There are those that say a picture is worth a thousand words and I couldn’t agree more. Pictures tell stories of memories and events that allow us to reminisce. This particular picture is definitely one you could say is worth a thousand words. It does bring out memories but not the kind we would usually think of. These memories are of great authors and the timeless tales that are etched into each page; ones that are pronounced by each cracked and faded binding that line the shelves. You could merely look at this picture and know that you have truly encountered a good read.
On a cool September morning as I was making my way up Guardsman’s Pass once again, a splash of color caught my eye. A stand of aspen trees that I had previously passed many times, suddenly stopped me. The forest floor was ablaze with scarlet and gold hues. The Aspens, with their leaves turning gold themselves, were quaking as if they knew of the coming snow that was soon to follow.
West Virginia is easily one of the most beautiful places I have traveled to. The forests are abundant everywhere you look and during autumn, shades of changing leaves engulf you as you drive down their many roads. On one such road, I came upon an old mill sitting in my path. The water wheel was old and rusted and matched the feel of the entire scene that lay before me. The ground was showered in sheets of color acting as a reflector for the trees. I knew I had come to this exact spot at the perfect time. The season explained itself as I stood and stared at the autumn mill.
A 200-year-old sturdy, lone cypress tree stands on Pebble Beach. I waited for both weather and time to come together to create a view that captured what has become the symbol of Pebble Beach. A steady downpour of rain slowed me down, but once the rain passed and the sky cleared, everything came together to make this shot happen. I had to work quickly, as all but a few minutes of light were left in the day. The sun’s brilliant post storm color wrapped the tree in incredible tones. The waves crashed constantly on the shore to provide an element of drama. Amazing blue tones bestowed light from the approaching nightfall. In all of this, the cypress tree stands tall, sturdy and solid, undeterred by weather, time and water.
Scenes such as this should be revered. Very few things can be found that exhibit such color and yet at the same time seize your eye by the intensity of its starkness. This grove particularly held so much of each feature that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let my mind wander amidst the oranges and yellows that contrasted so perfectly with the white bark that was wrapped around each slender trunk. As I took this shot, I tried to do it in such a way that anyone studying it would be able to revere it in the way that I had and to truly be able to see its radiance.
Hidden gems can sometimes only be found by going on an excursion in search of them. In this circumstance, my travels took me just minutes from home and the hidden gem I found was one I had seen many times. When coming across it this time, however, the changing colors had skewed my vision and showed me sometime entirely new; almost as if the leaves had painted themselves in a more pleasing way to pose for the travelers that had taken them for granted before. So today whilst on the trail, I had to stop and pause to appreciate this flashing moment of autumn on the trace.
Living in Iowa tends to make a person humble as they see what other parts of the world have to offer. However, as I’ve grown and matured, I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of life and the landscape of the Midwest. To me, this scene conjures up memories of my grandparent’s farm and the endless snow-covered fields we would pass on our journeys through the hills and valleys of my childhood home.
I was traveling the 17-Mile Drive on the Monterey Peninsula, headed toward a Pebble Beach landmark, when it began to rain.
I asked myself, “Why am I going out here in this downpour?” The tourists who had gathered there apparently had answered that question already, as they beat a quick retreat from the threatening clouds.
The Lone Cypress, the rooted icon I had come to capture, had no choice but to stay. It wasn’t going anywhere, so neither was I. Perhaps we’d both learned that thunderstorms pass, and on the other side of dismal often lies remarkable beauty. Leave too soon, and you’ll miss it.
As the clouds cleared and the sun beat down on a jagged precipice, two lone figures remained to revel in the sight - the cypress on its cliff, and I on mine.