Death Valley

Don’t skip a visit to Death Valley National Park.  It’s not a desert wasteland, and it’s not boring or unimportant.  The thing is, when you strip away all the conventional notions of what is beautiful, like trees for example, or flowers or other plant and wildlife, you are left with the backbone of the Earth.  Rock. Dirt. Salt. Air. Light.   It’s like stripping away a person’s hair, clothes, shape, and belongings, and just looking at their raw material:  intention, purpose, and perspective.  It’s like looking at their soul.  That’s what Death Valley shows you, the soul of the Earth.  No fluff, no showing off, no fancy ponderings of “look what I can do.”  It’s the raw material.  The great forces that shape our world are exposed.  Rock has been uplifted, torn apart, and stretched down the middle.  The exposed crust is baked and cracked in the relentless and unforgiving gaze of the sun.  Every drop of water is threatened by the salt that lies just beneath the surface.  But despite all of this, the valley is peaceful. It simply exists.   The intensity of the light, the framing of the bare mountains, the shading of the colors all make you want to somehow capture it forever, and take it home to remind you what the Earth is capable of, what it started with.  The soul knows itself, and it beckons you to stop by and take a look.

DSC_0037Death Valley National Park, 2012 – Our Thinker

2 thoughts on “Death Valley”

  1. I have a childhood memory of our family visiting Death Valley in the 1950’s. My father had this “cowboy want to be” feeling which he passed on to me.He had us rent horses at Furnace Creek and I remember the wind blowing and the irritating dust in my eyes which gave a dusting of reality to the cowboy way.Although challenging, exploring Death Valley on horseback allowed us a view similar to those early explorers and prospectors. The tour of Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley was a return to the romantic notion of “the old west” where an old codger could go off into the wilderness with his burrow and strike it rich. Perhaps in retirement we will return to Death Valley.


  2. Thank you for sharing Jim. What a wonderful experience with your family and so great to hear that you’ve kept the memory with you since childhood. We also toured Scotty’s Castle while there. The kids loved hearing the crazy stories about Scotty and his friend Albert Johnson.


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