Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Heinkle Butte

The name isn't quite right, and I keep thinking of Anne saying, "Oh no! You can't call this place 'The Avenue.' There's no meaning in a name like that. You should call it 'The White Way to Light'" I adore Anne, and so, I'll say, "Oh no! You can't call this place 'Heinkle Butte.' There's no meaning in a name like that. You should call it 'The Pinnacle of Sight' or Eye of the Gods' or something else that sounds suitably dramatic."
The struggle up the hill, cleverly hides the view from many would-be hikers I think. It is a pain in the thighs to get up this butte, let me tell you. There is a fire-lookout there. I heard that the forest service rents the top of the butte from the landowner, so we are technically trespassing until we get up to the top...hmm...not so good for a Virgo like me who wants to follow the rules, but alas...rules don't seem to apply to a chance to see a view of the Three Sisters and Broken Top like this:

The top of the Butte has a sloping kind of "high desert meadow" which I wanted to roll in, but that would've been very poky and I'd've gotten plenty bruised, so I didn't. It has tall golden grasses among the sages, ponderosa pines and junipers. I loved how the sky had a snowy look (it was cold enough that day, believe me!), but the sun was peeking through, as if through vellum. It was gorgeous and ethereal.
There seemed to be plenty of "still-lifes" up there. And here is what I caught - Junipers and their berries are always photo subjects for me. A Juniper has long held the associations to a Sanctuary, a place of protection, a safe spot...this rings true for me, as I've never known "home" without them. They are sticky, silvery, fragrant, musky, many textured, and extremely individual. I see the tall Ponderosa, and I have to say I'd be hard pressed to pick one out from another, but Junipers always seem to grow so differently than even the one sprouted up next to them...they come young and vibrant, knarled and silvered, bent, broken, mossy, peeling, twisted...they are very important to me, and will always be a symbol of HOME, of a Pioneer Spirit, of Individuality.
I also saw this pretty little still-life and couldn't resist the picture. It came out so clear, and I never even had to crop it! That is not frost on those red leaves, that is a fuzzy underside that was curled. This is a little ground-growing plant, that I don't know the name of, but I'll consult my flora ident. books and let you know. I was drawn to the pretty arrangement of the pinecone, the silvery-twisted juniper branch, and these pretty little plants...they seemed to be quietly conversing over something, until I so rudely snapped their pictures.

Something that my mom did with me and my brother, and I love to do with my kids is a "Rainbow Walk" (after having studied Chakras, I also call them a Chakra Walk - see "sacred centers" at the right under my links). This is where the kids and I frantically look for, and photograph something from each of the rainbow colors. We found all of them on the top of Heinkle Butte:
We have a red leaf, an orange pine pollen cluster, yellow lichen, green moss, a blue juniper berry, an indigo colored rock, and a purple juniper berry (thank heavens that juniper berries come in all shades of cool colors - I've even seen some with a rasperry red blush on them)

This still-life so struck me as I turned around, I had to giggle, and it just about put a lump in my throat. I said, "Kids, honey, look! They's is fwends!" To which my son and daughter said, "Awww...they are!" Look how protective the short little juniper looks over his friend the rock. It was much more striking in black and white, so here you are:

Just as I found when I was exploring the Gnome Caves a few posts back, I found another tree a the top of the butte that had folded down it's arms like an umbrella, and now I was intrigued. I want to know why Junipers do this, and if they die soon afterwards, and if it happens all at once, or if it is because of wind...Very intriguing that I can find these "natural knots" on these kinds of trees. They create such a wonder and a magical spot when they do this.
Some of these had faces in them, and I couldn't resist smiling at all of them. It really is such a strange little phenomenon

The last thing I'll leave you with, was as we were going back over the side of the Butte to leave, I saw this, what I thought of as a bleached white skeleton of a summer wildflower...which it really was. I know this flower in the summer, but not it's name...another one to look up in my identification book. But, it was so striking against the black cinders, I knew I needed a remembrance of it as well. There is beauty in the dried up, and the knarled. I see exquisite fineness in the curled up, krinkled leaves, and faded colors, the brittleness and the starkness. I find much of it on my walks in the high desert, so perhaps my eye has accustomed to see their beauty. Whatever it is, it brings me some kind of new awareness of how there can be beauty, even in death and decay. That if it didn't go, there wouldn't be room for the new, and the things that want to poke up through the wet spring earth, there wouldn't be perfect ledges on which a new bird family could live, or little rabbits to find homes in the fallen over bodies of Junipers.
once there was greenness, life, shouts
the days were in which there was the struggle to catch the light, the seldom rain
the days of wind in the strong supple arms
the pleasure of a bee in thenectar, picking its way down the throat for sustenance
a kind of wisdom came when my leaves began to curl, to knarl and furl
days began to bleach and softly emerged the fragile skeleton of what once was
a new beauty, a bringer of wisdom now
a wind shakes out the seeds of knowledge
to be carried by birds to the far side of the canyon
creating the shout, the green, the life, once more but farther away
-Katie E.

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