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Derek von Briesen | profile | all galleries >> Tone Poems in Blue & White: White Sands NM tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Tone Poems in Blue & White: White Sands NM



Aaahhhh . . . what more can be said about White Sands National Monument, . . . a photographic treasure of such extraordinary beauty & limitless
potential that one is left, literally, speechless, atop lonely dunes, in a sea of such, beholding varieties of light & color that sweep this magnificent
landscape in endless patterns of waves, light, and lines?

Watching, searching, seeing, bending, kneeling, crawling, lying prostrate in supplication . . . Surely, you think, he must be mad, speaking in terms of
spiritual reverence and piety. At the very least, . . . a touch melodramatic!

But wait, . . . spend an afternoon there, in the heat of a summer monsoon, watching clouds gather, the sun playing hide & seek,
casting its rays, filtered & direct, here, there & everywhere, each shading of light creating its own special color on the
infinite tabla rasa that is this incredible, indelible white desert.

Or see the sun rise, the horizon subtly saturated in the violets and pale blues of the earth's own shadow.

No less, stay 'til the last breaths of light fade in the evening, contemplating the most sureal variety of colors in the sky and sand at sunset.

Stay 'til the journey back to civilization is fraught with danger, a baited breath game of landmarks and route-finding
over a thirty minute hike with little or no depth perception in the dark, fifty foot tumbles down steep dune faces
threatening every step of the way. Try & keep your eyes adjusted and focused, an effort almost certain to fail as the lush, luminous moon rises full in an eastern sky.

Take great care, for you could miss the road & walk forever (or at least much of the night), although a summer's night in the dunes might not be too bad . . .

Always remember, in the words of naturalist author Charles Bowdoin, to “look and listen and close your eyes and feel.”
“In short,” he implores, “become like a photograph and take in what is before you.”

What you will see, to quote Lawrence Cheek, is “vastness defined, . . .[a] lesson in the power of landscape to seize the imagination and trigger a transcendent moment.”

Transcendent? Indeed! Melodramatic? Hell, yes!! Slightly mad? Probably! . . .

But judge ye not . . . instead, spend a day there, sunrise to sunset, dawn to dusk, and you’ll come to smile knowingly. Go ahead, try & wipe it off your face!!
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