[A retrospective] Vectoring, guiding, forcing, eroding…Earth moves in all directions at a rate that cannot be measured by human memory. The artifacts of motion are clear, but the dynamic expression of kinetic energy consumed by that motion is an abstract concept as we observe the earth and accept that what we see “has always been this way.” Most people look upon the earth and share a sense of awe, but it has always been the curious and the imaginative that look deeper to understand the past and, so, predict the future…We are blessed with the intellectual curiosity to ponder the evolution of earth and organism, to recognize that “what is” evolved from “what was,” to apply the lessons of science to become better stewards of Earth. As we look upon the curved forms of rock formations in the desert of Grand Canyon Parashant, we see a template at rest in the middle of time…the graceful curves were formed by forces that are present, but not evident…to trace these curves, we begin to illustrate the history of Earth and we imagine what the future may hold…What happens next? What role will we play? Will we be the force that builds mountains or that which erodes the richness of our landscape? That role is undecided, but I know that I will stand with the curious and imaginative in not settling for “what has always been” as they strive toward what “may be.”
[A retrospective] …Looking back on earth passing slowly beneath us, cast in a monochromatic seasonal hue of blue…We perceive the terrain of Capitol Reef under a blanket of white snow, yet the essence of blue reveals itself in the cyan infused shadows…where there is blue, there is contour and motion in the landscape…the secret is hidden in the color, revealed in the morning light…the irony of rejuvenation masked by starkness, water and light bringing life to an arid planet.
Whether on the rim, weak-kneed by our proximity to the void that separates us from the dimensionless landscape below, or sitting comfortably in the back seat of an airliner eight miles above, flowing confidently through that same void, we marvel at the fluid power of earth to alter reality and perception…still farther away, the sun teases us with light and shadow, forever confusing our senses and making earth seem anew as her colors change with the varying wavelengths of light and the variable density of the atmosphere…In this place we momentarily comprehend that all that surrounds us is an illusion.
If all that is below the horizon is an illusion… and all that lies above is a dream… Our waking souls are lost in the curious confusion of earthly shadows and light floating above the level plain of the desert floor.
With a flick of a vaporous tail, the arid desert of the Great Basin stirs, uplifting air and water in a swirl of activity, unsettling the skies and kicking up sand, the tail end of the desert monsoon season..Mares’ tails foretell a change in the weather, an unsettling, instability…we feel a few bumps overhead, but things are still calm as we pass by and we revel in the beauty of this seasonal chaos.
The Colorado flows past the Rincon, but doesn’t visit anymore…the ancient course of meandering water, now a dry monument, hovering in the wings of the river’s stage, awaiting a global shift or a rising sea to rejoin the show at center stage.
Dark silhouettes define a path of aversion…Steering clear of those places through which light may not penetrate, we look toward the horizon and the backdrop provided by the vanishing light of day, a narrowing line of color as the terminator advances west and shadows rise to meet the descending darkness…A moment of illumination from within the dark vaporous matter betrays the energy hidden within.
From Bears Ears, we follow canyon paths and riverbeds deep into Monument Valley, pursuing the way…every contour tells a story of this holy land, conveying a sense that this is among the thinnest of places on earth, a place where earth’s spirit radiates, overwhelming our senses as we breath it in.
Above the wilderness of Yosemite, the green of our summer, consumed by wildfire, rises in hot columns of white hot smoke and ash as if a living being were reverting to its basest elements…carbon particles adrift on the breeze, coloring the atmosphere, returning to the heavens.
Light washes away Earth’s contours while shadows create dimension and darkness creates depth…The give and take, the balance of light and shadow, gives shape and vibrance to our illusion.