Cumulus petticoats

IMG_1950

by cheri block

We navigated through some fierce weather last month on our way to and from New Mexico, weather that pounded my car and electrified the skies as the gathering storms built upon themselves by the minute, turning frothy grey cumulus clouds into ominous layers, like a silvery ruffled petticoat that only spelled trouble for the eager eye or wayward hand.

Perhaps a simple sandwich-board sign set in the fast lane of Highway 40, a major U.S. interstate artery, said it all: Do not stop in the lane.

Oh boy.

Monument Valley New Mexico

Monument Valley New Mexico

I tried at least 50 times to photograph lightning, but I was always either clicking a second late or snapping when Zeus’s bolts were quivered.

Monsoon season in the Southwest delivers afternoon unsettled air, usually after a lovely sunny day. You are fooled into wearing sandals, sleeveless dresses, and frilly little summer sweaters. An umbrella? What?

The sun leaves, going home to keep dry.

IMG_3830

The clouds show up, in large billowy formations, often tinted in pink, lavender, and orange.

Your skin looks lovely in the shadow of these colors and all blemishes seem to fade.

Then, the colors slate, ebony, silver move into the  atmosphere quite stealthily, like sharks waving into a stable sea.

IMG_2090

A few drops on your book, on your plate, on your front window cause you finally, to break your desert reverie and look up.

IMG_3869

A thunder-clap as loud as a canon blast roils across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, reverberating across the valley and back in a boomerang of deafening and ghoulish carillon, certain to antagonize the belfry of Loretto Chapel.

Loretto Chapel and the Moon, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Loretto Chapel and the Moon, Santa Fe, New Mexico

And then the air thins, the dessicated desert recalls its minions to once again, take control of the land that is New Mexico.

Monument Valley New Mexico

Monument Valley New Mexico

Advertisements

About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in My photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Cumulus petticoats

  1. No place like it—-rain or shine!

  2. Brighid says:

    Beautiful in it’s own right.

  3. Christopher says:

    The charged and evocative prose in this posting does full justice to the beautiful photos.

    I did scratch my head, though, at this: “…..A thunder-clap as loud as a canon blast roils across the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, reverberating across the valley and back in a boomerang of deafening and ghoulish carillon, certain to antagonize the belfry of Loretto Chapel…..”

    A carillon being a set of bells, can a thunderclap, whether or not as loud as a canon blast, really sound like a set of bells? And, a belfry being the part of a tower where bells are hung, can it (a belfry) really be antagonised by a thunderclap?

    My question, though, probably says more about my rather prosaic and tiresomely literal mind, than it does about this most striking paragraph!!

    • Cheri says:

      I think your question is relevant and I am appreciative to have readers just like you who actually think about the images I am trying to create. The weather was so dramatic at times, that to me, it sounded like bells gone haywire. I thought maybe the reference to a belfry being irritated was in reference to a greater set of Nature’s clanging bells—the thunder.
      I’m not sure the image works but I had fun trying to capture the sound. Not easy, as you know.
      Thanks so much for your thoughts and input.

  4. Richard says:

    I tremble at Nature’s vengeance as you lead us through these awful dangers in magnificent words and pictures, sheltering us under your petticoats. I give thanks in the calm after the storms, but will there be another, yet worse?

    A picture says a thousand words. A word paints a thousand pictures.

  5. Don says:

    Places like this are stunning. The images overdone in old Westerns notwithstanding, I wonder at the wonder that beheld them from 1840s wagon trains, when people had seen no pictures and were so thirsty and road-weary they surely thought they’d passed into another world.

  6. Cheri says:

    Yes. I, too, have wondered what folks thought when they accidentally rode into, say, the scenery of Zion or how about seeing the Columbia River for the first time?

  7. bogard says:

    Wow, spectacular shots, Cheri. Truly majestic. A Plein Aire artist’s dream as well. Brings back memories of my ’91 trip through the Southwest. Thanks. (Tough to get lightning without a long exposure and a tripod).

    • Cheri says:

      Thanks bogard. Are you painting?
      So you took your Southwest trip in ’91. I don’t imagine much has changed with those red rocks, arches, layers, and strata in 20 years. The big change is PEOPLE. Too many here in the west.
      I imagine you have some pretty amazing photography of that trip.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s