Great Ghosts

you have to remind yourself from time to time that there is a life outside of the internet, cell phones, and fashion..

This afternoon around 4:30 or so I made my way out to a perfect spot on a rock out on the rim of the grand overlook here in the Island In The Sky. The land below this cliffs edge had already begun to transform as the sun sank into the western horizon. Bit by bit each layer of this wonderful place began to be overtaken by shadow and every peak lit itself up as if taking one las nice big stretch before climbing into bed and the canyons all seemed so peaceful at that moment.

Before I knew it the sun was hidden totally behind the farthest reach of the horizon in the distance and the highest points on the highest canyon rims before me were glowing red and then quickly fell to a more pale shade of pink. At this point the landscape began a second transformation and this time there were still layers of light yet to pass their way through the canyons below. Even darker shadows began to take over areas and then looking toward where the sun once was I could see that last gasp of orange light stretching its self across the horizon and finally moved onto wake the eastern world from its slumber.

During this sunset something else was happening as well, the moon was there all along as if waiting for its chance to shine its light on the world below. Looking up to the moon I thought to myself how the moon is nothing but a mirror reflecting the light of the sun as though the sun was teaming up with the moon to give the gift of light at night. At one point there in between the day and the night I found that I had two shadows which is something that I have never seen happen before. One cast off into the distance with its orange glow and the other laying almost directly from overhead with a blueish tint. It was a wonderful feeling there at that moment like I was trapped between night and day.

Also as the sun set, the last of the other visitors left and went along on their way and from what the rangers told me earlier in the day I was the only person staying the night out there in the park and this left me to realize that I had this whole island to myself. The entirety of this wonderful moon lit landscape was mine for the night. Along with this realization came that I was totally alone there sitting in the cold of the night on the edge of the rim of this great canyon. I started to feel lonely and as time went by I came to find that I could not remember a time in my life when I had felt so alone in the world. I imagined each time the cold night breeze brushed against my face that a ghost was there making its presence known to me. I felt the cold stone beneath me and felt that I could connect with the spirit of this place at that moment and knew that it would take care of me. It calmed me to think of this and I felt at ease there looking out into the landscape of the night. What was once brilliant orange was now beautiful shades of grey and blue and as I looked out into the night It hit me that this is why I had come out here to this area. To feel the force of the planet, to feel the presence of the seemingly never ending world and feel humbled by its greatness.

And in that moment I felt so alive it was hard to bare, in that moment of total awareness and in the black cold of a winters night I felt free and ready to move on and discover the rest of my life somehow transformed by the great unknown of this land as it spoke to me and in this moment I felt peace.

photo 57

Great Ghosts, pt. 2... later that evening after shooting a handful of photos...

As I was out shooting I heard a sound in the near distance, close yet far and I thought it to be a crow seeing as I had seen them around so often. After a few moments of hearing it It hit me that it was not the sound of a crow at all, it was some sort of mammal but what? I wisked my flashlight around to the direction of the sound and the beam of light caught a flicker of something among the giant rocks of the canyon. I could swear the flicker were eyes. As quickly as they were there I shone my light back to where the flicker was but they were gone. Then moments later the sound came again and again I shone my light over in the direction of the sound and I found that flicker of light again and again I saw eyes and this time it was obvious. Two yellow eyes staring right at me. I decided that I was not welcome there anymore, besides, I was the intruder here, not whomever those eyes belonged to.

So I gathered my camera and my book and stepped back to the trail when once again I heard the sound of whatever animal was out there creeping around in the shadows of the moon, calling out into the void only this time the sound was closer to me and I turned my flashlight back on and once again locked into a staring match with those two yellow eyes. This time I found that they were obviously right there on the path of the trail that I had to take to get out of there and to the right of me was a huge cliff and to the left of me was another cliff of sorts that I could not get around easily. The trail was my only way to get back to my car which rested a half a mile or so away. So I sat there and stared into these eyes for what felt like forever as I ran through my mind what to do next. I decided that I had to keep moving so I figured I needed to try and scare whatever this thing was off so first I flickered my flashlight in its direction and made some sort of odd sound to try and spook it. As I flickered the light its direction the eyes vanished from sight and I had no idea where it disappeared to. I did not hear any movement at all which made me nervous. No rocks or sand shifting, no rustle of plants, nothing. The eyes just vanished as quickly as they appeared and I no longer heard its calling.

Funny thing was while this was happening to me, all the while something repeated in my head that I had heard from a silly little campfire story time type thing led by a ranger the last time I was out in this area. The ranger talked for a while about animals in the area and there was one phrase that stuck in my head repeating as if trying to make my heart race any faster than it already was. That phrase was "...eyes in the front, likes to hunt. Eyes to the side, likes to hide." The yellow eyes that I had stared into were definitely to the front, no question about it.

So heart racing I left my light on and stomped slowly forward down the trail toward where I had encountered the eyes and made myself look as big and menacing as possible stomping and ever so slowly marching forward on the trail. I continued to shine my light around into the shadows and through the brush and trees but thankfully I did not come across those eyes again. As I made it up to the main overlook where the sidewalk began I heard the animal calling yet again but this time in the distance. A couple of photos later I was back in my car heading towards my camp site thankful but oh so very curious what I had come in contact with out there...

Song of the moment, "Great Ghosts" as performed by The Microphones on their live in Japan album. It's the first track on there and one of the most wonderful songs ever written. I promise.