They were so much more than I imagined they would be. Bigger. More imposing. Majestic. Awesome.
Day three of our desert road trip, we decided to “take it easy” with a short jaunt to the Yucca Valley and up hill to Pioneertown, which is at a higher elevation and promised to deliver slightly cooler temperatures.
I did not like the drive up into the mountains and so it was difficult at first to appreciate the views. What goes up must come down and I spent much of the drive nervously anticipating a horrible drop-off around each bend. Fortunately, that did not happen and the scariest part of the ride was when I yelled at Davin to do a u-turn so we could hit up a big yard sale that I spotted too late.
There’s something about perusing a yard sale with massive Joshua trees (Yucaa brevifolia) and dry, desert mountains-capes as the backdrop.
It was a fall evening some years ago, just before the golden hour (my favourite time of the day). My friend Laura was headed out to Humber Nurseries to take some photos in their private garden and offered to take me along. Not one to forgo a chance to get out of the city or into private gardens, I went along and took with me my digital and one film camera.
I’m still engaged in the long process of catching up on developing and scanning a backlog of film dating back a few years. There are lots of plant and garden related images within this pile that I had forgotten about. It is bringing up old thoughts, ideas, memories.
For instance, looking at this image taken in NYC last August has me thinking about unusual gardens. I found this one attached to an auto body/detailing shop on the Bowery. I had to stop and capture it for my memory.
Gardens like this are some of my favourite. They are a surprise. They are little gems that lie tucked within the overlooked nooks and crannies of the city. Blink and you will miss them. They are not beautiful in the traditional sense. They are dismissed. They are not celebrated within the glossy pages of horticultural magazines. There are no unusual/rare/designer plants here. The pots are ugly/handmade/crude; they were not purchased in contemporary shops. They are messy. They are dirty. They are not special.
They are brilliant. They are magic. They make the city come alive.
I am tackling my New Year’s Resolution early. Doomsday predictors believe we only have a few days left — I should probably get busy.
Do something with all of the travel pictures. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on quite a few journeys over the last few years. Many were work-related, but when I could I tried to tack on a few extra days so that I could see a place that I had never been before and probably would never see again. No matter where I go, there is always something to see.
And so there are pictures. Heaps and heaps of pictures. I am buried alive in pictures. First there is the digital stuff. And you know how it is with digital. You snap away like a maniac and deal with it later. Or you don’t. Instead you look at it and think, “Seven hundred images. Ugh. I will do this later.” But later never comes. And then there is the film. These days it is abhorrently expensive to buy and even more expensive to develop. So I sit on it and roll it out in affordable chunks. Then I must endure the slow process of scanning it, image-by-image. Once that is done I am tired so I take a break that lasts indefinitely.
This is where, Do Something With All of the Travel Pictures, 2013!, comes in. It would be nice for some of those pictures to see the light of day, never mind the stories that accompany them. I want to tell more stories. That’s my other goal these days: Tell the Stories. There are many stories inside me that want to be told. Lately they have been punching at the walls inside my head, desperate to work their way out into the world. Some of these stories relate to small things like travel, plants, and food. But others are more complicated and so much harder to tell. I suppose the good thing here is that the drive to tell them has finally superseded the fear that my writing skills are not “good enough” to do them justice. I am working at it.