The delight of winter water

Clear Creek at Flood Stage

Imagine standing by this water on a crisp winter day as the rush of cold breeze caresses your face.

This is the Verde Valley’s Clear Creek at flood stage. In a normal flow, water is half this volume, but the creek bed anticipates change. Over the millennia the water has hollowed out a wide swath of normally dry land, preparing for potential that only happens once or twice a season. The trees standing in water are patient, knowing the snow melt from the San Francisco Peaks will eventually pass.

For the desert, this ebb and flow of the water passage is as inevitable as breath itself.

We, too, breathe in and out, allowing room for the intake gasp of surprise and that deep outward sigh of satisfaction.

Snow, snow over the whole land
across all boundaries.

The candle burned on the table,
the candle burned.

~Boris Pasternak~

Alive and Well in the Desert

Alive in the desert

I have a fascination with lichen, perhaps because it is so tenacious and tough. It thrives where there are few nutrients, and in the desert, where there is little moisture as well.

For example, notice this desert lichen, a little crackly about the edges, but still hanging in there.

It is hard to predict where life will take root, and how it will thrive under the most unexpected circumstances.

It’s like that for us, too. There is a vast difference between what we want versus what we need in order to build a life for ourselves. It is often not what we choose, but what we are given that allows us to grow into what we were meant to be.

~For every problem there is a solution
which is simple, clean,
and wrong.

~Henry Louis Mencken~

 

Split color wheel with analogous hues

blue green lavender gold

I was delighted to discover this tableau!

Can you see the color wheel? Green, blue, lavender, and then a whirl of the wheel over to the yellow-gold side. Just perfect.

My former art teachers would love it. I did, too.

I can’t understand it when people say
they don’t like a particular color.
How on earth can you not like a color?

~Dale Chihuly~

 

Equilibrium for a planet of paradox

Picture of pothole in Arizona desert

I’m a Weather Channel junkie, and this week I’ve been glued to the screen watching rivers overflow, highways flood, people rescued from rooftops and attics. Water at its most destructive.

Yet I am reminded that it isn’t always this way. In the Arizona desert, water is precious, every single drop. On the trail around Courthouse Butte near Sedona, this little pothole has always been a favorite of mine. It’s not big–maybe a foot long and less than that deep.

But long after the monsoon rains have departed, it will hold water which sustains the desert animals: deer, javelina, coatimundi, rabbits, and pack rats. Reaching for the last drop, they will travel for miles to visit it. Water as precious as diamonds, life-sustaining.

We live on a planet of paradox!

As water takes whatever shape it is in,
So free may you be about who you become.
As time remains free of all that it frames
May your mind stay clear of all it names.
~John O’Donohue, For Equilibrium~

The intensity of an Arizona sunset

Picture of Arizona Sunset

The quality of light in Arizona is intense, and never more so than at sunset during monsoon season. For two summer months, the afternoon clouds build, fierce thunderstorms crash and threaten. Then it is over. Or is it?

As a photographer, I’ve learned to be patient. If I wait out the storm, and stick around for the aftermath, a brilliantly hued sunset often occurs. It is time well-spent.

The end of summer is always hard on me. Trying to cram in all the goofing off I’ve been meaning to do.
~Calvin and Hobbes~

Look behind you

It was a cold, sunlit morning in November when I took this photograph of the crystal water at Red Rock Crossing. Behind me were the magnificent totems of Cathedral Rock, but I chose to look down, instead.

The soft sandstone had been worn smooth by the creek that ebbs and flows according to the season, and the rock glowed red under the edge of water.

I’ve found in photography that what is behind me may more interesting as the obvious subject in front, as it was this morning.

That happens in life. Focused on what we expect to see, we ignore everything else around us. We lose the beauty gained using “soft eyes.”

I searched through rebellion, drugs, diet, mysticism, religion, intellectualism and much more, only to find that truth is basically simple and feels good, clear and right.
~Chick Corea~