Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Take a Trip

A couple weeks ago I took a trip to an area in central Utah where you can do some rockhounding. It's called Topaz Mountain and is about 25 miles west of Delta.

I had been been there years ago when my kids were young. I didn't find anything at the time, not knowing exactly what to be looking for; naively expecting crystals like this to just be laying around:

In case I didn't find anything I planned to get there early enough to photograph the sunrise so the trip wouldn't be a total bust.

I went with my youngest daughter who took the day off from work. She had no recollection of being there as a kid.

I know, nice pics and all, but what does this have to do with writing? I wondered if I could paint the experience with words and get close to the same feeling.

I opened the car door and looked around at my purple-tinged surroundings thirty minutes before sunrise. I walked around the CRV and popped open the back, opened the passenger door to get my camera bag. 
If it was a movie you'd expect to hear a breeze, the clich├ęd scree of a hawk, various subtle but unidentifiable animal noises, maybe a rabbit running through the brush, little birds taking off. But there was none of that. Complete silence, except for a slight hi-pitched tone of tinitus. Completely alone. 
The first sounds I heard were my boot-crunch on the dried sticks and rocks as I wandered among the dried parchment flowers of the fourwing saltbush, and brittle, twisted, frayed-silver sagebrush roots.  The plastic click and aluminum slide of the tripod legs and various soft button presses as I got my camera ready for sunrise. 
Then it was just waiting. No wind, so the 24-degree temperature didn't feel cold at all. Slowly pacing and wandering around until moments before sunrise I saw a better view for the picture. I ran back to the camera, slipping in the sand, grabbed the tripod and ran back to the better spot just as the sunlight grazed the mountain.

So did I capture the feeling? Whether I succeeded or not doesn't matter. It's the attempt. I had to slow down and quiet my racing mind enough to re-live the experience and try to put it into words.

So here's your challenge. One of these weekends coming up, take a solitary day trip and try to capture it in words as well as pictures.

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