.
In deep time,
the changes I hope for are carving the canyons of my soul.
Looking up at Hickman Bridge.
Red dirt gives way to azure skies.
Worn ragged by the forces of nature, this rock came to rest at the bottom of a cliff as a wrecked ship rests on the sea bottom.
Among the aging sandstone some forms of live thrive, others pass out of existence.
Towering sentinels of Capitol Reef.
Evidence indicates that in a flash flood, Grand Wash is not the place to be.
Very little water and harsh conditions favor plants which learn to adapt.
Davy scales the cliffs near Hickman Bridge bowl.
Morning sun rises over Hickman Bridge.
Named after Joseph Hickman, Hickman natural bridge is 133 feet long and 125 feet high.
Weather sandstone makes for interesting trail markers on the Hickman Bridge trail in Capitol Reef.
The Freemont river cuts a valley just below Capitol Dome.
Anne and Davy stand below 125 foot high Hickman Bridge.
Capitol Dome, Capitol Reef National Park.
Red dirt still glows just after sunset in Capitol Reef National Park.
Moon sets over Capitol Reef National Park.
The Big Dipper rises above Grand Wash Wind Gate in Capitol Reef.
Stars above Grand Wash Capitol Reef.
View of Chimney Rock Capitol Reef.
Capitol Reef National Park.
Verdant valleys contrast the sandstone cliffs of Capitol Reef National Park.
Trees provide welcome shade at the Fuita Campground in Capitol Reef National Park.
Apple orchards thrive in the valleys of Capitol Reef National Park.
Apple orchards thrive in the valleys of Capitol Reef.
This is the last of ten images in my show at the Cedar City Art Walk, in Cedar City, Utah. If you haven’t yet seen the show, there is still time. The show runs through the end of the month. If you can’t see the show check out each of the images on my blog. Thanks for stopping by.
Her fingers were relentless, working the root fibers back and forth, back and forth, smooth; arms and shoulders made strong with the repetition of mat making. In a crumbling stone building, the women of Yamoransah toil daily to transform roots into food. Mats are a useful by-product.
She showed me how she made them; the same way her mother made them, and her grandmother before her; the heat of West Africa bringing nothing more than a sheen to her chocolate smooth skin, while I was drenched in sweat.
Without words we watched each other work, I with my camera, she with her body. When I motioned for permission to take her photograph, she held my gaze. I looked in her eyes and she did not look away. Our worlds were separated by barely bridgeable miles and Lifetimes of experience. Our lives were mutually incomprehensible. Yet, in this moment I was blessed by her grace. I left Yamoransah with more than I expected.
For more info on my show check out a June 11th article in The Spectrum.
I originally intended to post seven sunsets from Brazil, but the number seven hasn’t been good for Brazil this week, so I think I’ll stop at 6. Besides, I’m flying right now and can’t watch their game against the Netherlands. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll post a sunrise shot, instead. Or, maybe I’ll just post the rest of my Brazil gallery and call it quits. Here’s to a less competitive, stress reduced life. Let’s go net fishing in Recife 🙂
By this point, you might be wondering why I’m not in Brazil. For that matter you might be asking yourself why you’re not in Brazil. I can’t answer that question for you, except to say that if you have to see a spectacular sunset, Brazil is a great place to do so.