Solitude. Even when you’re not alone you can feel a sense of solitude, as I’m beginning to discover as I get older. I always find this picture of my mother, sitting at the Chicago Botanic Garden, rather poignant. Although she lived with us and was very rarely on her own, I knew that she felt lonely. Most of her contemporaries had already died and she was far away from a place that she had known as home for almost seventy years. When she passed away a few years ago, she left me with my own kind of solitude, taking with her shared memories of people, places and events that no one else but me remembers.
Sometimes, even when you’re standing right next to a crowd of people, you can feel like you’re the only person on earth.
In previous posts I’ve spoken about the grandeur and majesty of the Utah landscapes and about the limited amount of time we had to spend at each of the places that we visited. It was difficult not to get caught up in trying to capture the bigger picture and, going through all the photographs (almost 3,000) that I took during our trip, I can see there were very few times when I actually stopped to take a closer look at things. However, there were one or two instances when I was able to slow down, take a breath and get into something more like macro mode.
One of the things that really fascinated me about Utah was the way everything seemed to be fashioned into such tortuous shapes by the forces of nature. Rocks and vegetation alike have, over the years, been molded by the elements into things of weird and wonderful beauty.
This was much in evidence in Arches National Park as I hiked along the paths to Skyline and Landscape Arches. Watch where you walk if you step off the trail. There are lots of these clumps of cactus waiting to snag your ankles.
On our way to visit Park City we stopped off at Guardsman Pass to take in the scenery. The leaves on the aspen trees were just starting to change color and a butterfly landed conveniently close by as I stood by the side of the road taking pictures of some gigantic seed heads.
On the only rainy day during our visit to Salt Lake City we visited the Natural History Museum, an extremely interesting place packed with some really bizarre characters.
I hope if we do get the chance to go back that I will have the luxury of more time to take a closer look at all the wonderful things that Utah has to show us.
It was like being on another planet and as one fellow visitor remarked, “This can’t be real. It’s like we’re having a collective hallucination!” She couldn’t have said a truer word.
Arches National Park in eastern Utah covers approximately 76,679 acres and contains more than 2,000 natural arches. But the park isn’t just about the arches. Its also about some of the most fantastic rock formations you will ever see.
It’s about the color and texture of these towering sandstone monoliths, at times dark and forbidding, at others alive with vibrant hues. When we arrived at the park it was gloomy but as the day progressed the sun came out and provided a stunning blue sky as backdrop to a world of breathtaking grandeur.
It’s about the enormity of these bastions of nature that have stood through the centuries, created by a prehistoric upheaval of the earth, blasted by wind and water and fashioned by time into weird and wonderful shapes.
It’s very humbling to walk in the shadow of these titans and sometimes rather scary when you see colossal boulders that have been cast about like some giant’s toy, knowing that any sizeable tremor would most certainly bring more crashing down. More than forty arches have collapsed due to erosion since 1977 so despite their solid appearance even these massive monuments are not impervious to the elements.
But it’s also about the bigger picture; the size and scope of the landscape, the seemingly endless range of hills and mountains with names like Devils Garden, Fiery Furnace and Petrified Dunes that conjure up all manner of wild images.
There are so many other facets to the park that we just didn’t have time to explore such as the flora and fauna of the area so I really hope that we have another chance to visit. This is a photographers paradise!
I’m always happy when I find something new and interesting to photograph, and on our recent trip to Utah there were so many fantastic places to explore, but probably the most spectacular of these was Arches National Park.
I was like a kid in a candy store. Too bad we only had a limited time to take it all in but we made the most of it.
I think a woman who was taking pictures alongside me summed it up best when she said, “It’s like we’re having a collective hallucination. This can’t be real!”
At Balanced Rock I met a group of tourists who didn’t speak much English but it was obvious they were tremendously excited about being there and we were all bowing and smiling and taking photos of each other and laughing. What a happy place!
I was certainly happy to finally reach Landscape Arch after a 1.5 mile hike at the end of a long day. I had to wait before I could take a shot of the arch as the sun was just starting to go down and was shining right underneath.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge go to https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/happy-place/