Reflections – more than a mirror image

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Small Boat Harbor detail – Valdez

There are a number of ways to digitally create reflections and mirror images, but I still seek them out as they are naturally unfolding.  Often their perfect symmetry is unpredictably interrupted by something as simple as a jumping fish or wind-blown-ripple. This alteration of the reflection adds drama and esthetic nuance to my images.

Before I begin posting my weekly two images and commentary from Northern California, I am sharing with you final reflections from Alaska.  Reflection images require, of course, a body of water, even if a mere puddle.  Most of my 70 days of wandering was near, on or over water.  Water is the life blood of our EarthMother and that seemed so evident along the coastline of south-central Alaska and in the rushing glacial run-offs that feed the rivers of the interior.

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Tuft Puffin

It often astounds and frustrates me that patriarchal religions tell us we are courting heresy when we find the ultimate sacred presence embodied in the earth.  Yet a greater respect and honor of the earth leads to nothing short of preserving, protecting and safe guarding the sustainability of the earth.

The reflections of her beauty I found in the Alaskan waters provided my daily meditations.  I was twice seeing living reminders of both the strength and fragility of the web of life. As are the reflections of our actions, the reflections in nature were sometimes images as clear as the sources and sometimes swirled and rippled into abstractions.

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Mountains surrounding Valdez reflected in marsh waters.


The Lu-lu Belle (boat to Columbia Glacier), Black Bears, Kittiwakes, Pink Salmon, fog-shrouded mountains, waterfalls and rain were the highlights of Valdez which is located in South-Central Alaska on the northeast tip of Prince William Sound.  The population is just 4,350.  On the road system, it is 305 road miles east of Anchorage, and 364 road miles south of Fairbanks.  I found my way there at the beginning and ending days of my journey.  I don’t have one all-time favorite Alaskan location, but Valdez is close to it.

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Sow and Cub look for clams in Cook Inlet low tide waters

The city was founded just prior to the turn of the 20th century as a gateway to the All-American Route to interior gold and copper fields. The most notable historical events include the 1964 earthquake, being chosen as the terminus of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline and the 1989 Exxon Valdez Oil Spill. All these events intertwined with the “water” and reflect our footprint therein.

On my journey I read “Rising Voices – Writings of Young Native Americans.”  The book contains the writings, each a page or two, of over 60 young people who reflect on the feelings, moods and climates of the world of their heritage. Jennifer Yazzie, a Navajo high school student, began her entry with these words: “The wind had a message, the sun had a message, the sky had a message.  All I had to do was listen…our people are thankful for what the earth gave us.”

As I continue to reflect on the images, sounds, and sensational input from my 12,650 miles of driving among the creatures, human creations, and the big sky of the north, I am thankful for what this part of the EarthMother has shared with me.


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