Snow Falls in the Desert
Monuments rooted in earth, rise above the desert floor and we revere them for their beauty and stature as they tower above the landscape seeming to touch the sky…but when Winter comes and snow falls on the desert, these earthen monuments float above the desert plain, drifting untethered, they free our imaginations from the strictures of expectation and leave us to drift in a moment of wonder.
Malcolm, Your excellent image of snow in the desert reminds me of one of the most striking scenes I’ve encountered–and did not photograph.
I was on an early morning flight from LA to DC sitting in a window seat on the right side of the plane with an unobstructed view. At some point in the flight a rift opened in the solid cloud cover and revealed the heart of Monument Valley–and nothing else. All by itself it was an excellent, framed-by-clouds composition. But there was more.
It had recently snowed then thawed. The desert floor was damp and dark–except for the dramatically long shadows of the monuments. The snow had not yet melted in those shadows. So there was a stunning reversal of form–stark white shadows which should have been jet black.
It was an intensely sublime scene but–as you well know–crushing to see it slide by and the window close without being able to render it in a photograph.
I appreciate your posts, Malcolm, and thank you for them–especially this one.
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Sam, Thank you! I used to fly the DC to LA flight quite often. The flight path ordinarily put us over the junction of the Green and Colorado Rivers and then over Monument Valley and Glen Canyon. This is one of the thin places on earth and so often weather patterns converge there, creating unexpected glimpses at the dramatic landscape. I often try to express the utterly electric sensation that those moments generate; words are all too often inadequate to explain the sensation. I hope you have the joy of experiencing it again and the reward of having a camera ready for it! Happy snow day!