Confusion is a word we have invented for an order which is not understood. —Henry Miller
Often, it is beautiful light that brings solitude into focus.
There’s a difference between solitude and loneliness. —Maggie Smith
Whether it’s juniper trees huddled on a ledge, or a crow and its shadow sailing on an updraft, life inside Arizona’s Canyon de Chelly must be resilient to endure and flourish in the unforgiving desert environment.
What makes the desert beautiful is that somewhere it hides a well. —Antoine de Saint-Exupery
After our rewarding stopover in Delta, Ulrich and I angled southeast, to Capitol Reef National Park and Cathedral Valley.
We made an early start from Duke’s Campground in Hanksville the next morning, driving west on State Route 24 to Cathedral Valley Road, near Caineville. We weren’t making the entire loop tour, only the fifteen or so miles out to The Temples of the Sun and Moon, but it was slow-going due to frequent World Class Washboarding. I parked near the Temples barely five minutes before direct sunlight began spilling into the valley.
Befitting its name, the valley was q-u-i-e-t, and it was all ours. Shouldering our tripods, we wandered pleasantly until the light lost its edge and shadows began to recede. I cooked bacon and scrambled eggs and potatoes for breakfast then, and was cleaning dishes when the first Jeep tour arrived.
The washboards felt even worse on the return leg, so I took it easy and stopped several times for pictures. Back in Hanksville, we ate lunch at Blondie’s before continuing south on Highway 95.
The humming and buzzing of pollinators has fled from our garden, leaving the dry rustling notes of August behind. Bee balm was the last flower for the butterflies and bumble bees and hummingbirds, and now it’s letting its hair down, another cycle complete, the chaos of its form still inviting. From everyone who visited it, including this photographer, our kindest regards.
Silent gratitude isn’t very much to anyone. —Gertrude Stein
I camped one evening in June in central Oregon, in the Ochoco Mountains east of Prineville, where I was surrounded by my favorite tree, the Ponderosa pine.
Darkness beat me to the campsite; the next morning, a crisp breeze was chasing clouds in an overcast sky when I rolled out of my sleeping bag. How long would the soft, even light last? I hurried to set up my tripod and camera, made sure I had shoes on, then wandered through the forest to visit with the trees.
It was a good morning for listening. As I moved the tripod from one tree to the next, each Ponderosa told a unique, individual story. I took notes with the camera for two hours, until the sun broke free of clouds and it was time to go.
I didn’t have time to hear their stories to the end, but I was entertained by the details they shared, and I’ll continue our conversations when I drive through those mountains again.
How dear the woods are! You beautiful trees! I love every one of you as a friend. —Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea