My son said yesterday evening that he’d thought it was Monday all day. I told him to wait a bit, and it would be. But as it’s a federal holiday, in fact this week ‘Monday’ will not really be happening until Tuesday.
So many things we take for granted, we forget they are not, in fact, absolute and immutable. The week, for instance. Seven day chunks define our sense of a full course of days before the pattern of work and relaxation repeats. In current times, in Western society, it begins and ends each cycle with a day understood to be set aside for spiritual observance, usually Saturday or Sunday.
The ancient Etruscans and Romans lived and worked with eight day weeks. The Egyptians defined the repeating pattern of work and life in ten day weeks. That had a brief resurgance in Revolutionary France as they attempted to detach life from the religiously defined calender, but it wasn’t a success.
I’m not suggesting that our cultural habit of generations be changed, just that it’s interesting to think about it, to imagine if we lived weeks that were not seven days. For one thing, we’d have to come up with names for the additional days. Any suggestions…?
Or what if we shortened the repeating pattern to five or six days? Which names would we drop? Or would we find all new names, just to redefine the week, to escape the traditions we are so used to?
The experience of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico begins with a leisurely stroll down a paved path that descends over a mile from daylight into the perpetual night of one of most spectacular publicly accessible caverns in the world.
I’ve been there three times now, the first as a child of 10, the second when I took my son near the same age, and the third on my own as an adult, with a camera. Over those ~50 years of visits, nothing has changed: not the long entry, the astonishing geologic features, not even the Lunch Room at the lowest chamber of public use, and its boxed lunches! Also, that long descent every time resulted in shin splints, so some visitors might be glad to know of the elevators from the above-ground visitors center down to the Lunch Room from where it’s possible to explore the more level lower chambers and sights.
I have lived in Colorado for some years now with a view of Pike’s Peak outside my window. Many of these photos are of the mountain itself from various places in Colorado Springs: Sunrises and sunsets, clouds and storms, moon sets… The Mountain is always there, and always different!
I’ve driven up into and around the mountain many times. There are roads both paved, and not. There are wild animals and livestock along the way. There are signs revealing of human activity and character. Cripple Creek has become a casino townand has a small herd of free-roaming donkeys. Victor remains modest and charming.
Images in this collection are from the Pike’s Peak Highway up to the summit of Pike’s Peak, and the back roads to Cripple Creek and Victor. From Victor, another road runs through the Phantom Canyon. Autumn is a time of particular beauty, so many of them are full of color.
The first time I visited this spectacular park in southern Utah, I had some wonkiness going on with my knees, and no matter how they tempted and beckoned, I could only stand and take photos from the rim. The second time, a few years later, I was finally able to follow the call of the trails and go down among the the hoodoos.
To the east of Bryce is the much less-known, less-visited Kodachrome Basin State Park. Between my knees and time constraints, I only hiked one of its trails, the Shakespeare Arch trail, and mostly took pictures of the vegetation there. I still promise myself I’ll go back one day and actually get more of the geologic features of more of the Park.
American’s, and in fact, the world’s first National Park is in the northwestern corner of the state of Wyoming, with some overlap into Montana and Idaho. It is one of the most popular and dramatic of the National Parks, featuring abundant western wildlife, geologic and thermal regions, and some spectacular scenery.
You won’t see Old Faithful among these images, or Morning Glory Pool, or Yellowstone Lake. It’s a big park, and my travels through it didn’t cover all the roads. Also, those very popular locales are often very crowded.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjUrtqGD I was first here when I was 10, with my parents, and those were the days of bear-jams on the roads, and bears in the campgrounds. My more recent travels, I’ve seen no bears: It is the bison that dominate the landscape, and create the traffic jams.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjUwmpd8 Every time I’ve visited this park, I’ve spent some time walking among the thermal areas, especially fascinated by the bubbling mudpits.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjoyoUqw The Yellowstone River is very shallow in some areas, and lovely shades of blue and green. These images were taken above the renowned Lower Falls.
https://flic.kr/s/aHsjoxPco7 On one visit I made sure to vist the view points above the Lower Falls at sunrise, to catch the golden light on the canyon walls. A little later, I walked down the trail into the canyon near where the falls descend.
Located in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Garden of the Gods is a spectactular geologic park, a portion of the red and white rock formations that run north and south along the Front Range of the Colorado Rockies. I live about 3 miles away, so have collected many views in different lights and seasons.
I have always loved the western United States, for the scent of wild sage and especially for the dramatic geology.
Interstate 70, begins in Utah at a point south of Salt Lake City and continues eastward to Baltimore, Maryland. I’ve driven the particular section between its junction with I 15 in Utah to Denver, Colorado several times, in different seasons. It is some of the most beautiful scenery outside National and State Parks anywhere!
Trans-ness, gay-ness, bi-ness–none of these things are new to the human experience. They have been recognized in many non-Western cultures as normal and authentic for literal ages. They have always been here, though in the shadows at the edges of this dominant Western culture and disparaged as ‘un-natural’ by this and other patriarchal societies.
Not new, not a change in human experience, not un-natural.
The societies cringing away from any sort of gender ambiguity are also those that denigrate women. Male-dominant societies believe that male is the only way to be fully human: Females only exist to make more males; females have nothing else of value to offer; females are not persons, but property. Anyone not fully, demonstratively, aggressively male in such societies is of no worth, is the source of evil and if they are not even practically and productively female, they are un-natural.
Nature itself proves that gender is a fluid thing in many species, that sexual pleasure exists beyond humans, that variety in gender or sexual expression is not ‘un-natural.’
And for those who wave the banners of religious intolerance… Well, they are the ones still referring to God as He, as if that does not in itself cut their all-powerful diety right in half!
Patriarchy. It’s a cultural habit, not an absolute truth. It’s what’s un-natural.
The impassioned moment’s passed, The fight’s gone out of me; tolerance and hope set in with a sigh and by-and-by this latest violence, outrage, assault against the heart and soul will pass– and leave me living still and still possessed of most of what I had;
Life goes on sublime, absurd, expects the future still makes plans invests and wanders down the middle course again somewhere between the hopeless and the glad.
Disappointment gnaws away at faith.
Perhaps, because our planet turns and we are used to nights and days, Hope returns relentlessly and carelessly extreme, and sets us up for disappointment once again. So–faith in disappointment becomes the order of the day.
When we are gone, our hopes and fears dispelled into the sky that wavers still between the darkness and the light, all argument and action, come to naught but fleeting windblown moan and faded thought. Our remains– our captive images, our poetry engraved beside the columns of the Greeks, the remnant walls of Babylon, mysterious great figures in the plains– will testify to inspiration, passion, and the folly of our age.