"Could I have this dance for the rest of my life?" - Anne Murray

Saturday, October 8, 2011

On SEEing a National Park - Zion

Seeing a place of massive natural beauty and spectacular geography, like Zion, or Glacier, or Yellowstone National Park is not just a challenge in terms of time and miles covered, it's also perceptually demanding. I (and maybe others have had similar experiences) really can't SEE what I'm looking at when I first encounter a place like this. I mean yes, literally I can see, I'm not blind, but I can't take in what I'm seeing. In the case of Zion, I just begin to see big red rocks. OK, so what's the big deal here, big red rocks. I've seen big red rocks before, and by the end of the day I've seen enough to last a life time.

So the challenge is to create a situation in which I am able to perceive what I am encountering and appreciate it as fully as possible, without big red rock overload effect.  Instead of trying to see it all, to see the big vistas, the grand scenes...

I look down..

Or in...

and try to see the small, intimate places. To touch the hollows, cracks, crevices, and the breathing things that live there.

I find that I can relate to those things and places, and begin to see the landscape in relation to me, instead of "out there." Then it becomes meaningful space.

I begin to put those things in their context and to see the textures and shapes around them and how those create the landscape.

I can begin to expand my vision to the larger vistas, and SEE them better. I think this shows up in my photographs as well. The ones I like best are those that draw you in from the geography to the biology/botany, or that integrate elements of both perspectives, the micro and the macro.

Do you see it?

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