Archives for February 2011

Early Morning Drive

About 5 AM this morning I threw on Levis and Redwing boots and rushed into the early February cold before the hint of dawn. As I fired up the Jeep it was so frigid that I quickly retreated into the house waiting for the engine to warm up. The day before, after church, I drove into the desert to plow in four-wheel-drive through fresh snow and get a good scenic view of the aftermath of a big blizzard that had moved through on Saturday. After turning on a random dirt road, I drove about 50 miles cutting fresh tracks in the new snowfall. It felt like I traveled back in time, very nostalgic. I’ve roamed these hills enough to believe it still is like the frontier days. As I looked off into the distance I thought I saw the Wells Fargo stage-coach heading towards the mining-camp of Pioche, Nevada.

Later on I was passing a bend in a canyon and witnessed two coyotes playing in the snow on the opposite hillside. They were unaware of my approach but took off over the ridge after getting spooked. Ten miles later, I came upon a large heard of sheep in a desolate basin scouring for the grass beneath the snow. Two huge white dogs guarded the bunch like vigilant cowboys. They barked warnings at me to stay in the vehicle.

I need to write more for posterity. My Grandpa Lamoreaux suffered a serious stroke recently and he was known as a story-teller in the family. But everything was oral. With the stroke, those stories and memories are lost in time. I grew up with my grandpa telling me about the lost Spanish Gold, claim jumpers, and ghosts. I regret not recording the stories of my grandfather & his prospecting days. All I have is what I remember him telling me. It was often when we were traveling back from the Alabaster mines on the other side of Bryce Canyon that he would begin a tale.

My love for the hills was spawned and nurtured by my grandfather and his love of nature and prospecting. My own sentiment about the landscape evolved in a different way. I’m not so much a prospector or capitalist like him. More or less, I love the wilderness because it is all we have left. I want to see things go back to the old ways. If I could I’d reverse time and send everyone back to the days of their ancestors. I just love the history of the red sandstone and the deepness of the canyons. The history it still there, haunting these places and we are another chapter. Those canyon will still be there long after we are gone. When I’m in a sandstone canyon there’s nothing more archaic than the echo of a hungry ravens as it glides above the sandstone rim & or the distant thunder of a monsoon cloud-burst off in the distance, or the trickling stream winding it’s way through a rattling grove of Cottonwood. I live for the simplicity, ruggedness, and the rough terrain of Canyon Country, and getting up before sunrise. My gold mine is the beautiful places that have taken root in my heart.

I’ve lost sight on occasion of these most precious things in my life. God created these holy places to seek refuge from the bitter storms of life but I’ve allowed myself to get bogged down like everyone else who gets plugged into civilization. Our modern lifestyle destroys our connections to the Earth and the land. I haven’t forgotten my roots, and I am going back to them. I’m familiar with the canyons and high plateaus of Utah where the meadowlark still sits on the fence-line in spring, singing in as the morning dew glitters in the sun-rays. It’s almost March and I am feeling so restless with summer fever. I’m restless and was up before sunrise with the neighborhood in a slumber.

So I’ve returned from the drive – rejuvenated by snowy country roads and greeted by the sun as it rose from the East. I beat the dawn and it lengthened my day. Life is super-short, why spend it sleeping!? I’ve also been so distracted trying to locate my better half, and haven’t met a girl who loves the mountains & canyons as much as I do. Well, may I have? It’s too early to tell! It’s the end of February and winter is ready to fight. I don’t mind the Spring snow. It’s expected but unwelcome to most who live in the high desert. As a photographer, I always welcome stormy weather but I really love seeing snow slush on green grass and yellow daffodils. The first cricket started singing in my apartment yesterday. He was telling me that Spring had arrived!

My Hat’s Tipped to Libya’s Freedom Fighters

Libya becomes bloodbath as Moammar Gadhafi begins lose grip on power. I support the Libyan people in the uprising against Gadhafi’s regime. For me, the serious unrest is reminiscent of a scene from the movie, Braveheart, where Sir William Wallace screams FREEEEEDOM right before losing his head after a long, arduous and disheartening struggle. Let this be a reminder that freedom often comes with a lethal sacrifice in human blood. Gadhafi is an evil man who is not going to give up without a deadly fight. I can feel the courage, and the thirst for freedom that Libyans are feeling. Gadhafi’s desperation emboldens and glorifies their effort. Believe me, Moammar is the real Cockroach. I am cheering for all Libyans to reach their deepest dream to find the peace that they deserve in this world, and in the hereafter. My heart is cheering for the people who are paying the price for freedom in the Middle East. It’s amazing this is happening in my lifetime. The most honorable deed is fighting for what is right, taking a stand for truth and defending what is most sacred. Freedom is tasty and it’s worth the high price. Don’t forget, It’s better to die fighting rather than on your knees, begging the enemy.

Gazing into the Firelight

My heart is quiet as I listen to the dark winds moving in from the west as the sun drops in the crimson purple abyss. There is a soft twilight mixed with the smell of cold juniper frost and the sound of a monster walking in the woods. The branches of the pinions creak as the night envelops the desert hills.

My imagination takes a journey into the past, to the most ancient times, and I can see them flint-knapping and throwing unused chips of augite into the dirt. One old man is building a fire that grows strong and he stokes it with dead sage and broken pinion branches. This ignites in my mind like a dream or a vision. His skin is withered and his hair is silvery gray with snow-white streaks. He sits on the cold rocky ground and huddles near the fire with the reflection of the flames dancing in his eyes. He’s looking into the fire pondering the wind, the land, and the old ways, and the stories. He’s thinking of his family, his parents, and the stories that his grandfather passed onto him before he died several ages before.

This old man, he’s some unnamed Indian man, just a flicker of light in my dream. But the scene replays over and over of the old man thinking and gazing into the fire. He’s thinking of his grand-kids, and the people gathered around and about. Dinner is over, and it’s late at night and other people are huddled around other fires as well. The stars come out, and the wind howls.

And then the memory, like a firefly, comes and goes…