A Tree in the Night
To walk on a path in the wilderness during the day is to experience the serene joy of knowing our small place in the greater whole of this world. With the gaudy artifice of man-made structures eliminated, one can surround themselves in nature and begin to feel a part of the planet. To tower over the delicate flora and rocks of the understory while being dwarfed and shaded by the grandiose canopy of deciduous and evergreen forest, large boulders and towering mountains set the stage of our part in landscape. Dominating through size, if not ferocity, the small creatures, and insects that abound while understanding one's subservience to the larger predators that roam, thankfully, unseen, allows the gestalt of our place in existence. Taken together, a soul is filled with wonder at the magnificence of creation.
At night though, that experience changes. There is something hypnagogic about walking on a remote mountain trail at night. In the absence of light, even if in a group, one trek's alone. The experience of your surroundings at night is limited to that provided by the small circle of light from your headlamp and the theatrical lighting of the star canopy overhead. On the path at night, the focus is intensified and distractions limited. And, it is during the night on the trail when the most mundane of objects reveal their true beauty.
So it was the other night while we walked back to our cars along the stepped Echo Trail at Chiricahua National Monument. We spent the evening shooting "Groot" rock, one of the unique hoodoo formations at the park which looks uncannily like the Guardians of the Galaxy creature. As we passed by this seemingly innocuous tree, one of our party turned and, seeing it against the backdrop of the Milky Way, stopped our progress and commanded that we all look. I am reasonably sure that during the day we would have walked right past this old gnarly survivor of the decades but not on this night. On this night, this stalwart hero demanded our attention.
Dumping the 40-pound pack of camera gear from my back, I set up my tripod and camera to capture the image. It is one of my favorites of the night. I hope I did it justice.
In the high desert of Southern Arizona, I am continually awed by the magnitude of the diverse beauty. Through my lens, I have been blessed to share the experiences God has me witness. Through my words, I have the humble honor of describing each adventures glory. I remain His scribe.
A Tree in the Night
Keywords: Arizona, Chiricahua, High Desert, landscapes, Milky, Monument, National, Nightscape, Way, Wilderness
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