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I've Decided

That it's time to work on this blog.  A few weeks ago I went to El Malpais and wanted to do some night photography. 

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This wasn't a good evening.  I was homesick for Oklahoma.  I just wanted something normal.   

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Driving around in the desert to shoot the stars.  My divorce was just finalized and I've been feeling lost.  

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I just don't remember a lot about this night except how terribly homesick I was.  

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But how amazing the night sky is in the southwest.   

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I'm trying to remember that night. I knew I felt better by the time I was home, at the same time I was still lost.   I'm grateful for the friends I've had this last month who have helped get me through. 


I Haven't Felt Like

Blogging... despite the incredible amount of content that I have.  I've got an amazing archive of all of these places I've visited.  Yet, I have writers blog.  I just don't care about sharing myself on this format as much.  I don't worry about my images and content.  I don't need the following and I'm just no longer interested or truly engaged in maintaining this blog.  

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Last Saturday morning I was in Oklahoma. I got my wildflower shooting in.  I'm glad I was home, but at the same time it was a trip where I experienced the most pride in my son and it was the worst trip that I've made home.   

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I was so homesick the week before. I am so tired of the snow every week that we get here on the Colorado Plateau.   I just wanted to go home and feel like I was at home.   

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But sometimes home isn't a place. Home is a person.  

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And I didn't have that person last weekend.   

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2017 has been an incredibly difficult year.   

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I just want everything to be okay.   


National Radio Astronomy Observatory - A Very Large Array

On the Plains of San Agustin lies the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the home of " Karl G. Jansky A Very Large Array."

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This basin in Catron and Socorro counties in New Mexico is around 55 miles in length and 15 miles in width.   The plains are a remnant of a Pleistocene era lake.  After driving from where I'm living in Cibola county to the town of Fence Lake we continued to Quemado and across the mountains to the Plains of Agustin.  

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I think driving into these vast plains between the mountains is as impressive as the dishes.   I love landscapes like this, these basins that were carved out millions of years ago by natural geologic forces.  

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We stopped to take some photos before we arrived and read these signs...

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These signs should be when you enter the Plains of Agustin.  

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Now for the fun stuff....   

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My sister said I need to change my blog page name to "Expedition Oklahoman"   -  Not bad.  

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How they move them further away from each other or closer depending on what part of space they are hearing...

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This is how they move them around the rail around the Plains of Agustin 

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This is amazing, the technology of what it can do.  Seeing something that you've only ever seen in the movies.  Amazing.  

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Showing us that there is more out there than our little planet...

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So if you happen to be in New Mexico, I suggest stopping by and visiting A Very Large Array 

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We think our presidential election is so significant... 

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But if you look at the Milky Way we are nothing in comparison to the big picture.  


 


El Morro

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Just down the road from my new home is El Morro National Monument .  My last visit was in 2010 when I went to a workshop at Crow Canyon sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

 

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This natural pool provided the run off water so people could stop and rest on their travels and have a drink...and autograph the rock.  

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So, natural resources are important.  Water is extremely important in the American west, which made this a great place to stop and have a drink before getting back on the trail.  

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Of course it was an inscription rock long before the colonists arrived.   The Ancestral Pueblo people were busy inscribing on this rock. 

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Telling their stories in stone a thousand years ago.  

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I love the petroglyphs.  

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If you take the half mile hike to the top of El Morro you can arrive at the ancient village of the Shiwi people.  Atsinna.  

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The Kiva is the church of the pueblo people.  A house of prayer.   

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I've hiked El Morro every week since I've been in New Mexico.  This Saturday was particularly pretty.  

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Of all the things I missed about New Mexico, I missed the sky the most.  I am in love with the sky on these days where the clouds dot the dark azure sky.   

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The passed through here in 1709, the year the little ice age struck Europe.  

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They came in the 19th century and wrote their names besides the ancient ones, beside the Spaniards and marked their journeys west.  

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The oldest inscription from Onate, is dated prior to the Mayflower.   This history in North America that we often miss in our history books,   we forget about the Spanish and the French in North America.   We need to remember they were here too.   

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I like the hike up El Morro, the views are spectacular.   

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It was a beautiful day. 

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There is the volcano that I can see from my back yard.  This landscape is amazing.   

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and you can look down on the other side of the mesa.  

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You can look out and see Highway 53 and in an hour you can be in Arizona.   

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These stairs carved in the rock to make your hike easier.   

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Highway 53 and El Morro is kind of out of the way but it is well worth your time if you are in the area.  

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Inscription Rock, a little place in western New Mexico that documents centuries of travelers who were seeking a new life, or were just continuing to live their lives out on the Colorado Plateau.    








 

 

 

 


Back to New Mexico

I have returned to New Mexico.  I had an opportunity presented to me that I couldn't turn down.  I've been here nearly a month now and am slightly settled in.  Here are some images from my initial drive out on September, 24th. I lived in New Mexico in 2003-04. I took my first teaching position in The Pueblo of Zuni.   That year had an incredible impact of my understanding of the world and people. It was the impetus for my fascination with Native culture and heritage and it's importance..  

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I probably should have stayed home a few more days and got over my cold.  But I left the day after I finished my last day of notice on my Oklahoma job.   I made it to New Mexico fairly early but New Mexico is a large state (the sixth largest), I had a few more hours to go.  I was doubting my decision but I know that I can do anything for a year (or two).  I also know there are a lot of places I want to see in the Southwest and work on my photography portfolio and this is an excellent time in my life to do it.   

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This is El Morro... the closest National Monument  to my new home.  

As I returned to familiar scenery and a landscape of my past....  I was longing for Oklahoma and my family.   But I was also curious about this new school and new students, and schedule.  I also feel that I'm in a position where I'm treated as a professional which I never felt working for large school systems.   I am in a state that values the fact that I've valued my education and the pay represents that.  

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The grandeur of nature and the signatures of the people who traveled through in the past at El Morro.   This is an amazing landscape.  I understand the inspiration New Mexico provided for artists such as Georgia O'Keeffe. But I've got a lot more images and perhaps I'll  begin working on my blog more often now.  


Wood Lake, Nebraska

Since I do not know where to begin with the blogging of my experiences of the Summer of 2016 I guess I will start with this quaint abandoned church in Wood Lake, Nebraska.  

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Wood Lake is in Cherry County, Nebraska and is on highway 23.  

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It also has a historical marker.  Here is some historical information about Wood Lake which was originally called "Cottonwood Lake."  

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I caught a glimpse of this old church off of the highway and had to go find it.   

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It was a hot day and the drive across Nebraska seemed like an eternity because it was our last day of our great Northern adventure and I was tired of driving. 

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I'm afraid I'm a victim of wanderlust.  Our last trip was in July and I'm already wishing I could go somewhere else.  

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Looking at the abandoned churches, houses, settlements is realizing that someone spent their time and craftsmanship to build that building, home or place of worship. 

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And someone else chose to allow it to fall into a state of disrepair.   

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I think everything needs time, passion and attention for it to thrive.  When the time and attention leaves things fall into disrepair.  We no longer care.  I'm afraid that this blog is going the way of losing my time and attention.   Yet, I have so much material that I can pour into it, which could be useful for someone, somewhere.   

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One more shot before we left town to head towards I-80 to get on our way back to Oklahoma on that June day.  

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Wichitas at Night

 


Inspirational Post With Flowers and Stuff

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Insert Inspirational Quote Here.... There might be a few that inspire me below...  

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I don't need inspiration transposed on my images.  I don't need peaceful nature when I share these images.   I have already found what I need when I create these images, during the moment I'm chasing the light.  

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I don't need anyones opinions. I don't need your approval or disapproval of my words or my images.   I don't need a business from my images.  I don't need to be bothered.  

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I don't need to go "viral"  - I don't need a 100,000 fans.   

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I do not need to educate others. I do not need to teach people about photography.  I do not feel obligated to photograph anything for anyone anymore.   I've tapered working for others down.  It will not continue. 

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I am taking my skill back.  That is also the thing about being an educated.  Just because I am educated it does not believe that I am obligated to share my knowledge with the world.  I like educating - that is why I do it.  But I do not owe my skills, abilities or talents to anyone.   I do not have to shoot and share or post these images.  I enjoy sharing them because I realize not everyone has the space to spend time outdoors like I do.   

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“We are on strike against the dogma that the pursuit of one's happiness is evil. We are on strike against the doctrine that life is guilt.” -Ayn Rand 

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“Learn to value yourself, which means: fight for your happiness.”
― Ayn Rand

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“I could die for you. But I couldn't, and wouldn't, live for you.”
― Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead

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“A creative man is motivated by the desire to achieve, not by the desire to beat others.”
― Ayn Rand

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“Rationalization is a process of not perceiving reality, but of attempting to make reality fit one’s emotions.”
― Ayn Rand, Philosophy: Who Needs It? 

Get tired of writing... find some Rand quotes.   It works.  Now back to housework, laundry, cleaning out the fridge and possibly a short nap before a walk at the farm.  A side note.. Trump and Clinton are terrible Presidential candidates.  What is wrong with you America?   


Dogs

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There are a lot of dog pictures on my blog.  Dogs are a huge part of my life.  My big dogs, my little dogs, puppies, my sister's dogs ... I love dogs.   When I was small my Aunt Billie took me to get my first puppy, a Collie which we named Lassie.  Then for the rest of my childhood we had and raised Collies,  yes, we were the "pure breed" dog breeder family that so many people today get outraged about.  The outrage annoys me because I had a childhood of puppies. Not just one puppy for a  year or two but years of puppies to love and adore.  Raising animals teaches you compassion and love.  I also had chores, I had to care for the dogs after school as I got older and I showed dogs for 4H.  My friends who breed and raise purebred dogs love their dogs more than most people I know.  I am constantly seeing pictures of their children with their dogs and puppies.   I realize there are horror stories about people who don't care for their animals but that can be anyone, right down to the people who "rescue" animals.   

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Since he was adopted right before Easter his name is The Easter Buddy... which goes well with his new Sister

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I got a few shots of Pumpkin this afternoon playing ball and the other dogs.  

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I mean how precious is he?  Super precious.  I can't wait to get home and cuddle my little boy.   

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He's so hard to shoot he won't stay still most of these shots are not totally in focus.  He's a little stinker.  

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And awed, Sweet little Buddy meets his Big Sister.  

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Here is my Ozzie boy with the new boy.  

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He is a noble old dog.  We call him "Old Man" though, most of the time.   

 


Carlsbad Caverns

So we did a super quick trip to New Mexico over Spring Break -  and by quick I mean like 36 hours quick.   We drove to New Mexico on a Thursday evening and home on a Friday night, but we still went to a place we have never been before but always heard about.   So I spent the day looking at the weather and checking different state parks and places within four or five hour drives that we could go to but since it was St. Patricks Day I also knew that I really didn't want to be in downtown Dallas or Tulsa that night.   After watching the weather Carlsbad was our destination of choice, my husband's suggestion and it was a good one.   

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We left the house at four thirty or so and made it to Carlsbad around midnight.  Of course New Mexico is in Mountain Time so I'm not really sure what time it was by the time we arrived. 

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I haven't been to New Mexico since 2010!!!  When I went to a National Endowment for the Humanities workshop up in Colorado at Mesa Verde.  It has been a long time and I love New Mexico it is one of my favorite places.   I can't believe it has been six years since I've been out there already.   

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So we make it to Hobbs and I get to drive from Hobbs to Carlsbad.   Which was a decent little drive.   We arrived at the hotel and went to bed for some much needed rest after our 463 mile drive.   

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It's pretty flat until you get to the mountains,  and you only get to the mountains near the caverns.  

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So you drive up the mountain and eventually arrive at the visitors center. 

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It was incredibly windy when we got to the top of the mountain to go into the visitors center for our self guided cave tour.   

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This is probably a REALLY, REALLY GOOD IDEA.  If you are in horrible shape and don't like walking uphill this is not the national park for you.  Also, small children, good luck with that.  If you want to carry them and hope they aren't scared of dark places.  I consider myself in "decent" shape and this cave hike kicked my butt.   It takes three to four hours and the hike back out is brutal and uphill.  The hike down isn't too bad, but it is one of the most incredible places that I've ever been to.  

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They weren't kidding.   

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As you enter it is truly other worldly.  I used a tripod and a 15-30 2.8 lens on a Canon 6D,  I still struggled to get the shots that I wanted out of these caves.  Of course it was so packed with tourists it is truly difficult to enjoy America's National Parks sometimes because they are always relatively crowded.   

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Now for the pictures inside the caverns.   

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I hope to have some more time at home now which will allow me to catch up on everything that I'm behind on.  

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I can't even caption these photos because they do not do it justice.  It is a place that you can only imagine if you see it and experience it.  A photo does nothing to help you understand the vastness.   

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I'm trying to show you the images that are in focus more but I felt like I was battling shooting in this not quite dark situation on crowded pathways.  

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We hiked a total of two miles in the caverns  but four round trip and that is all underground.  It is impressive.  I can't explain or tell you what it is like.  You need to go see it for yourself.  

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These were all shot at 15mm, ultra wide but you really can't tell can you? 

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See the trail going through the bottom of this room.   

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So it was time to hike out and I didn't take any photos on our brutal hike out.  Mainly because the 15 year old decided we should "jog" out, or walk very quickly.  It didn't bother me to leave because I really don't like enclosed places that much!   But I was definitely sore the rest of the weekend. 

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Just beautiful.  Other worldly.  

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And as today is Easter, this photo is symbolic to me because it reminds me of so many Native American emergence stories of how they came out of the middle place.  Emerging from the cave just as we as humans emerge into this world from the womb.   I sure was glad to see the light and go back to the outer parts of this earth.