Monday, September 18, 2006

Apricot























in the western sky
hangs a juicy apricot
waiting to be picked


***

Click on photos to view larger versions — it's worth it.


















Rafting 80 miles of river through the heart of the largest Wilderness in the lower 48 states:

flying, like in my dreams, low over forested ridges and lakes in a tiny plane, plumes of smoke rising in the distance from wildfires...

sudden, steeply banked and vertiginous 180 degree turn, down into the narrow canyon, landing smoothly on a stretch of sandy soil beside the river...

beauty of undulating, rugged rock and river under sunny blue skies with wisps of white cloud...

sleeping alone in the darkness as temperatures sink below freezing...

meditating on peaceful stretches between wild whitewater rapids...

sunlight yellow-gold in bright green grass...

flashing trout moving through glass-like water among brown riverstones...

kingfisher on the hunt, plummeting like a stone from green bush into green river...

















mood lighting from the intense smoke of a wildfire, a "sunset" at 4 pm (top photo)...

receding arcs of tree-lined ridges in fading shades of pale grey smoke (above)...

waking in a moonless night to the acrid smell of choking smoke...

the constant sound of rushing water in my dreams...

the shock of sudden cold water falling across my body...

burrowing cold, wet, bare feet into dry, sunwarmed sand...

slight sulphur smell of a hot spring pool nestled in the rock...






















rock paintings made from oxides, blood and fat, still there after several hundred years...

cliffs bearing sideways flower gardens, trees growing from cracks in the wall...

veil of water falling hundreds of feet onto the rock floor below...

bear tracks on the beaches in detail down to the claws...






















bighorn mountain sheep running down the precipitous cliffside...

two huge golden eagles appearing suddenly from around a bend in the river, flying low overhead, headed up canyon, something clutched in the talons...

mink scurrying among the white rocks of the riverbank...

















waking to rain with miserably cold temperatures and snow on the hills...

laughing to keep warm...

the scream of an osprey ricocheting off the cliff walls...

watching the boat dip and spin over churning white and green waters...

ripple, curl and foam of a translucent ribbon stretched like blown glass...

26 Comments:

Blogger Pat Paulk said...

This should be put to a slide show!! Amazing photographs and equally amazing commentary. Still envious, but not as...

9/19/2006 12:32 PM  
Blogger Pauline said...

Splendid photos and perfect words - we could have been there with you! Thakns so much for sharing.

9/19/2006 1:02 PM  
Blogger mermaid said...

That apricot, that sun's flavor explodes in my mouth as it colors the sky of your awareness.

The rest is equally artful. Must of been cathartic. I just returned from a writing retreat at Esalen, CA. I feel your renewal here.

9/19/2006 1:09 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

beatuiful, beautiful imagery you've given us here with your words...so yummy...all i can do is *sigh*...

i love the apricot poem

9/19/2006 1:16 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Awesome couple of posts. Thanks.

9/19/2006 1:26 PM  
Blogger rdl said...

beautiful!!

9/19/2006 2:01 PM  
Blogger zhoen said...

So, you enjoyed yourself?

9/19/2006 2:05 PM  
Blogger Dale said...

(o)

9/19/2006 2:59 PM  
Blogger Sky said...

these photographs are lovely - especially the first one which pulls me into it. it is so restful and seductive.

thanks for sharing so much of your trip with us. the encounters with nature have left thrilling memories despite the difficult moments.

the rock paintings must have been so exciting to discover! were you with friends on this trip or was it a group of strangers committed to a wilderness adventure? i imagine the shared experiences were quite bonding.

9/19/2006 3:03 PM  
Blogger Lori Witzel said...

Ahhhhhh.

(Cold and wet, eh? Makes for better stories later, once one has thawed...)

:-)

9/19/2006 8:09 PM  
Blogger firebird said...

Oh, SO beautiful! Love the first two photos especially, the colors are fabulous!
80 miles sounds like forever...
I'd love to see the sulphur spring, and the mink, and the rock paintings...
(I'm sure I would get seasick in no time, unfortunately)
By the way, your photos are WAY better than the professional travel shots you posted before your trip!

9/19/2006 8:30 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

There's poetry in the pictures...and pictures in the poems-- neat images.

You have shared some 'sweet' moments.

9/19/2006 8:45 PM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

You live in such a special part of the country. Thank you for sharing it.

9/19/2006 10:30 PM  
Blogger Jean said...

Quelles belles photos !
j'adore en particulier la première !
Une merveille .
Paix , luxe , calme , volupté ....

9/20/2006 1:50 AM  
Blogger garnet david said...

Gorgeous photos, words and mood! Isn't there a mystical feeling to being so far from civilization? As if the freedom within yourself increases in direct proportion to the distance?

David

9/20/2006 5:39 AM  
Blogger floots said...

superb words and pix
like pat i'm a bit envious
but this helps :)
thank you

9/20/2006 6:09 AM  
Blogger robin andrea said...

A magnificent, natural catalog of beauty.

9/20/2006 8:08 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Pat, thank you! There was much I think you would have relished in this trip. But probably too cold for your southern habits!

Pauline, I'm happy to share with you. Thanks!

Mermaid, how lovely that you got to attend a writing retreat. I'm looking forward to what grows from that for you. And thanks for your juicy response to my apricot!

Michelle, much appreciated, thank you.

Dave, I'm glad you feel that way about them. Thanks! And thanks for helping me realize that I put the incorrect date on this post — I really did post it Tuesday.

rdl, glad you think so!

Zhoen, I enjoyed myself? It's more complicated than that. There were some very difficult things amid incredible and awesome beauty, and then there was my frame of mind which is not simple these days. But overall, yes I did.

Dale, thank you, friend.

Sky, "thrilling memories despite difficult moments" is probably as good a way to put it as any. I was with people I work with, so I know them well but they're not close personal friends.

Lori, cold and wet is not my favorite combination. I'm too much of a comfort-lover, but yes, the stories later are worth the telling.

Firebird, it surprised me how quickly it went after the first two days. Time changes countenance. I noticed last night while falling asleep that I still feel the gentle rocking motion of the raft. Thank you.

Chuck, thanks. You would have a great appreciation for this river, I'm sure.

Patry, thanks for stopping by to share it with me! I'm always happy to see you here.

Jean, la premiere c'etait un moment extraordinaire. A seize heures de l'apres-midi, le soleil s'apparait a se coucher, mais ce n'etait pas reel. C'etait seulement l'effet de la fumee d'un feu de foret loin de nous mais apportee par le vent. Tres, tres etrange! Merci pour vos mots genereux.

David, nice to see you here! Thank you. When I can pare down to the essentials, which one does in a wilderness situation where everything one does makes a potential difference — the loss of a shoe could mean the loss of a life — I encounter myself, and have a chance to reconnect to what really matters in life.

Floots, I actually thought of you during this trip because such rugged landscape always makes me think of the rugged beauty of your territory — though it's on a completely different scale! There was much to appreciate in this trip, though there were a few challenges as well. Thanks!

9/20/2006 8:13 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Robin, thanks. Lovely to hear from you. Catalog is a good word, I guess, though there are certainly things I've left out — like the beautiful little hunting grebe, whose longitudinally white-striped neck made it stand out on the dark water, who dived and dived so gracefully about the boat, never coming too close, always surprising me with how long it stayed down and where it popped up next.

9/20/2006 8:16 AM  
Anonymous yllstonewolf said...

OH!!! let me go along the next time, please!!! what a lovely time you must have had. if you have a chance, i'd love more logistical details of your trip. how and where and all. i'm slowly reading backward, so i may discover my own answers as i go! :)
SO beautiful!!

9/20/2006 9:36 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Anne, thanks! Let me know if you need more info than you've found. It is an area I think you would appreciate very much.

9/21/2006 10:50 AM  
Blogger Richard Lawrence Cohen said...

It would be understandable if you'd been left speechless after such an experience, but thankfully you've returned with beautiful words and pictures for those of us who haven't been there. I particularly love the apricot haiku and the photo of the rock paintings. Welcome back!

9/21/2006 11:27 AM  
Blogger polona said...

this is a wonderful post!
i've so much enjoyed your photos and words. must have been a memorable trip...

9/21/2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Richard, I am happy to hear from you. Many seem to assume that I write oodles on trips like these, but I often write little to nothing because I am like a sponge, soaking things up in speechless wonder, as you so perceptively suggest. It's afterwards, with a little distance, as now, that the words may come pouring out. I'm very pleased you enjoyed this post. Thanks for letting me know. I'm still (slooowly) enjoying the words in your book.

Polona, thank you! Yes, this is a trip that will carry many memories and associations for me for a long time.

9/21/2006 1:05 PM  
Blogger Brenda said...

Your trip, the photographs, your writing, living long after the event... gorgeous, everything. Like you, your perceptions, consciousness, being-in-pure-goodness, radiant, that apricot sun.

9/22/2006 9:08 AM  
Blogger MB said...

Thanks so much, Brenda.

9/25/2006 9:20 AM  

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