There seems to be an immense amount of snow in the mountains for the first day of spring…As we passed by Mount Rainier this morning, the depth of snow beneath her mask of clouds seemed palpable. Though spring is here, the long slow melt has yet to begin, so let’s content ourselves to dream of a greener season ahead and to be thankful for the snowfall.
Coming off the desert into the foot hills of the San Bernardino Mountains, we transition from imagined warmth in the burnt sienna landscape into the colder snow dusted elevations of the mountain range above…the earth shades the edges of the snow in an ochre hue as the deep shadowy stripes of hollows give us perspective on the severity of the landscape.
Leaving Durango behind us and following highway 89A through Oak Creek Canyon, the red-orange ridges dominate the landscape, eventually giving way to the city of Sedona. From the air, we often see the distant red hue of Sedona’s landscape long before we can detect the details of its ridges and canyons…as though possessed of a spirit that transcends heaven and earth, this aura ambiguously guides our way westward and informs us of the landscape’s mysteries.
I just spent a few days on earth exploring a place that, previously, I had only dreamed of from the sky above…and I was overcome with a sense of wonder…A truly fascinating place where earth has chosen to reveal herself to us, granting a rare moment of spiritual connection with a place that is both alien and strangely familiar. Now when I look upon these canyons from the air, I can feel the warm breath of evening floating on a twisted highway through the rocks and I can see the curtain of twilight dragging its shadows across radiant golden faces of stone…Thank you, Zion National Park, for filling my dreams with tangible memories.
Amid a grand series of canyons in southern Chihuahua, Mexico, a butte rises from a mountaintop as though a stone temple erected on the summit. This is a remote place that is not represented by a name on my chart…As it is such a singular sight, regardless of its isolation, it surely must have a name…but to me at this moment, it is only represented by a number…25°47’29” N 106°50’46” W.
In the early hours following dawn, we cruise over Zion National Park and observe depth…it’s emotional, the depth of color that infuses the visual depth of the landscape with a feeling that transcends the visual scene to stir our souls.
Call it a chance for a little weather recce…21 degrees this morning in Central Virginia as we head for warmer climes, wondering when the season will break and spring will arrive with a sense of permanence…and then we see the snow line as it recedes across the border into West Virginia and feel a sense of reassurance that winter is on its way out.
When the earth is mined in pursuit of its buried wealth, the very nature of the landscape is forever changed…it is resculpted and coerced into a new abstraction…Here in Bagdad, Arizona, the unearthed prize is copper…from our aerial perspective, out of the dust and gravel, what we have gained is a new pattern, a new earthly face, a new memory…what we have lost is an appreciation of the spiritual world over that of the material…yet, perhaps that spirit is still with us, as we imagine hearing earth’s voice in the whir of our engines and the hum of our electronics, all enabled by the conductive nature of metals mined from her…and all the while she whispers, “continue to be mystified by me.”
We rise before dawn so that we may experience this moment, drifting into the Green Mountains of Vermont. As the sun slowly rises, the vapor in the lower atmosphere illuminates to form a thin veil over the earth that gradually disappears to reveal the bare red-brown forests dusted with snow.
Tugging at the tattered edges of night along the front range of the Appalachian Mountains, dawn peels back the night as the showers diminish to virga that hangs in the morning sky as though expressing darkness’ reluctance to yield to the light of day.