Movement

One hour long exposure. The stars traveled the length of the trails. Well, they didn’t. They didn’t move at all (well at least not enough for our eyes to perceive in one hour). My eyes and lied to me.

The planet moved, it spinning around on it’s axis. My camera was moving, I was moving. At this latitude around 750 mi/hr. The folks on the equator are moving about 1,037mi/hr.
I never would have guessed it. No one would have. Experiments and the scientific method showed us.

Don’t trust your senses. What we see and hear are not necessarily the truth. Even if they appear to make perfect sense.

Question, doubt and evaluate. And hopefully eventually understand.
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Teewinot, The Grand Teton and Mount Owen reflected in String Lake


Watching the sunlight dissipate the twilight deepened into blue sky when two meteors flashed over the summit of Teewinot. We didn’t have the camera out but the subtle green flashes were recorded into memories.
 
I returned at 2:30am hoping our galaxy’s center would align with the three mountains of the Cathedral group. With sunlight hidden behind the earth’s curvature starlight was the sole illumination.
 
The sun’s brightness hits the earth at angles with directionality, loudly carving brightness and shadows into our vision. Conversely, starlight’s photons rain upon the land in an even mist, light from the entire sky. The dark 360 degree dome is the source of the mountains’ and lake’s luminosity. Some of those photons began their journey 25,000 years ago in our eyes, instantaneous for a photon.
 
Delicate shadows can be seen from the star clusters of the milky way’s core but the effect is subtle. Starlight is virtually contrast-less. It’s smooth and quiet, almost impressionistic. With patience and calmness our eyes can open enough to catch faint glimpses of this archaic light.

Seeking

I wonder why people are driven to seek out places like this in the desert, signs and memories of humans from hundreds and thousands of years ago, ancestors of the living indigenous people.

Painted potsherds lying among soil and sand one can almost see the artist’s fingertips and hands.

Art pecked into stone. Memories of a foreign (to me at least) consciousness imprinted into the landscape. Culture embedded into geology.

And places like this. Small delicate structure on a cliff edge. For a moment one is removed from this world we have constructed and reminded that for millennia other worlds existed, incomprehensible perceptions viewed through human eyes, just as real of our current lives.

For me it’s the seemingly incomprehensible well of  human consciousness that gives me wonder. And I sometimes think this spectrum of human awareness is a vast as the space which surrounds our planet.

Reaching outward


In the thin twilight Joshua Trees reaching into the sky.

The atoms of these plants were fashioned in stars.

Similar to the millions of suns which are shining their photons upon them now.

Alive with chemistry, the interactions of molecules. 

These plants and all of life are looking upwards from whence their elements originated.

Art and Twilight

Sandstone and rock art on the edge between night and twilight. 

The diffuse sunlight mingling with the remains of the night. 

And the ancient art observing this passing of the sky for hundreds or thousands of years…

A new area for me, Gold Butte National Monument. So many times you find a new place and feel like this is the greatest spot ever.

Stone Hand

After some climbing in Idaho at the City of Rocks this weekend we walked past this formation.

It reminded me of the Hand of the Desert sculpture in the Atacama Desert in Chile by Mario Irarrázabal.

I’ve always loved the imagery of the hand reaching from the desolation into the vastness of the sky beyond our atmosphere, pointing to the immensity from where everything originated. 

I awoke around 12:30am and hiked back to the rock. I arrived too early, before the rising of our galaxy’s center.

For 45minutes I waited in the darkness, hunched from the wind and allowing my pupils to fully dilate.

Soon I saw the light from thousands of years ago meekly illuminating the bushes and stones.

A single bright meteor flashed green across the sky as it’s extraterrestrial nickel burned up. 

Soon the galaxy became visible. Jupiter brightly sitting in the Dark Horse Nebulae. 

With only the starlight as a guide I hiked the mile back to my warm sleeping bag.

Newspaper Rock

Newspaper rock in Gold Butte, and ancient storyboard, illuminated under the light of a half moon, light reflected from our home star. 

The Pleiades sits high in the sky early in the evening before the colors of sunset have sunken below the horizon. 

Warm and comfortable nights are coming to the desert.