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cactus flower
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"By and large, cacti had been something so inert that after five hundred miles they had left no impression positive enough to justify the poet's desolation. Until they flowered, they were there - and that was about all."


We were walking along the banks of the Chama River in Abiquiu, New Mexico on the way back from a disappointing sunrise session. The light and clouds just weren't right, so we decided to head back to the car. On the path I noticed something atypically bright in color against the dark soil. It was a cactus in bloom (yes, cacti do bloom) with two rose-like flowers. It had rained the night before and there were droplets of water clinging to the flower petals; if you click on the image to see the enlarged version you'll probably be able to see them. One of the surprises of the desert is to find flowers like this among the cactus plants that we normally think of as thorny, ugly plants. Those thorns are even sharper than they look - take it from me - but the beauty of the flowers more than makes up for the rest of the plant.

"For a certain kind of traveler, such a region as this offers unique advantages. On the one hand, it is not far away, as the wild places of the earth go, for it can be reached from a center of population in the short space of a day or two. On the other hand, once one has got into it, one could hardly feel more remote anywhere in the world..."

By Joseph Wood Krutch, in THE DESERT YEAR
Slot Canyon
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This isn't the first image I've posted on this site from a slot canyon and I hope it won't be the last. This was taken at Lower Antelope Canyon outside of Page, Arizona. I've been in this slot canyon four or five times, and each time the varied light makes the walls look remarkably different. These slot canyons are, as Krutch's quote suggests, both accessible to "civilization" and capable of creating a feeling of remoteness that is unparalleled. The sandstone walls swirl and twist, and the reflected sunlight colors the walls with a palette that is far beyond what we are used to seeing. There were no filters or "trick photography" used for this or my other slot canyon images; what you see here is what you see there.

If You'd Like To Explore Some More...

There are several nature writers whose work I really enjoy reading, including Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Henry David Thoreau and Everett Ruess. To see a list of their writings, please visit the Natural Escape Writer's page, and spend some time browsing through the titles.
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