We look upon the landscape, finding patterns drawn in shadows as if projected to trigger our private memories, and we remember the day our world changed forever…Our friends and coworkers died…our industry flailed…our national confidence was violated…we, so accustomed to feeling in control and possessing of power, felt helpless…and we wondered, “why not us.” We will remember this feeling every day for the rest of our lives, but today is a day of remembrance…it’s not about stirring up (though it does) emotions in our complicated minds…It’s about keeping the history alive so that younger generations might understand what has shaped their world and they might begin to understand our incomprehensible sense of loss. So, today, we stop. We reflect. We search our souls for peace. We honor our dead. We maintain a countenance of strength and resolve never again to be victims. We find space in our hearts for the understanding that the more we accept one another, the less we will allow to come between us. And, we remember that day which we may NEVER FORGET.
Look up…What do you see? I see an airplane following a great circle while appearing to fly a straight line…I see an object moving through space while appearing to fall from heaven…I see a sky that is not blue, but a deepening gradient of indigo as I look from our atmosphere into the space beyond…I see lines of contrails, gasses in a monetarily solid state before expanding and evaporating into the space of dreams…I see a luminous jet, a toy or plaything, wound up and let run for the joy of a child, but truly, a highly advanced technological craft, built by scientists, engineers, and the hands of man, the embodiment of dreams, for the purpose of conquering space and time…I see a pilot who loves his work and feels lucky to spend time in his ship, but never forgets his sacred duty to ensure the safety of that craft and all his charges riding blissfully in back as he labors to earn a better life for himself and his loved ones…Happy Labour Day.
There are two types of aerial voyeurs, those who envision themselves flying over the surface of the earth and those who envision themselves flying around the earth…it may seem a minor distinction, but the difference may yield two very different perspectives…They are the perspectives of the orbiter and the surveyor. The surveyor studies the topography and the position of roads, paths, or valleys, constantly orienting himself and thinking about the relationship of spaces, envisioning the map…forever captivated by the landscape, the minute details providing intrigue and guiding his investigations. Meanwhile, the orbiter keeps his eye on the aerial horizon, sensing the motion of his craft in subtle contrast to the motion of the earth, breathing in the cold air that surrounds him, feeling a chill as sunlight peeks over the horizon, scintillating the particles of moisture and dust that drift in the troposphere, and finding solace in the deepening indigo that slowly fills the sky as he rounds the edges of twilight into night…two senses of wonder, two senses of awe, one glorious planet seen through different eyes and emotions.
A line of trees emerges from the stony edifice, mediating the nexus of earth and heaven. Indiscernible needles wave freely in the morning breeze, clutching at the sky while their supporting cambial structures hold fast to the ridge line. A constructive tension between elements and textures, light and dark, up and down.
Tiny rivulets of water trickle toward the Colorado River, joining its flow through the high desert, seeking the sea, carving pathways in the earth that shape the landscape for all time…Little things lead to big things. We wander along the way, leaving footprints, flotsam, and jetsam in our wake…we send ripples across the surface of calm waters, echoes into the night, and twisted vortices into the ether…every motion leaving a trace, whether seen or unseen. And with these big motions come little noises, our words stream from our mouths whether connected to our soulful intents or driveling the mindless nonsense of propaganda and slurs…all these little noises drift on the breeze and tell our stories. Stop. Listen. What emanations do we want to leave lingering after we are gone? For what do we wish to be remembered? Little words and acts of kindness or little words and acts of malice? Little things lead to big things.
The paradox of a landscape is that we often can’t understand the landscape because of the overwhelming effect of the details and in turn we can’t comprehend the details due to the overwhelming visual effect of the landscape…but here at Bryce Canyon, a meandering line of hoodoos emerges, defining the contours of earth, drawing us into the details of the landscape…hoodoos, trees, ridges, valleys, dry creek beds, Navajo sandstone, and snow. The textures are articulated in such a way that we can perceive the power of each brushstroke while marveling at the beauty of the painted earthen canvas.
I’ve always yearned for feel of wind in my hair… it is the single sensation of speed that leads, pulls, draws me toward flight and a physical feeling of a connection to the winds that lifts us into the air. As a child, I pursued it…now I dream of it, feeling the wind in my hair as it pounds the other side of the glass…speed, flight, and freedom.