Sand

“I always say, if you keep your head in the sand, you don’t know where the kick’s coming from.” ~H Mann

Silence in The Sands
Silence in The Sands

I’m not sure you know where the kick is coming from, ever. I hardly ever bury my head in the sand yet have had my share. Life gives you lots of kicks and if you have not had kicks, you haven’t really lived. So, you get bruised and the bruises heal; you might be left with a scar but even that can fade with time.  I don’t know how to avoid life’s kicks nor would I really want to; a kick can be a lesson or a wake up call. But what I do know about a kick is that you can only be responsible for your own actions and that means getting up again from a kick and not letting it define you.

I’m dusting the sand off as I speak……

Lake

“Perhaps the truth lies within a walk around a lake.”~W Stevens

Lake (1 of 1)
The Cottonwoods Are Just Changing to Yellow around The Lake.

I do believe that it is true that truth can come from a meditative walk in nature. If I’ve had a bad day or experience, being absorbed in natural surroundings always seems to help me clarify things and make my mind more at peace!

Change

“You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself. That is something you have charge of.”~J Rohn

The change of seasons is just starting here.
The change of seasons is just starting here.

How true, you can only change yourself. Your past cannot be changed but how you let it affect you can be steered in a positive or negative, constructive or destructive, life-affirming or life-negating way. Part of that is caring enough of yourself to want the best possible future and part of that is taking responsibility for your own life in the here and now.

Rainbow

“Try to be a rainbow in someone’s cloud.”~Maya Angelou

 

A Double Treat, A Full Moon Rising And A Rainbow.
A Double Treat, A Full Moon Rising And A Rainbow.

I try to be the rainbow……but once in a while, I can also be the storm cloud itself. I am multi-faceted like that. 🙂 

Hearing the rumbling of thunder late yesterday afternoon, I decided I’d go and see what the sky would produce and it turned out that I got the usual clouds but also a rainbow AND the moon as it was rising in the early evening sky. That is something I had not yet seen in my lifetime so I was quite happy that I ran out when I did. I have said this many times but photography has given me numerous gifts of seeing things and being aware of things that I never would have if not for my hobby/passion.  Sometimes the image is secondary to the event, as was so in this case. 

Transformation

Transformation literally means going beyond your form.”~W Dyer

Transformation-something is taken away yet also gained.
Transformation-something is taken away yet also gained.

When I was trying to find a quote for this image, I decided that transformation would be the key word. This area, called The Toadstools, has undergone quite a transformation. The wind, sand and water have created natural sculptures throughout the area. There are a number of toadstool spots in and around Kanab, Utah where nature’s conditions have transformed the sandstone over time. In a way, the toadstools are an analogy for man: we are born one way and transform over time, losing some things yet gaining others. Hopefully, what transpires is for the better, not worse.

We drove here after an afternoon in the Grand Canyon and I was hoping for clouds ☁︎☁︎ (yes, that word again) and to have arrived a bit earlier. By the time we got out to the toadstool area, the sun was setting rapidly. I tried to shoot as much as possible in the 30 minutes we had before it got too dark and we had to skedaddle (one reason why camping is a definite bonus when it comes to landscape photography) or we may have had to possibly spend the night ,not camping, just frantic out in the open and unprepared. We actually got a bit lost heading back but we made it to the car right as darkness really fell. Had I been with other photographers, I’d have suggested a return to this area on the way back. Two against one, I did not even mention it. But I am already planning a Kanab trip in the fall when it will be cooler and more enjoyable as the temps had hit 100* plus while we were there.

I am happy to say that parched Prescott got some rain on Saturday and the monsoons are setting in. I am hoping for a lot of rain this season as we certainly are in desperate need of it!

 

 

Carpet

“To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.”~H Keller

Lush Green Fern Carpet Amongst The Summer Aspens
Lush Green Fern Carpet Amongst The Summer Aspens And Pines

I was hoping for some wildflowers on a trip up to Flagstaff but instead was greeted with a plush carpet of verdant ferns.  As a desert-dweller, it was still a nice and unexpected treat to see that green. Some of the flowers were just beginning to sprout so maybe in about a month’s time they will burst forth, although with such little rain this year, it is bound to be a sparse year for them. But one can hope! Realistic hope is good.

I get an itch to change my WP theme every so often and today was that time again. One of these days, I will splurge on a theme specifically for photography, explicitly a paid one and maybe even use my http://www.artizenimages.com domain name that has been languishing in internet Neverneverland. 😉

Painted

“Photograph: a picture painted by the sun without instruction in art.”~A Bierce

Painted Desert in Orange
The Painted Desert, painted in mostly hues of orange.

The crazy winter weather of Saturday died down by Sunday and I was left with just wind.  And thankfully, some spectacular clouds. I had a dull sunset on Saturday and those clouds almost made up for it. I was also told by one of the Park Rangers that the colors at The Painted Desert (shown here) were more vibrant on Sunday due to dust being washed off of the rocks by Saturday’s weather.  After all, that must have been a lot of accumulation of dust with the miniscule precipitation we have received here in Arizona over the past few months.

The Petrified Forest National Park was less impressive as the colors are more muted there but the “rocks” on the ground are quite interesting! You can actually see the rings of the tree, the bark and the core inside transformed into what appears to be solid granite.  The petrified wood lies all around, some look like large whole trees fallen to the ground, other pieces are fairly small like mulch. That area was much harder to come up with a satisfying comp than the Painted Desert as it is less interesting photographically speaking.

All in all, I got so see Nature’s beauty, Route 66 kitsch,  abandoned buildings and vintage vehicles on the Mother Road, witnessed a pretty dusting of snow, stood on the corner in Winslow, Arizona (it was an okay sight to see), visited the building where Peter and Dennis were not given a room at the inn in the movie “Easy Rider”and a wolf tried to get into my car window (seriously) …all on one 36 hour trip! The wolf bit….I’ll leave that one for next post. 😉

 

Moon

“And if the cloud bursts thunder in your ear,
You shout and no one seems to hear.
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon. “~Lyrics. Pink Floyd

MOONSCAPESM (1 of 1)
The dark and light side of the moon-White Pocket, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument.

Being at White Pocket felt like being on some weird, alien landscape…….maybe the moon, but with gravity to keep you grounded.  It is the most bizarre, dramatically gorgeous and serene place I have ever been. To get there requires a high clearance, 4WD vehicle in order to drive the sandy road and while it is only 8 miles or so long, it takes a good hour to maneuver around jagged rocks, pits in the road and that deep sand. But let me tell you, it is all worth it!

No lights or buildings or people for miles, the stars at night were bright and abundant and I even got to make a wish on a shooting star. I have wanted to go here for years and finally made it last weekend. I only spent less than 24 hours there and the sky was rather flat for the vast majority of that time but I plan on finding a way back there. We camped overnight and in 27* weather, unseasonably cold for April. Even that was worth it to see this unique and wonderful place!