Weekly Photo Challenge: Wall

Rock walls…

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Wall.”

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Heaven’s Gulch

I tried to get to Devil’s Gulch last year, but along the way I was distracted by Ritterbush Pond and never made it any further.

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This year, I was determined to hike there and to see this unique natural feature on the Long Trail near Belvedere Mountain.

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It was a beautiful day when we set out. Ritterbush Pond appeared, and we did linger there for awhile. How could we not? The calm reflective waters invite lingering.

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But it was Devil’s Gulch that was our destination. The trail there is deceiving. It travels down instead of up. Down, down, down. Deep into a narrow valley.

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A ladder leaning up against a rock face is the first clue that there is more to this place than meets the eye.

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At the top of the ladder you look down into the gulch. Devil’s Gulch. I expected something dark and sinister. But what I saw seemed more like an entrance to a magical and enchanted place. An opening into another time and dimension. It captured my heart immediately and completely.

Huge rocks and boulders lay scattered about before me. Some resting precariously and others seemed as if they had been there forever.

Thickly coated in emerald green moss and lichen. Tree roots embracing and holding them in place.

An altar appeared. Made of rocks and moss. It felt almost church like. And I wondered why. Why was this beautiful place named Devil’s Gulch?

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As the sunlight filtered through the overhead trees and we explored this captivating place, I realized it didn’t matter why. To me, it felt more like Heaven’s Gulch.

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A place of serenity, peace…and a little bit like heaven.

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Springtime at the Quarries

They always surprise me, these abandoned quarries.

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I always discover something new each time I go. A new trail. Another new hidden quarry. A new view. A new sense of awe.

In the springtime, the quarries show their true colors. The deep and mineral rich water sparkles brilliantly in the sun.

The leaves fill in the woods and trails filtering light and giving life to the things that grow here.

The rocks, scarred and striated, stand tall and proud above the glorious pools below.

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This newness…is how I wish to live my life. Each day a new beginning. Each day a new chance. Each day a new adventure.

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And the quarries in springtime remind me just how beautifully brand new each day is.

Rocks In My Head

I have a thing for rocks. In fact it might be called an obsession. I can look at them for hours. I am fascinated by their shape, color, texture, and uniqueness. Like fingerprints. And just as often, I find myself taking some home, filling my pockets or backpack. There are rocks in my car. There are rocks in my house. I’m beginning to think there are rocks in my head…

Rocks tell a story about the place they are found and about our earth. Rocks have gone through cycles and changes. Rocks endure and transform. They get battered and tossed around in raging rivers and ocean tides. They undergo extremes temperatures and pressure. They can be polished smooth or left rough. Each one beautiful in its own way.

Rocks have a mysterious side as well. A sacredness to their ability to withstand time and the elements. They are present everywhere and have been used to navigate and guide and mark spiritual places upon the land.

Rocks symbolize strength, stability, and being grounded. They represent different things to different cultures and throughout history. They are a source of power and healing. They are mined and quarried and examined and even coveted.

Mountains are made of rock. Violently thrusted and forced upward from the earth to form towering peaks. Steep and treacherous pinnacles to gentle rolling hills.

Rocks broken down over time become sand. And then begin changing again…back into a rock. Different yet in some ways the same. Combining with new minerals, forming bonds, and rebuilding. To see the world in a grain of sand…is not just the start of a lovely William Blake poem…but a way of seeing things from a new and clearer perspective. Slowing down and truly noticing the infinite beauty of the world around us.

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Maybe having rocks in my head isn’t such a bad thing after all…

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