Edge of the Wilderness

“Standing on the precipice of a wilderness unknown. Alone. Resistance, both past and present, pushes from all sides.” I stare at the words written and wonder what it would feel like to walk along a razor’s edge, day-after-day, your existence always in the balance.

My room fills with the warm yellow hues of the evening sun inviting me for a walk, but I am paralyzed. Mystified by this invisible force of power used to manipulate people. Used without empathy. Used without acceptance of responsibility.

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From the American Indians pushed around in the 19th century, to the American People pushed around outside the White House just a few months ago in the 21st century ~ use of force, power without responsibility.

I’ve come to realize while this is a beautiful world, rich in love and life, it is a beauty balanced by hardship for those not in power.

There’s a sentence written by a Tuscarora tribe leader on my desk, describing leadership: man has responsibility, not power

“You’re drifting once again in thought…” her voice breaks my trance. “Always reflecting, dreaming of the past.” Her voice is one I’ve not heard in a while and silently she takes form ~ she looks peaceful with a touch of sadness. 

I try to hid my elation in her return. “Dreaming of the American West, the 19th century. I wish I could travel back in time and experience the freedom to explore. To gain perspective on life back then…” I whisper this thought to myself.  

“Freedom for one often means the opposite for another.” She slowly slides up to my desk. “Do not dream of returning to old ways. Yesterday has long drifted down the river and it’s not coming back…”  

Her laughter is not harsh, but warming, “Seriously, you living in the 19th Century? You’re definitely a helpless romantic!” She picks up my coffee mug and takes a sip, enjoying the bitter blackness. “The first morning without your gourmet coffee, iPhone and comforts of home…” Her twinkling eyes reflect my simple mind.

Can’t help but smile at the truth of her words, the rage this year has me living in the past. I feel as if I’m trapped, running in quicksand trying to reconcile the heartbreaks of yesterday with those of today. The harder I run, the further away I am to answers. Only cruel politics headline the day and I remain stuck in reverse. 

“There is an old Lumbee Indian saying,” she taps gently on the side of her horse, and I watch it gracefully work its way through my living room. “Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.”  

“Doesn’t seem to be much wisdom these days,” I begin, before she cuts me off.

“Tell me the wisdom of a 19th century, western educated white man? Believing he has all the answers, superior to all other life and therefore open to exploit the resources available.” Her eyes, while gentle, show implication. “American Indians believed the opposite, nature and animals offering wisdom necessary for a better life.

Her eyes hold mine, filled with a genuine and deep curiosity. “Such extreme and opposite views of life. Is either correct?”

Immediately my mind swims in the melodic lyrics of Stephen Stills, and I sing, “…and nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong…”

The correct path and most difficult path is to listen, learn from others, and adapt. Of course, humans do what comes easiest ~ blame others and hide their cowardice through force.

How different would a 19th century version of myself be? A troubling question, for we are all products of our environment, the differences being the culture we were raised and shade of our skin.

A white man raised in the 1800s, without any understanding of American Indians and the west, would be at the mercy of a few biased news sources…

“Humans have the ability to take from one crystalized moment of awe, say a prairie full of buffalo, and walk away with two very different and contradictory actions. Where one sees synergy and respect, the other sees dominance and manipulation…” Her honesty speaks of today.

Walking to my window overlooking Elliott Bay, I listen to her conclusion, “…the real horror of this, both sides have absolute belief in their view and will stop at nothing to force their beliefs on others.”

I turn from the window and she turns her back on me and I watch her fade away. I flick on the TV. Words of hate coming from the mouth of an American leader. 

How far have we regressed since I was a kid… or have I simply moved from the naïveté of my youth to an older, jaded perspective? 

Wisdom will lead us from the chaos we are in. Courage to search for answers from all sides, with honesty the mode of communication. This is where we find true leadership. Where we find peace.

“Never forget, cowards cannot help but lie…” a piece of wisdom from the past we’ve forgotten. Leadership today is in turmoil, described succinctly in the words of the Omaha tribe, “A coward speaks with his eyes shut and from a distance. Unlike a brave man, who dies but once, a coward dies many times.” 

Six bankruptcies, pages of dishonesty, and still he flails along… and further we go down this river of deceit.

On this cool October night, I am happy my muse has returned. There is comfort in her questions and her wisdom.

“Look around,” she asks, “those voices of change you hear… where are they coming from?” I look and see her as a young child, being forced to leave a place she calls home. Walking with elders, confused. 

“These are the voices of the young and old. Voices rising above the din of lies seeking a better future…” Her smile grows as she promises, “these are the courageous ones, and no brave person will ever die alone.”

She turns, her face etched with hope. “The time for leadership is now, and it starts with you. A Crow shaman once said: you already possess everything necessary to become great.”

She runs her hand through my hair and rides away, her last piece of wisdom spoken in cadence with the canter. “The mark we leave on life is one to last forever; a testament to what we value in life and how we will be known and understood by future generations…”

Have the courage to admit faults. To understand someone with a different culture and point of view, it builds character, builds an alliance. It builds a nation.

Our present does not equal our future. We evolve.  


183 Comments on “Edge of the Wilderness

    • Thank you, Miriam, I am happy that you found something powerful with this read. With these extreme times it felt good to write about underlying issues that seem to be endlessly ignored.

  1. Just so love your words Randall. Beautiful and amazing photos especially in black and white. Welcome back. I’ve missed your posts.

    • Thank you very much, Arlene. It feels good to be back and writing again, and with November ahead not a better time to share the words along with the photos. I agree with you, there are moments when a B&W photo add something special. Wishing you well ~

    • 🙂 You know your words mean a lot, thank you. I found the perspective I took writing continued to enlighten throughout the whole post, so difficult to put down but also so necessary. Thank you again, and hope all is well. Take care ~

      • Sidebar, allow me to share a personal story rekindled by your post. Well over 25 years ago we were on a road trip through the U.S. Southwest. (myself, husband and our 3 children). Our road trips have always revolve around unspoken rules – divide vacation time in half, if 2 weeks, 7 days out, 7 days back along a different route. No freeways or major highways, no fast food, no set destination, stop as often as we like, embrace roadside attractions however lame and engage locals along the way. A philosophy that’s shaped our now adult children into remarkable individuals. I digress.
        One of our journeys found us on a deserted secondary road somewhere in the Navajo reservation. We hadn’t passed another car or seen a soul for over half an hour when a spectacular thunderstorm formed. We pulled off the road to watch its approach. Intent on nature’s fury, we didn’t see him walk up behind until he spoke. There stood an elderly Navajo man who told us why Mother Earth had sent the storm. Explained with what I can only describe as stoic longing, why she cleansed the Earth. It was equal parts uplifting and enormously depressing in terms of civilization lost. My husband and I were profoundly touched, both of us had tears streaming down our faces.
        “Why are you crying?” our daughter asked. “Who was that man?” she said. We turned around, he was gone. It was surreal! We drove up and down that road for an hour, looking for him, desperate to tell him how much his words meant. No luck, he’d vanished in the wind.
        It wasn’t a shared hallucination, the kids saw him too. That experience changed my life and I’m forever grateful.

      • This is a great story, and you reveal one of the keys of travel for me, something that will always highlight a trip and create an opportunity for something incredible “…and engage locals along the way.” Absolutely the best way to experience a great life out there. Cheers to you and your family, wishing you all well.

      • We’re on the same page. Discovery calls for a leap of faith, willingness to dip toes in uncharted waters and reap the reward. I cherish insights and personal growth born of off the beaten path encounters. Big hug. 🙂

      • Kindred spirits ~ and getting off the beaten path you run into sights that are as spectacular as the more famous sites, and usually a bit more adventurous. 🙂

      • So many people fear the unknown, balk at setting foot outside “all inclusive” vacation packages. We have friends and family who loose sleep over our wanderings. They simply can’t fathom why we stray from well worn paths. From Mexico City to Santiago de Cuba and Paris, I could write volumes of exquisite encounters with remarkable people. That’s why I appreciate your content, it illustrates the gorgeous substance found in unlikely places. In case I haven’t verbalized admiration for all that you do, know how much I admire your poignant perspectives. 🙂

      • Thank you, we are of the same thought, as there is something about pursuing a different perspective ~ no fear of losing my own perspective, and I have the chance might learn something new 🙂 Always enjoy your work/thoughts and it’s a mutual admiration.

  2. I am stunned, Randall, by your powerful, elegant images and truthful words. Please make change come. Vote.

    • It is a bit surreal that November 3rd is so close…and still feels so far away. Positive thoughts and hope will be strong until that moment. Thank you, Jane, and let’s continue to push for change.

  3. Beautiful photos and story… AND it is up to each person… the ones who ride this storm surfing the wave, to keep focus of a beautiful future presence of unity consciousness, self governance and harmonious communities living with nature. Love has won. Now to observe it happening. Much love, Barbara x

    • Thank you, Barbara. There is something quite powerful to see people understand the significance of a political storm rising ~ makes those in power take note and hopefully begin to listen. Hope all is well with you, and take care.

  4. Stunning captures and words of deep wisdom Randall. There is a quote by Duwamish who says, ‘Day and night cannot dwell together’ and yet, we still have to accept it is here. Often when I feel a separation in life, I don’t resist it or fight it, but instead, I sit in the stillness of twilight. The in-between spaces before dawn and before darkness. In this space, I find my balance, wisdom and perspective and my sense of responsibility in life. May we all take the time to pause and do what we need to do.

    • It is amazing that you chose this Duwamish quote, Karen, it is very significant as it is made by Chief Seattle, my adopted home. I had wanted to use this exact quote because Chief Seattle made it during the signing the Treaty of Port Elliott… the namesake of the bay I see when looking out my window in Seattle. This quote is very powerful, acknowledging that day and night are incompatible and cannot share the same sky ~ much like the clash of two cultures.

      I’ve always said my favorite time of day was the feel of dawn, the quietness before the chaos of the day begins ~ and also as a photographer the lighting is perfect. Second favorite time of day is dusk… nothing quite like those moments, which I think everyone enjoys. You are right, this is a time of day to relax, find the important pieces of the day/life and understand what really needs to be done (and forget about the pettiness life seems throw our way). Wishing you a great day, and thank you very much for this comment and quote.

      • That’s so good! I have never used this quote before so it was definitely for you my friend. Keep moving in those beautiful spaces where we will find there is no separation. Take care.🌈

      • A very perfect quote, thank you, and will always look forward to seeing both dawn and dusk for inspiration 🙂 Cheers ~

  5. Alas, it appears that our epitaph will be, The power remains with those who take no responsibility.

    While we all are products of our environment, it is not a forgone conclusion that we will take the path laid out for us. Many of us did not and many paid a very steep price for it. Yet, for those of us who made our own way, despite the obstacles, we can reconcile our conscience with our actions. Those in power do not have to reconcile the deeds they do for they are without a conscience.

    Randall, this speaks to me on so many levels. I grew up near one of the old “Indian Schools.” I saw how those children were being used. It contributed to my young but growing cognitive dissonance as gasoline poured on a campfire.

    Once again my efforts to reblog this remarkable post are thwarted by internal WP gremlins. Randall, thank you once again.

    • Hi Leá, it is a bit depressing to see the endless cycle of those in power who begin their lives as idealists and with a vision yet so quickly become corrupted. The saving grace in is part this multi-media age, where people can react and create greater transparency of those in power, but this is also the largest danger as well as media manipulation can make matters even worse. You say it well, the best we can do is “…reconcile our conscience with our actions.” Wishing you a great evening, and thank you so much for the comment. Take care ~

      • Hi Randall. Unfortunately, that is true. Alas there are those such as are in Washington and elsewhere who never had a conscience. Multi-media is a double-edged sword that many impale themselves upon. It pushes the limits of communication and contributes exponentially to the divisiveness in the world. Take care of yourself and be well.

      • “Multi-media is a double-edged sword that many impale themselves upon…” Very true, and I think leadership that relies on such a method of communication (e.g., the USA’s Twitter-in-Chief) is such a disservice. Thank you again, and take care.

    • This means a lot coming from you, Leá. I can say it was one of the more fulfilling posts for me during the writing process as well. The perspective taken while writing had me thinking throughout, aware of just how difficult things are now and for us all moving forward. Thank you, again. 🙂

      • You should be very proud of this work. While we need to be moving forward, we must acknowledge the mistakes of the past before we repeat them. Thank you. 🙂

      • Yes, learn from the past to give wisdom for the future. Cheers to a happy end of the week for you!

      • What we don’t learn from history, we are doomed to repeat. Have a wonderful week and weekend.

  6. Stunning post sir. Would that those to whom we have given the authority to help us govern ourselves had the wisdom to listen.

    • Thank you very much, John. Wouldn’t it be something to have those who govern from above truly sit down and listen/understand reality from below. At times, it is a bit defeating, as you say, the chance of someone in authority to help having the wisdom and courage to not just listen but make inroads into positive change. The arrogance and hyperbole of leaders now has to change for us to evolve and grow…what do you think the chances of that happening? Cheers, and wish you well.

  7. This is such a wonderful post, full of wisdom – and stunning photography. Two things really struck me – responsibility not power (sadly the person who most needs to read these words never will – and probably wouldn’t understand if he did) and this – “…the real horror of this, both sides have absolute belief in their view and will stop at nothing to force their beliefs on others.”

    • It is funny you mentioned ‘responsibility not power’ because it really comes down to something this simple. A great way to look at and live life. This thought is a thread of wisdom that is found in almost every major philosophy or religion, but as we see throughout the world one of the most difficult (if not impossible) achievement for a person to fully grasp… with one man in particular being absolutely inept to even understand the word responsibility. 🙂 And then, perhaps one of the more scarier thoughts being how two sides who in the end have the same goal, can go at eat other so viciously. There are no winners in such a scenario. Thank you very much, Mary, for taking the time with your thoughts and wishing you the best ~ take care.

  8. This is a super post, Randall. Great photos. I really like the last photo.

    • Thank you, Timothy. The last shot is one which I figured you’d like – fits it perfectly with the mood. Wishing you and yours the best, take care.

      • The last shot is a great mix of tradition and technology. It elevates tradition and shows how we all have common interests. It’s a transcending photo.

      • Absolutely, perfectly stated ~ it is what we do as a species: learn, accept, and evolve.

  9. So much to love about this post Randall. Of course, your message first and foremost – many have expressed the same thoughts but your expressing them within your story is so much more effective. Secondly, we’ve become more attuned to the plight of our native Americans in the recent past but your images and musings make them so much more personal. Gone are the “cowboys and indians” stories where the cowboys are the good guys. Such a tragic history for which we can only feel shame. And finally, as always, your images. They are all wonderful but I especially loved the tired warrior on horseback and your closing image. Magical.

    • It is a great feeling to hear you comment about how the story was an effective way to express my thoughts. It was a strange process taking what was so clear in my head and then trying to translate it into…something 🙂 Thank you very much, Tina. I’d say this was one of the more difficult posts for me because of not just my lack of true knowledge on the subject, but because it inevitable is stepping into a more political arena. The false romance of the American West, which I grew up with, has long passed – although I still find myself picking up an old Louis L’Amour/Larry McMurtry book every now and then. There are biographies of Indian leaders which are fascinating, but of course knowing the ending is heartbreaking. There were moments where another path could have worked… Thank you again, and take care ~

      • I always think there was so much we could have learned from them if cohabitation had been the goal instead of conquest. A sad time in our history, not to be confused of course with the turmoil of today’s world. Here’s hoping for a brighter tomorrow, sooner rather than later.

      • Agree, and hopefully future leadership will have the wisdom to look towards a brighter tomorrow. Wish you a nice finish to the week, Tina.

  10. “Seek wisdom, not knowledge. Knowledge is of the past, wisdom is of the future.” Love this phrase!

    • I do too, a great piece of wisdom within these words. I spend so much time reading of the past and love the stories and lessons learned – but what we do with this knowledge is key. It makes our future. Thank you very much, Edwin, agree fully.

  11. Once again you have touched my heart and my head. This time it was in a more personal way.
    Now, every time you walk upon the Earth remember these words you shared from these
    wise people of the Native born.
    ‘Yesterday has long drifted down the river and it’s not coming back’
    All that remains is what happens now. Let’s make a change!
    absolutely wonderful photos Randall!

    • Your thoughts on this makes my day, Eddie, and I thank you very much for your kind and very thoughtful words. I thought about you while writing this post, trying to make not only sense with the emotions I had writing this but to keep the story on point in such a short space. Absolutely agree, we have gained the knowledge of the past, but that time is not longer here so like you say, it is up to us to make the positive changes now. Together. Cheers to you, and wishing you the best.

  12. It is so nice to see you and your muse back here Randall. This post stirs my heart, emotions, and desires to help make a better world. Too often I preach in my writing, while your beautiful story invites us to join, vote, build alliances, and build character. Thank you and I love the photos. I’m surprised how much I like them in B&W. Plus, I’m fascinated and drawn to the tribal cultures and you’ve captured beauty and grace in these images. 🙏

    • Thank you very much, Brad. It can be such a struggle to get the message which is so clear in the mind when sitting down but then getting it translated to the piece of paper (or computer screen), often times simply impossible. So thankful my muse showed up while putting this post together, although even then a struggle 🙂 Timely, in many ways because Nov. 3rd is so close. There is something too about how B&W images can portray deeper emotions at times, evoke a response color could otherwise disperse. Agree with you on the culture, there is such honesty and embrace of the world throughout their beliefs that it is hard not to be enraptured with their meaning.

      • Thank you again, Brad, and wishing you a fulfilling autumn even amid all that is going on! Cheers ~

  13. I love how your muse brings a different perspective. Something so many people are either unable or unwilling to do. What a beautifully written piece. And the photos are stunning. Now and then I get caught up in the past – the conquering that went on in our country that ultimately led it to where it is today. Then I remember my own personal history, the good and the bad, that has all been a part of getting me to where I am today. We all have choices and make decisions based on the perspective and info we have at the time. And as we know more and are able to see and understand through others’ eyes, to broaden our perspective, the hope is we do better.

    Didn’t realize your home was so close. I envy your view, especially as a former deep-sea mariner who once pulled into Elliot Bay on ship.

    • There is something a bit mysterious about the past which always draws me to it as well, whether reading books about past events or from a memory of the past – and it is easy to get caught up in ‘yesterday’. I think it is a way to learn, broaden our perspective as you say, and with this processing of the past make for a better today and tomorrow. Absolutely think this is a necessary process, and with this post it was interesting for me to look at something from a different view point than my own – and be able to understand that I’ll never really get it, but it is worthwhile to keep on trying 🙂

      How cool it is to hear about you pulling into Elliott Bay before. My place looks out over Pier 70 and I often go cycling or walking via Pier 91 to Smith Cove – great place for breakfast, makes me miss Seattle right now. Even though I am away for so long, but family usually comes up to Seattle to stay so I’m happy about that. Enjoy the rest of the week, and thank you much!

  14. So well highlighted, “man has responsibility, not power”, I wish more people became really aware of this, such a simple and obvious truth! Impressive post, Dalo, the black and white photos give a soothing feeling, unexpected, like magical instances frozen somewhere in time, as if to remind us, to inspire… or simply conjuring up deep memories. Present contemplation blended with past and future whispers and reflections… I especially loved the contrast you created between the first two photos (which I could only see in the WP Reader somehow), but almost as if murmuring, “Look, here!” and then, “Look closer!!” 🙂 Thank you for a delightful and thought-provoking read!

    • Your feeling about the saying “man has responsibility, not power” is the same as mine, it is an obvious truth and if could actually be put into practice this world would be a pretty amazing place. With the way things are now, we are far from it, but I do think there is hope…just may be a long, long time from now. Thank you very much, Nicole, and also think the same about the B&W photos ~ the contrast becomes much more important in such photos, and we wonder more about the deep shades of black contrasting with the rest of the shot.

      I was wondering about the contrast you mentioned between the first two shot – and I figured it out. I used a colored version of my first image as my selected “feature image” wanting to create a contrast of colorful life into a more stark view of B&W. Still so much to learn about blogging 🙂 Wishing you a great finish to the week, Nicole, and stay safe. Cheers ~

  15. A heartfelt and very important photo essay. I have already cast my vote to remove the scourge from the White House.

    • Thank you very much, Liz. There is a bright tomorrow ahead, and agree that a change in leadership is an important step to make it happen 🙂 Take care ~

  16. Truth! Fine post, Randall. Excellent photography, as always.
    I’m hoping to see big changes come November.
    My vote is already in, along with 40 million others, sending DC a message!

    • It feels good to have voted early, like many people I could not send me message to DC fast enough 🙂 I’m with you, big change is needed – leadership people can respect and admire, even if there are disagreements with policies. We need inspiration, and especially in times like this. Thank you, Eliza, for the fine words and hope all is well.

  17. Always so beautiful! The words are meaningful and the pictures makes the story more spectacular!
    Only the best to you, stay healthy and safe!

    • Thank you, Dana. These days throughout the world, I think the cry for better leadership is growing stronger and stronger. Hopefully such change will happen soon. Wishing you well in Romania – here in Czech I think you’ve heard today we are back in lockdown. What a year… :-/ Still enjoying life, though, and I too wish you and your family the best. Take care ~

      • Nobody wants to go back to lockdown, but I’m afraid we’re not far from that …
        Thank you for your thoughts. Take care!

  18. “How far have we regressed since I was a kid… or have I simply moved from the naïveté of my youth to an older, jaded perspective?” The older I get, the more often I think about this. Sometimes I come to the conclusion that history keeps repeating itself and humans never really learn. However, some other times when inspiring people and positivity abound, I like to think that a better future is indeed possible. Too many leaders across the globe operate in deeply divisive ways, but at the grassroots we are all connected, one way or another, with people who are different from us. And it is very dangerous to tear down this social fabric just to satiate those in power.

    • It a strange feeling to realize the great divergence in how I remembered and admired leadership/governments when I was younger, versus something close to repulsion these days. I think there is a bit of both happening these days, part of just a cycle of ‘incompetent corruption’ such as we are seeing now versus other leaders who were inspiring in the past. I do think the global community is rising up in such a manner that may create some good change – as you say, the movements created at the grassroots level. However, I will always be a bit of a skeptic when it comes to political leaders…just the nature of the beast 🙂 Thank you, Bama, for your thoughtful reply and enjoy the day.

  19. An excellent post that reflects the current reality we are in – chaos.. This ““…the real horror of this, both sides have absolute belief in their view and will stop at nothing to force their beliefs on others.” is the big part of the problem we have at the core. Compounded with dishonest and disregard of any rules or ethics are the cause of system failure we are seeing now… sigh..

    The narrative of this post is strong and such a wonderful accompanying it with pictures of native Americans. I am not sure that I get the hint of only first and last pictures are in color. Regardless, the last picture with color is wonderful. With context of the narrative, it brings back to the modern day from the past. To me it also says we can be strong as the man arm in the picture and fight in peaceful way!

    • This current reality really is something, and I agree the biggest part of the problem are two side arguing at opposite extremes unwilling to compromise or even talk of anything that does not match their demands. It is irresponsible and embarrassing ~ and yes, a total disregard for ethics from day one. Disappointing, but hope we are at the bottom of this trough now and soon will be heading up to more normalcy. Good of you to mention the initial color photo, this was a ‘feature image’ item option I saw for the blog and added it – not expecting it to show up in the blog. The goal was to have the post all B&W until the final image where a touch of color and modernity would finish the set 🙂 Very happy you liked it and thank you for the great comment, YC. Take care and keep strong for the fight ahead 🙂

  20. Thank you for your wisdom. Your words calm my frazzled soul. I never expected the end – balancing the realities of a turbulent present with the possibility of a hopeful future.

    • This year is full of soul shaking moments, and I think I have been a bit lucky living overseas so I do not get inundated with the political morass which seems to have defined 2020 as well in the USA. To be able to take a deep breath and believe that much sooner rather than later we will come back to a reality that is more in tune with us all. Thank you very much for your wisdom you share as well 🙂

  21. Stunning images you’ve captured here. Love them. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to attend an event like this… hopefully next year.

    • Thank you, and it will be so nice when we are all able to get out and see everything we’ve been missing. Wish you well.

  22. Dear Dalo, I was so excited to see another post of yours popping up! I never tire of singing, ahem writing, your praises amigo. I would happily swap most of what we can read in mainstream media for your work! What a treat for the eyes, mind, heart, and soul you deliver once again. Deep, meaningful, inspired, and just fantastic food for thought! Love the photos, love the empathy shown for different points of view, and the why of these points of view emerging. Fantastic work! We don´t see the world as it is, but as we are, is another thought that comes to mind for me when reading… It´s so important for all of us to take responsibility for our level of consciousness and for what we send out into the world, in my perception. Now more than ever… Much love amigo

    • Great to hear your voice any time, especially in song 🙂 Thank you very much, Maria Elena. You also pick out one of the finer pieces of wisdom in life, which is we don’t see the world as it is, but as who we are ~ and to some extent what our surrounding are… And why it is so important to bring a nation (or communities) closer so there is a better understanding of people (and the diversity within us all). Very perceptive of you 🙂 And I agree if there is ever a time when it is needed it is now. Thank you again for your beautiful words, mi amiga, and I hope all is going well for you in España ~ abrazos.

      • Thank you, Dalo, that is such a nice thing to hear 🙂 Here´s to more understanding, curiosity, holding space for each other and learning from each other in small and big ways, and on individual and collective levels! Muchos abrazos from Andalusia to you in Czech, have a beautiful autumn weekend mi amigo 🤗

      • The weather is looking good in Czech this weekend, so it is off to a good start ~ more hiking and soaking in the autumn sunshine in the mountains somewhere 🙂 Wishing you the same Andalusia, not a bad place to be, amiga. Muchas abrazos!

      • True, Andalusia is a beautiful place to be based in…for a while haha:) Hope you had a blast, muchos abrazos your way!

  23. ‘Behold this day, for it is yours to make – Black Elk.’ Welcome back and I hope you mailed in your absentee ballot, Randall. I am partial to Native Americans than cowboys for their sacred traditions. It’s amazing how you capture the fellow using a camera rather than holding a bow and arrow. Take care, stay safe. May your muse stay longer.

    • A great quote, perfect for the feeling of this post, Perpetua. Thank you, and agree with your thoughts about the Native American Indians, it is difficult not to be moved by their sacred traditions, even for this ole’ cowboy here, it is something I admire greatly. Cheers to you, and take care!

    • Thank you, Kelly, and good to see you are making the best of this strange year. Take care, and continued safe travels how ever limited they may be.

    • Thank you, Dawn, and yes a very beautiful and peaceful piece of music ~ perfect for a Saturday morning!

  24. Gorgeous photos! The portraits stun me with their clarity. And the text is powerful as we lol struggle to find meaning and wisdom in the chaos of the pandemic and our current leadership. Thank you Dalo.

    • Thank you, John. These photos were all taken just a couple hours east of Hood River in Pendleton ~ but I think you probably knew this already 🙂 And yes, there is a lot of wisdom in their words that do contrast pretty starkly in comparison to the current administration. Hope you are well, and enjoy the coming weekend. Take care.

  25. just speechless, ’cause PERFECTION – both pix and text, as usual… stay healthy and safe! bonne continuation! 🙂

    • Merci beaucoup mon amie, Mélanie! Very happy to hear from you and that all is well. Wishing you a great weekend and a glorious autumn!

  26. Another set of captivating images and compelling prose — thank you for sharing, Randall. We voted the minute ballots were available. After years of relative helplessness, it felt incredible to finally be able to do something about it. Here’s hoping a vast majority agree that it is time for a change. Stay strong!

    • Thank you, Shawn. I miss the days of not only getting out and shooting, seeing new sights – but also of days without having to deal with senseless political pettiness… truly need this to change. Voting is always a good feeling, and a bit more satisfying this time around. This set of photos brings me back to my home town, so in itself enjoyable to review and then to find meaningful words to do them justice. Wishing you and Tricia well, although I think you two are pretty good at figuring out how to work your way through new adventures in life. Cheers and take care!

  27. A beautiful and wise post my friend…
    Yes. Vote. I wish I could. 😉 (But they won’t accept no foreigners’ vote. No Siree)
    I’m still keeping track of POlls and Google trends on the next election… I will probably do one more post on the topic. I get conflicting signals…
    19th century? Ha! I remember a dinner with friends in Paris years ago. Your typical Parisian “Dîner en ville”. I said I would have liked to live in the 19th century. Got minced by a friend who spat on the 19th, it’s positivism, its superiority… I stood my ground, saying that it was still a world with lots of places to explore…
    At any rate, I had a 19th century childhood in Africa, and for that I am grateful…
    Many many thanks for the post. As your women of the West, some of your photos will probably inspire my hand and pencil.

    • Based on the verbose words of Mr. Trump, it seems everyone will use & abuse mail-in ballots, so why not give it a shot 🙂 Yes, its seems for as close as November 3rd seems, it also feels years away…and a lot of uncertainty between now and then. I think people who are romantics at heart want to experience everything, to see/feel how another culture or in another time period appreciate and lived life ~ exciting thoughts to have, and we can draw so much knowledge from the past, and to keep things consistent with my writing, turn it into wisdom for our future 🙂 Your childhood in Africa must have been fully of such lessons and memories you pull from today. And it would be very cool to see what your hand and pencil could create and add to the photos above. Take care, my friend, and keep safe!

      • The heyday of Romanticism was the 19th century. (And led to – at least – one World war…) Some (of us?) thought it was still alive, when greed was tearing at the fabric. Started in the 80’s when MIke Douglas played a banker… 💰 💴 💵
        As for the sketches, we’ll see. Just saved your pictures for reference. And you text for further thought.
        Be well my friend.

  28. Such beautiful words and stunning photographs Randall. I find myself appalled at the madness, in the US yes, but also the governments of Oz and UK. Not quite as lacking in empathy but still focused on greed nonetheless. Then I remember people like Greta and Autumn Pelletier and know they represent the change we need. Also I remember this: “Things are not getting worse, they are being revealed. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil”. I don’t know who wrote it but it brings me comfort. Where were the photos taken? They are exquisite.

    • I like the way you think, and whenever there are issues such as we are experiencing today, there is the feeling just as you mentioned “Things are not getting worse, they are being revealed. We must hold each other tight and continue to pull back the veil…” It is an optimistic feeling, and I too believe it. A slow process but then such evolution into a greater society does take time, and understanding this makes me shake my head at both the left and right who focus way too much on differences that in the long run are a bit irrelevant. Work together, and these political necessities and differences we have will evolve into a solution we are unable to create right now. A bit of Daoist philosophy there 🙂 Thank you very much, Alison. The photos were taken in Pendleton, Oregon at the annual rodeo, Pendleton Round-Up, where the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation (located next to Pendleton) play an important part of the week long event. A treasure of great people, activity, and community – one of those moments in time where life seems perfect 🙂

      • I would love to attend the Pendleton Round-up one day. I can feel the love and strong sense of community from your photos.

      • Pendleton is really a special place ~ I talk about it quite a bit because I’m always dreaming to go back as often as I can 🙂 Great people and the surrounding area is simply beautiful. The history of the town blends in so well with the community today, you’d love it.

  29. Stunning portraits, especially the serene lady who appears on the top of the blog. Such character! I wonder what equipment you use (apart from your own brain !) to produce such lovely pics. Do you shoot in colour, and then make it B&W while printing, or do you shoot original B&Ws in the good old fashion? Someday I will meet you, and ask!
    As an Indian Indian, I can appreciate the wisdom of the American Native Indian! There are some similarities in our history. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, there are several photos of have of this serene lady who does hold a certain grace and hold a regal character ~ which makes the photography process much easier 🙂 I use to shoot color and B&W separately with film, but with digital cameras these days (Canon 5-D MIII and Sony 7r), I shoot only in color ~ the technology today give such great control in processing B&W photos that the added flexibility of having both outweighs any worry I’d have in losing info with the transition from color to B&W. It would be great to meet up someday – how I look forward to a return trip to India (or Myanmar??), or a visit from you 🙂 And yes, I too think the wisdom and thoughts of the American Indians have deep roots with East and South Asia. Take care ~

  30. Oh wow, the photos. So luminous and vibrant. Pure magic. Where were they taken? I live in an area with a large Native American population, but I’ve yet to go to a powwow. Since I was a young girl, I’ve felt a deep affinity with their culture and cosmology. One in which there is “nature and animals offering wisdom necessary for a better life.” Yes, it is all there, but it takes a lot of quieting down (turning away from the cacophony) and being still and alone with it before it begins to truly seep back into the consciousness. What it has to teach is so breathtaking and simple. Like that which you have captured in the dreamcatcher of your mind and shared with us here.

    So wonderful to see another post from you, Randall. Sending you some autumn wilderness serenity from my Mishigami, (“Great Water”).

    • Thank you, Julie. These photos were taken at the Pendleton Round-Up, in my home town in Eastern Oregon. The rodeo is the main event, but for a week+ there is a great series of history and culture opportunities and it is a great thing to be around and a part of. Any culture where nature takes the forefront of consideration is one to listen and learn from. A lot of wisdom to discover and apply to our future as we all (globally) try to mesh together widely differing ideas into something productive. Very much appreciate the nice comment, Julie, and will take all the autumn wilderness serenity from Mishigami as I can 🙂 Take care and continue to enjoy your Great Water land. ~ Cheers.

  31. Randall, what a powerful post you and your Muse have created. I’ve read it several times.It’s brilliant.

    • Thank you very much, Jane. The photos I used were such a perfect match for the thoughts I had, which made putting this post together fun. It was also felt good to think more deeply about both the current environment in the US and reflect upon the past. Wish you well, and hope for the best for us all. Take care.

  32. Incredibly beautiful photographs, Randall… and much wisdom in your words. Politics invades and shapes all our lives, whether we ‘do politcs’ or try to avoid them. But beyond such considerations is personal responsibility and we can all accept that.
    I wonder how much damage was done by translating one word in Genesis as ‘dominion’, rather than any other word that would have implied some measure of service to what humankind was supposed to care for?

    • It is amazing how politics can invade lives ~ for me, the US government has always been there in the background and I may disagree or agree with a decision but it never did affect my normal day-to-day life…until recently. I think many feel the same way, and it is crazy how so much energy is lost dealing with politics :-/ I think you are correct, personal responsibility is where we make the biggest difference, and great leadership allows its people to build up this responsibility and make for a stronger community. Responsibility is the engine for positive growth.

      You also touch on a topic that fascinates me, linguistics, and how difficult it is to relate true meaning via written/spoken communication. The statistician/mathematical modeling part of me can take a set of statistics and create an argument supporting two opposite extremes. And as you say, a simple decision in translation from one word to another can have huge implications. In politics, it seems these days it’s all semantics 🙂 Take care, Sue, and wishing you the very best.

      • It is much the same here. It takes so little for partisanship and division to arise…or be fostered. And when emotive issues appear to outweigh the need to think for ourselves, people can become very strange indeed…

        I have to agree with you on leadership too…and that is how it ought to be. Unfortunately, we are too often nannied and led by the collective nose, it would seem.

        Semantics plays a part in that too. Words in your native language come with all sorts of emotional baggage, both positive and negative, that is lost in translation. There was a case where a spiritual teacher was referred to as ‘the old boy’ in one translation, where ‘the eternal child’ might have conveyed a more accurate impression… and more respect. 🙂

  33. I feel thankful to be far away, in the sense to not being that immerse in the details that I suspect have to be stressing there until the day to vote. I feel thankful for appreciate the beauty of these portraits, being indigenous myself I always wonder what makes us similar and what is different but always marvels to me that aspect of the U.S., so many different points of views, worlds apart almost. I have read what I think is a considerable amount of books from the 19th century, British especially, but also from U.S. authors, I think things were not that different, they seem to fight for similar ideas, history like a cycle, I am sure you would be an artist in that age : )

    • Wonderful to hear from you, Francis, and yes it is a very strange sensation to feel stress during the day regarding politics and governments. The wasted emotions stress brings to a population is so damaging ~ wasted energy and resources of the people. Great leadership would never allow such negative emotions to overwhelm a nation, unless it had aim to rule with force and fear. Very frustrating to witness.

      It is also wonderful to hear you discuss the state of the 19th century world, and your experience in learning of this time period. I do agree with your thought about how things back then were not that different from where we are now. Last month, I finished a fantastic biography on James Garfield, US President in 1881. The political situation at that time resembles what is happening in the US now, and it was very fortunate Garfield was elected, as from all I know about him, he is about as pure of a leader I’ve ever come across. As a person, he is my favorite US President. The world needs people like him, and I am enough of an optimist to think such leaders will eventually rise out of the current muck 🙂

      Also, very much appreciated your comment that I could have been an artist in the age of the 19th century… you have me again dreaming of the past 🙂 I very much look forward to more of your work ~ and I wish you well. I look forward to the day I return to Peru ~ such a magical place and I hope you continue to find inspiration there. Take care.

  34. Your black and white photos make it seem like they were from a long time ago! But the faces of the young are of the people of today, and some of them offer glimmer of a better future for them. At least I hope so.

    • Thank you, Hien ~ one thing that did hit me when I was writing this, was trying to figure out how much people have change over the centuries (if at all). The way I figure it, the young of today are very similar to us when we were young 🙂 Hoping for a bright future and looking for leaders to lead. Cheers to a brighter and happier November…

  35. Randall, my comment is going to be different from the others. Firstly however, your photography is OUTSTANDING! Your “eye” and the way it sees is phenomenal! That, my friend, is your Gift and your Salvation. I know.

    In order for change to happen, all of us have to stop allowing those in leadership positions to control us. I will NOT get pulled into political discussions. I see the corruption everywhere and in so doing, as I have over many years, refuse to get involved in politics of any kind. Change starts with us. First ourselves we have to come back to our natural state of being, that of LOVE, before we can then can effect others around us. Leadership from ALL walks of life is corrupt. It is just not at the top, or in Washington or whatever. It is rampant all over. Bottom line is money, greed, power. Pride in a job well done and quality of a job well done are no longer even taught to those out in the field. Priorities of all kinds are skewed and need to be properly addressed so that priorities are put right again.

    Now here is the HOPE for ALL of us.

    1. We have been having work done at our home that requires outside assistance …. contractors. My husband met an electrician yesterday that impressed him tremendously by how perfectly his work was done. In conversation, he was told the owner wants to make a difference and so he started his own business focusing on sending his employees to journeymen school and to college, instilling in them to do quality work. His business is run ONLY on word of mouth and it has begun to get busy. This man is investing a lot of time and money in people to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Both hubby and I attest to how this electrician and assistant did a stellar job! NO politics here ….. this is human empowerment! Most companies just want to get the job done without consideration of quality.

    2. The workers who showed up to connect a new generator to our house, brought substandard supplies and if they had been on their own, would have done a horrible job, one just to get the job done. My husband who was a machine repair journeyman at Ford, stepped in, demanded quality supplies and told them either you get the right supplies or get off my property. Those supplies were gotten. Those workers did NOT know the difference about these supplies for that is what the owner listed for the job, listing supplies that were not quality supplies. The owner’s brother even came out to argue with my husband but my husband stood his ground and to this man’s astonishment, my husband was right. The supplier falsified what he was selling to this company. My husband supervised that job, telling those workers how he wanted things done. By the time that job was finished, my husband told me that the workers who never cracked a smile, when finished, looked as though their faces has lit up for Christmas. They never knew what a quality job looked like and when they realized they are capable of doing so, they were amazed and proud of themselves. MY HUSBAND took a stand and made a difference!

    That is what we all must do. Corruption has filtered into every single area of life and if we want things to change for the better, it is up to “We, the people.” I decided long ago I will NOT give my power over to anyone and that includes Washington. I live in a state that has been systematically destroyed by a governor, yet I am choosing to live my life in LOVE and focus on those things that bring me great joy. I’m also speaking TRUTH wherever I go that it us up to us to change …. not our leaders. Living my life in the manner I do, that in of itself is an example of how we CAN bring change for the better.

    • Thank you, Amy, for your thoughtful reply. You are correct in your vision of hope, everyone wants in the end to do a good job ~ and this is where working together becomes so important. When someone understands what it takes to complete a job correctly, they take pride in their work and themselves and this success spreads. It is a gift everyone can give with their expertise in certain areas, help and create positive change. No anger, no power-play, just an understanding if something needs to be done – making sure it is done correctly is the perfect reply. Living is such a manner is an honorable way to approach life; a life with integrity. Wishing you a continued wonderful autumn. Take care ~

      • “No anger, no power-play, just an understanding if something needs to be done – making sure it is done correctly is the perfect reply.”
        Exactly! Thank you!

  36. Such an amazing powerful post. Thank you Randall for bringing the past into the present, with captures from today that reflect the sad and tumultuous history,
    May we all rise in a new era of understanding, community, appreciation and love 💕

    • Bringing the past into the present, it is very important to do this at times so we can move more boldly into the future 🙂 Thank you very much for your nice comment, Val. Wishing you a great month ahead.

      • Thank you Randall … I am filled with hope that the world will find its way once more 💕

    • Very good to be back writing ~ posting again. Wishing you a great November ahead with new adventures. Take care.

  37. Your words are often so deep that they are not to be lightly skimmed through. Your muse is wise as are the words of our true natives. I am keeping the faith that there will be a pendulum swing. I suspect that those of us who may have become just a bit too comfortable will find the strength to make it happen.

    The photograph of the photographer made me smile. It helps to know there is still much left to smile at. Seems there’s a message in there somewhere, though I’m still grappling with unwrapping it.

    Thanks for this. You do help to lift the spirits even in some of our darker days.

    • I’m always interested to see another photographer, both to see what equipment they have and also to see what/how they are shooting ~ and in this case, he was an expert knowing the culture and becoming a part of the scene. Learned a lot, which is always good. Thank you for the nice words, Gunta, and yes I think one thing about human nature is we do find strength to do the right thing when things go awry. Wish you a good day!

    • Thank you very much, Julie. I’ve missed you too, and so good to hear from you and also to know you are enjoying your spring ~ as we are enjoying our autumn up here 🙂 Wishing you and your family well, and take care.

  38. Another profound piece Randall, your thoughts weave wisdom, as those whispers speak to your heart along with my own.
    And yes the most difficult path is to Listen, and learn from others, detaching observing, waiting patiently .. While seeing ALL unfold.. Even though you have days you want to scream from the Mountain tops, when you really begin to See the patterns we have all been held under for generations.
    And yes, our hearts bleed as we understand that Knife edge we have always walked, has been so unjust. And yet who are we to Judge? When we too have most certainly often been the ones in the past who have caused the pain, who have projected the very situation into being. As we manifest our lives through greed and want. And where as you said

    “Humans have the ability to take from one crystalized moment of awe, say a prairie full of buffalo, and walk away with two very different and contradictory actions. Where one sees synergy and respect, the other sees dominance and manipulation…” 

    Both sides as I see them in this race to a white lodge is not without sin. One must follow one’s own heart as to which is the lesser of two evils..
    History has already been made… History is about to be made..
    And we all of us decided we would be witness to this period of time..
    May we all of us now need to step out of our fear and for the first time in my own history I have taken an interest in the USA own particular political storm.. Because the outcomes are crucial to the rest of the world including where I live in the UK..
    The media manipulation and censorship right now is unprecedented..

    And one can only sympathise with those Indigenous Tribes who if we look back into their ‘Real’ History, were oppressed, abused and slaughtered, in one of the greatest yet less talked about genocides in history. Whom were then separated, controlled, infected with disease, indoctrinated and their spirits broken. As their homelands and hunting land were taken over as they were herded and corralled across a valley of tears. To be permitted to live in reservations with little means at their disposal..

    Is it any wonder History repeats, as our collective Karma unravels as we separate ourselves from our deep shadow past..

    A beautiful in-depth piece of writing Randall.. One that will stay with me for a long while to come.. As will those beautiful images you have shared… Just perfect..
    Many thanks and Stay Blessed 🙏💚

    • Thank you so much, Sue, for your thoughtful reply. Agree, the most difficult path is to listen, and then you mention something perhaps even more important and that is to be patient 🙂 Very difficult, especially these days were everything is expected to happen so quickly. This leads to so much disinformation and manipulation within the media (be it right or left). Governments around the world are experts at using this as a tool to force focus away from them and onto others ~ so they can continue pillaging the people they should be serving. But ‘We the People’ are learning, evolving, so perhaps some day 🙂 🙂 🙂
      Take care, Sue. Wish you a wonderful November ahead, and thank you again for your nice words.

      • We have to remember we are in a consciousness war…. right now… And Wars are not over in a matter of Months.. This war has been on going for thousands of years… 😉 And those who hold the dark keys are not going to open the jail doors to release the prisoners to the Light of Day… But there are those who are working diligently despite all odds…. Who the silent majority will use their common sense in knowing right from wrong… Given the choices to choose from… The media is one of their last stands… And our Gov’ is no different in manipulation and deceit … But the people are waking up… This is a hard wake up call, but I think if it hadn’t been, people wouldn’t wake up…
        Sending well wishes your way Randall, stay Blessed 🙂

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