[A Retrospective] Layer upon layer, the earth cooled and solidified forming a whole…not unlike any process of mankind’s tribal expansion, we expand our bases and grow “our people,” forgetting about how distinct yet alike we are…we exclude those on the outside of our circles and imagine greater kinship with those on the inside…that is until a flood (or inland sea) saturates our world, creating wedges and rifts beneath the surface…again we are distinct…when the waters recede, our rough edges are revealed along our fractures and fissures in sheets of color and texture…beautiful in their dissimilarity, layered harmoniously, their beauty exposed to those who can appreciate that the earth requires diversity to make it whole.
[A Retrospective] Darkness defines our fault lines…In the deep indigo of shadows, the ill-defined abyss holds our spirits and imaginations captive until the light of day may penetrate the depths of darkness…In that moment of illumination, we rise above the petty indignations that bind us to our insecurities and dark divisions…In the light, we realize that we are all part of a single landscape and the shadows, once dividing us, merely define the textures that make us whole.
Sensory confusion takes hold as we wonder, are we looking at a fog bank blowing off a ridge line beneath us, or mares’ tails streaming in the troposphere above us? Looking up or looking down…the irrelevance of perspective…whether we are leaves tumbling in a stream or drifting on a breeze, we are part of the scene. The current owns us and our only right is to experience the ride. So as we tumble along our way, forget where your feet are and enjoy the ride.
[A Retrospective] A gentle mist drifts down from the heavens, hidden from the light of day, the falling particles of water vapor change the local temperature in this pocket of the atmosphere…as the heat continues to rise, escaping the earth, adding latent energy within the clouds, vapor and turbulence continue to rise…eventually, as the weight of water becomes too great, our mist turns to rapidly intensifying showers of harder and harder droplets of water…a dangerous torrent of rain, falling upon the landscape, carving out harsh edges and molding the earth in its path…the once lofty plains are eroded and cut as the force of water seeks the sea…when all is settled and the rains have subsided, we are left with a fractured landscape, the underlying beauty revealed along its deep crags and gullies…the power of a few drops of water on display for eternity. Little things matter.
[A Retrospective] As we witness the scene unfold, the trending motion of the weather over the landscape is indisputable…But somewhere in the fluid swirl of memory, we co-opt the forces of nature to satisfy the needs of our narrative…Seeking either drama or solace, the imagined building or dissipating motion of clouds provides fodder for our subconscious creation and our stories are etched in still frames of certainty.
Ever look to the heavens, watching a jet move smoothly through the fluid of our atmosphere, and wonder at the miraculous journey we have made from the daring test flights of a glider in the sand dunes of North Carolina to the routine experience of boarding a jet to take us across the continent at eight miles a minute? I think about this every day…I feel a profound sense of wonder at it all as I sit at my window and watch the earth and clouds roll by…In a little over a hundred years, we have made the impossible dream into a reality that we now unquestioningly accept as routine…When weather causes delays, we grow frustrated and anxious as we are forced by nature to allow our world to slow down. In that deceleration, there are opportunities…to breath, to catch up with old friends we have met along the way, to discuss the important unhurried things, to reflect on where we have been and where we are going, and to wonder at the miracle of it all…and in those moments when the storm dissipates and light again fills the sky, we may forget that our feet are momentarily bound to the earth as we marvel at a jet moving gracefully through a painted sky. So when you find yourself sitting around the airport terminal waiting on the weather, once it has passed, take a breath, look out the window, and take a moment to wonder at the spectacle of it all.
[A Retrospective] When discordant noises dominate the earth, deafening all ears…We seek an escape in the heavens…Rising above the cacophony, the painful din, we reach the space where the noise falls away like forgotten shadows, washed away by the brilliance of the dawn…Here, amid the silence and the deafening light, we listen again and our senses delight.
[A Retrospective] A simple notion of an illuminated path…As we navigate the darkest turmoil and assume great risk, rewards may lie hidden beneath the surface of the worst of our experience and reveal the beauty inherent in the brighter parts of our nature.
[A Retrospective] Imagination is discriminating and not everyone is prepared to let their minds wander…but when we do, we make connections between what we see or experience and what was or what might be. I have passed these washes many times, but today, these streaks of painted earth spoke to me. I reacted with an inward look and dreamed of what the earth might be saying… “All of this is temporary and with each breath I take, I accept that everything must change…” We see the signs on the landscape…Rising weather and turbulent skies, rising pressure and quaking landscape, rising temperatures and flowing ice, falling rain and crumbling stone…Imagine what you will. She weeps, though not for change, for the thought of not being considered.
With a dizzying sense of dislocation, light removes us from our tactile experience and we become transfixed on the sky above. The muted atmospheric reflections and spectral light around the edges of our perception beg our questions and attention as they convey the mysteries of our atmosphere…they electrify the experience of flight…and again, we forget where our feet are as we enjoy the view.