Goblin Valley State Park (November 2014)

Sometimes when we look at an image, it stirs up emotion and memories.  When I see this one, it takes my breath away.  Yet, in an instant, I am saddened.  One might ask why such beauty would stir up a feeling of melancholy?

When I took this photo in the far-reaching landscape of Utah three years ago, I had only been back in Virginia a couple of months after relocating from New York City.  I was still adjusting from my former life, and I was looking forward to getting away.  In the days leading up to my departure, my dad’s health took a downturn as we awaited placement for him in a nursing home.  Fortunately, we were able to arrange for respite care to give my mother a much-needed break.  Off to Utah I went.

Of the many images I captured out west, this one has always whispered to me.  I learned about the Earth’s shadow that day.  I stood in awe at its ensuing cast of blush against the backcloth.  The stillness of the water.  The delicate layers of ancient land.  The mirror reflection.  The rising moon.  And the coming twilight.  All could be metaphors for what I was going through at the time, thinking about my Dad back home. 

Utah is unlike any place I’d ever been to.  The expanse of terrain, so raw and untouched in places, welcomed my sadness.  It embraced me with its unshielded crags and plains.  It sang to me in its silence.  And friends, both static and fresh, provided a milieu where I could grow into my healing. 

I could not know then that the day I flew home Dad would be admitted to a long-term care facility, not to return home again.  I could not have known then that Dad would not be here now.  But seeing this image today provides a moment of peace.  There is clarity in the silence.  Beauty in the unmoved.  A forever rest in the quiet.  Earth’s shadow has shown me that the sun always sets in splendor. 

How absolutely wondrous!

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