Art in the natural world

A random design in the Crosscut Canal reservoir.
A random design in the Crosscut Canal reservoir.

How many times have I hiked a trail and stopped at something beautiful that caught my eye?  Many times. Problem is I don’t always stop long enough to study it.  Something is there.  But what exactly?  Impatient, I move on.

But not always.

Several weeks ago I hiked down to a reservoir at the end of the Crosscut Canal here in Phoenix.  Looking across the water I found a snowy egret.  After photographing it, I happened to see an oil slick.  It was practically under my feet.  And it was interesting.  So I snapped a shot of it.

This was not the most beautiful oil slick I’ve ever shot but nice anyway.  It almost looks like the head and neck of the egret I just shot.

My most beautiful oil-slick shot lurks in a dark corner of my photo catalogs.   I’ll have to dredge it out someday.  I shot it at Pearl Harbor.

Although the U.S.S. Arizona has layed beneath the bay’s surface for almost 72 years, it emits oil that rises to the surface of Pearl.  It was god-awful beautiful.

Cropped from a photo of an ocotillo along the Geronimo Trail.
Cropped from a photo of an ocotillo along the Geronimo Trail.

You might argue the oil slick is not a work of nature.  But I would disagree.  True, the oil is man-made and so is the sunken ship.  You might even say the artists are the Japanese bombs who sank the ship.  But the real artists are the bay’s tides.  They give the slick its unique  design and separate its rainbow colors to near perfection.

The sharpness of ocotillo thorns, the beauty of its veins and the colors on a fallen palo verde branch have all caught my attention lately.

You just have to slow down to see these subtle beauties. Trust your eye.   Not an easy thing for the modern hiker to do.

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