With our busy lives, we take less time to “stop and smell the roses” than we should. I can remember many times earlier in my life driving through beautiful areas such as the Redwood forests of Northern California, or along the Washington and Oregon coast, or Grand Teton National Park, or Yellowstone, when nature invited me to stop for a while and have a chat. In my younger years I was too busy; I had a destination waiting at the other end of the drive; I had a schedule to keep. It wasn’t until much later in life that I realized that the journey is far more important than the destination, and that there are many wonderful side roads and detours if you will just take the time.
I’ve been doing a lot of driving around in the Big Horns looking for “Ah Ha!” places for photography, and found myself getting too caught up in the scouting. I was reminded of that recently when I happened upon a county road I had not noticed before. I was running late so I bookmarked it and decided to check it out later.
The next day shortly after turning onto the road, a sense of peace and tranquility came over me and I could feel mother nature inviting me to come and spend some time with her. The road heads straight up the shallow foothills toward the mountain and ends at the bottom of Little Goose Canyon. It was heavily overcast that day, and the canyon was shrouded in mist, and I ended up spending hours laying on the tailgate of my pickup allowing mother nature to message away all my cares, worries and concerns amid the rich smells and the sound of Little Goose Creek. Photographing the area never entered my mind. It wasn’t the priority that day.
As I laid there in that fuzzy place between being asleep and awake in the embrace of the spirits of the area, I was reminded how great a healer mother nature is if we will only give her a chance. I had vision after vision, and simply acknowledged them as they passed through unencumbered. After such encounters, I always come back with a clearer perspective and a reordered list of priorities.
Several days of rain have prevented me from getting back up there since I don’t want to make the road any worse than it already is. It is actually a “road” only by the loosest definition, and perhaps next time I will make the trip on foot instead of driving.