Thursday, December 3, 2009
I can't say that going to a desert was really high up on my "to do list", but I did find it interesting. I can honestly say I was surprised by what I saw.
I did see lots of cacti, (and that in and of itself was interesting for the variety there was in the wild!) I did see lots of dirt and lots of plants that were cool looking but not green and lush...that I expected. What amazed me was the lack of clarity in the air! My area is pretty dry, only 17 inches annually on a good year. But the air here is crystal clear for the most part, the mountains are more so; but still, here the air is pretty clear for a long way. What I found in Arizona was sharply reduced distance visability! While in Phoenix, I assumed it was pollution, but outside of the cities and by the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Sedona, they were not likely to have that problem, but still the clarity was much reduced to what I expected.
Being of a curious mind, I had to try and figure it out. No one seemed to notice it much there, so I'm assuming it is sort of like the Fall here. Here when harvest is going hard core, lots of dust from the combines is in the air. This of course is the one time of the year where it is not so clear. My guess is that being a desert and having breezes and winds, the fine dust of the desert is stirred up into the air and voila! Reduced clarity! It did make for cool sites and inspired all sorts of ideas for future paintings, especially at sunset. (Cliche or what?)
The Grand Canyon was the highlite of my trip. I've seen it from 30,000 feet in the air, seen shows on it, paintings of it, photos of it, and none of them brings home the massive size and dramtic splendor of it! We hired a helicoptor ride over it (so glad we did that!) First time in one, and what an initiation to the ride and the sights! We were there at a perfect time of day, about 2 hours before dark; so the shadows and lighting were spectacular. I had to think though, that when the early settlers came across to go west; after facing a desert and to be confronted by the canyon; it must have been a "throwing your hands in the air in frustration moment!" Talk about having to make a serious detour! 277 miles worth!
Anyway, a short trip (7 days fly by) but it did recharge my batteries and provided lots of cool ideas for future paintings and just tons of memories of seeing new things with friends and family.