Arizona road

Arizona. That sky is addictive and I’d like to go back and be under it some more.

Petrified Forest sky

Looking down is pretty rewarding, too.

Petrified Forest

Petrified Forest

The Petrified Forest was my favorite stop on our trip. It’s such a perfect living metaphor, I love it: You see it from far away, and it doesn’t seem like much. Kinda drab. Blah. Then you get into it, and you notice a shiny, colorful piece of rock. Just one, maybe. And then? Everywhere you put your eyes there’s this gorgeous color. All over the ground. And the more you see, the more you see. And it’s the same place it has been for a very, very, long, long time, but every time someone sees it for the first time (or in my case, the second visit but the first time I *saw* it), it’s new. And hopefully, every time someone leaves, they take with them not a rock, but a lesson they needed — about openness, or judgement, or delight, or patience, or beauty. About keeping an eye out for color when all you see is drab. About perspective, and appreciation, and wonder.

1504-36a-570A 1504-32-00207My great-grandmother, Bea, and my great-uncle, Ed, in the Petrified Forest 100 years ago when you could still drive wherever and climb around and bring pieces home with you.

I imagine her showing these pictures to someone and telling them, Oh, the photo doesn’t do it justice. You should see the colors! And even 100 years later, with an awesome camera that captures color and very complimentary late-afternoon magic hour light, I feel the same when I look at the hundreds of pictures I took that day. You really should go there, I think, near the end of the day when the sun is getting low, and see it yourself.

I’d like to take a swing at deciphering my lessons from the Petrified Forest, the real reason that I think it grabbed me by the shoulders and took my breath away. So I’ll claim some of all the things I listed already, but for me, it mainly has to do with living and dying. Mostly dying. I like when it seems as though maybe is nature taking pity on us and sharing hints about all the unknowns. Look, it seems like she is saying here, you think these trees are all dead, but really they’ve turned into something intricately beautiful. And so will you.


Or, you know, maybe the trees just got jealous of that sky and they spent all the energy they had trying to copy those colors and they petrified themselves.


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