Arches ~ Temptation of the Exotic

Utah - Arches and Canyonlands-1

She sits there quietly with the glow of the morning sun reflecting everything a beautiful day should contain. I pace around in search for the perfect angle to enjoy her, and as I look on with eyes filled with desire I set my camera and capture my first sunrise at Arches.

A thought enters my mind…have I just fallen in love?

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Stretching out, I close my eyes and sigh.  Relaxing under her arch, comfortable with the idea I am experiencing something amazingly new; I consider the gnawing question of “why am I here?”

This thought wriggles around a bit in the back of my mind, but fades as the warmth of the sun and the soft whispers and laughter of the wind allows me to drift off to dream.

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Somewhere up north nestled in the Olympic National Forest lies Ellinor, waiting for me and whose love I’ve professed many times. I’ve grown up with her.  Shared many summers and winters wrestling with her, the magnificence of her peaks as well as her wicked sense of humor.

Well, her wicked sense of humor will be something I will have to be wary of from this point forward, as news will eventually leak of this tremendous one-night stand I’ve had here in Arches.

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Looking down on me now are the eyes of Mother Nature taking stock of her beautiful daughters scattered throughout this land, and the foolish men who try to take them as their own.

Admittedly, I wonder if Mother Nature is planning her revenge, annoyed at me stealthily working my way into another of her daughter’s dreams.

Then again love is never meant to be easy.

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While there is something special returning from a journey or simply escaping life to find Ellinor waiting for me arms open, there is also something special in diving into something new, a sense of freedom speckled with risk and danger.

Mother Nature knows this fact well, within hearts is a desire to pursue. Bravery to chase an undefined destiny and embrace a new challenge. She has admired such and with this thought I beg for her understanding.

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Instead of racing up to embrace Ellinor and run my fingers over her once again, I stole out of Seattle and roared down south listening to the inviting whispers of Arches, one of Ellinor’s magnificent cousins.

Leaving behind my steady girl in search for another I am guessing has annoyed Mother Nature, but I figure this is something she has faced since the beginning of time. People running roughshod over her, with appreciation for her beauty and little else.

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The thrill of the pursuit never gets old, and Arches has shown me the risk I take is well worthwhile.

With the evening fading, I rise up and rest against a boulder glancing at her boldness once again, where the glow of her skin shifting from the soft light of the morning sun to darkness as starlight now basks upon her; the night air tangling up around her, taking her to bed for the night.

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As with Ellinor, the awe and excitement of Arches is naturally breathtaking, with added electricity generated by the unusual and striking differences between the two.

Her feel is different.  Her smell.  Her sounds.

She ignites freshness from the very core of my soul, lighting a fire of new ideas and dreams.  One taste, and it is impossible not to reach for the unknown and hold her forever.

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Strangely, the exotic and unknown is something people often fear and avoid. A veil of fear hiding the joys of what life can offer. A veil for sleepwalking through life, afraid of what is different.

Instead, look at the exotic as a gift. The lure of the mysterious is a catalyst for discovery, where new ideas, growth and innovation begins.

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As I lay on the ground staring up into the peaceful sky, Arches brings out this curiosity and the lure of possibilities. What is out there?

I hear her words floating around, softly within my dreams and as whispers within the wind. Sweetly telling me to ignore the drone of modern life and wrap myself up into her inviting arms.

Traveling from the temperate rain forest of Ellinor, where new shades of green highlight every visit, to the extreme of the high-desert of Arches, where stunning shades of color seize the senses.

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Last night, under a midnight-black sky a perfect song flicked on the radio, the words of Ellinor lighting up the road ahead:

“Go on and close your eyes, go on imagine me there.  She’s got similar features with longer hair, and if that’s what it takes to get you through ~ Go on and close your eyes, it shouldn’t bother you…”

–  Melissa Etheridge, “Similar Features 

Her words a bit harsh, but I had to find her so I closed my eyes and hit the gas.  If all turned out the way I dreamt it to be, my reward would be witnessing the arching of her back in delight as she accepted me as one who was worthy.

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Arches brings to me the diverse look of Mother Earth, one to be embraced: an attraction from deep in the heart, full of uncertainty. Something new, similar to the excitement found around the world: a new culture, a different shade of skin or an intriguing philosophy of life.

Nothing can break the strong bonds I hold for Ellinor, she is family and I’ve shared my deepest and greatest secrets with her. However, life is not all a temperate rain forest and Arches has seen to that…

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Extremes exist and instead of lashing out in fear at differences, life is more interesting when embracing the mystery. Ellinor may be upset as I continue my courtship with Arches, but it is while she blushes as new hikers arrive to test her slopes, biting her lip as she feels their exotic touch.

Inspiration is one gift nature gives daily, without thought of creed or race, creating one family respectful and caring for the beauty of Mother Nature and her daughters.

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Arches.  The allure of colors and your perfume floating in the wind are what makes this land great and keeps us coming back for more.

My return to Ellinor will be fueled by the intense feelings we shared this summer.  Your bite of inspiration and temptation towards the exotic heightens the meaning of love.

As I again rest my head on my earthen pillow, I hear Ellinor softly whispering to me again: “Go on and close your eyes, go on imagine me there…”

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282 Comments on “Arches ~ Temptation of the Exotic

  1. Wonderful. you got the shots i was trying for but mid-day shooting was all i could muster at the time…Thanks. Dave

    • Thanks Dave, dawn and evenings worked well for me, threw in one night of shooting for the fun of it. Mid-day sun is pretty harsh there. Cheers ~

  2. Thank you for this great post!
    I hope I will be able to come to Arches National Park once in the future – then an old dream will come true……..

    • I really hope you get the opportunity for a visit – the landscape in Arches is something I had imagined before (via photographs) but seeing and feeling it made it so much more majestic. Wish this dream comes true for you…

  3. merci! xié-xié for this excellent post… nice memories for me, too, as I visited all these several years ago… 🙂

    • Melanie 不用谢 ~ wasn’t Arches and the area incredible to see up close. One of the most incredible places I’ve visited…hope to make it back (or further south) soon. Cheers 🙂

  4. Reblogged this on Life and Random Thinking and commented:
    Superb photos and writing, much more beckoning to me than building outlines. I read this looking at desert rock and outside winter bites a little harder, -3 outside today 🙂

    • Ouch -3, but you are in such a beautiful area of the country…but yes, even the optimist in me must agree that is a little cold. Arches was a bit warmer 🙂 Enjoy your day David and thank you for the smile tonight.

  5. My, oh my! We sure do live in a beautiful world. Totally awesome shots, Randall! Best wishes, UT

    • Nothing quite like the National Parks around the world, and in the States there are so many and each mind-blowing. Thank you UT and wish you the best ~

  6. The rock structures of the Fiery Furnace are unique and if you get to a high point, the view is beautiful. I’ve done the hike twice, both times without a guide. If you don’t want to do a guided tour but explore on your own, you’ll have to get a permit from the visitor center and watch a short and informative video. By not taking the guided tour, you get to see a lot more of the furnace and spend as much time as you like in there. Getting lost in the fiery furnace is definitely possible, but finding your way back/out of the furnace is easy enough.

    • Next time I head back, I do wish to spend time hiking and shooting the Fiery Furnace…from what I have heard and seen I agree with your thoughts – an amazing place. I do like to linger in a place, so like you probably go the route of a non-guided tour…however, my greatest weakness in hiking and camping is getting lost 🙂 Thank you very much for these ideas, awesome!

  7. Really very beautiful pictures. I have visited most of the parks in Utah. They are magnificent, though their beauty is hard to capture or describe. You did really well at both. Bravo.

    • Thank you very much Jane ~ Utah has such an amazing assortments of parks…I am looking forward to see many more. Incredible place to just lose yourself within their unique and powerful beauty. Cheers ~

  8. Pingback: Arches ~ Temptation of the Exotic | Stephen Overton

  9. Pingback: Arches ~ Temptation of the Exotic | Unchain the tree

    • In Arches, no words are needed. Just walk around in awe ~ beautiful peace, silence and awe 🙂

  10. Beautiful photographs reflecting that an innermost part of your heart was touched and perfectly reflected by this special part of nature – or vice versa.

  11. You’ve left me searching for even the smallest piece of exotic within me, Dalo. Sadly, not a bit was found, but I know now what it feels like to crave beauty. Gorgeous. Thank you for taking me somewhere amazing and exotic. The woman in the final picture…reminds me of a beautiful actor. Her name escapes me, either way, so lovely, probably exotic, as well. Giggle. Enjoy your day, Dalo. Wonderful to say hello. Missed you.

    • Sometimes I think the beauty of life is to one day finally see a bit of the exotic in yourself and when you do, you’ve got a whole lot of discovery and glorious days ahead 🙂 Utah amazed me, and I am hoping to make a return trip this summer/fall ~ Bryce Canyon or Zion…exotic and wild I am sure. So great to hear your giggles again Aud ~ simply fantastic.

  12. Pingback: Arches ~ Temptation of the Exotic from Randall Collis | Daily Echo

  13. Dalo, wondered what happened to you! Happy you are back with your incredible photos! My favorites are the sunsets. Yep, you permitted me to feature one on my blog site many months ago. Still the best of the bunch that followed! Yay! 💛 Elizabeth

    • Such great words to read Elizabeth, thank you. Seems to be more travel this year in internet restricted areas, so I bounce in-and-out of the WP realm these days. It is so nice when I return. Wishing you a great spring ahead and many beautiful sunsets to experience.

      • Happy Spring to you, Randall! Look forward to more of your incredible sunsets, and sunrises would be nice too! 💛Elizabeth

  14. Dalo, no matter which of your posts I read, each and every one of them is so very captivating and thought-provoking in their own right. I feel as though you really get to the heart of the place and question you portray every single time. There´s always refreshingly new perspectives, outstanding images, and an intriguing depth to what you create. Almost as if you merge with what you encounter. Such is your artistry, Dalo! Thanks y muchas gracias por la inspiracion always. Take care:)

    • This matches very much with what you say/believe in your ebook about travel ~ wrap your senses around all aspects of the place you are in, absorb it all and accept the new ‘culture’ it offers. There are always specks of happiness to be found, to take root and then bloom into something surreal 🙂 Cheers, Marie Elena, wishing you many more inspirational travels of your own and a happy 2020! Take care ~

      • Dalo, so true! And I love your words here “There is always specks of happiness to be found, to take root and then bloom into something surreal” – Such a beautiful message!! Hope you made it back to Czech effortlessly – just watched a video on Taoism and the concept of the (effortless) flow state before, made me think of you! Happy 2020 with many beautiful surprises and flow-states for you:) xxx

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