A quiet hour

The sunsets here recently have been fantastic. Colors that impress without filters.

Last night, I decided to go up to South Mountain, a local municipal park with tons of hiking, to see if I could get some photos. (Largest municipal park in the country!)

Climbing Daddy and Rocket Kid went hiking for real on a two-mile loop we’ve done many times.

I hiked to a good enough vantage point. There’s a sweet spot between the peak I’d like to be on and the peak I’m willing to hike back from in the dark.

The weather was perfect for a T-shirt and jeans. The trail was oddly uncrowded relative to the weather, and the few folks that were out disappeared by dusk. 

I had the mountaintop to myself.

It’s a municipal park and the city builds right up to it, surrounding the mountains with buildings and roads. From my perch, I could hear road noise in the distance, so it wasn’t completely quiet, but it wasn’t “stopped at a gas station just off the freeway” noisy.

At one point, I sat in the dirt (check for cactus spines first!) to get a better angle of a plant I was trying to silhouette against the multi-color sky. As I got myself set, a light breeze kicked up. First, I was annoyed that of course as soon as I was set for this shot, there was a breeze. (The breeze gently moved the plant which would make the photo blurry. The lead photo is what I ended up with. The plant is not crisp because the breeze didn’t let up.)

Fortunately, I was able quickly to reframe. It was beautiful weather. It was beautiful scenery. I was by myself in the quiet. I had the opportunity to hang out up here for an hour, steeping in all of this, without any other obligation. Phone notifications muted.

As I packed up my tripod and started back down, the coyotes started howling. I love hearing the ‘yotes.

Back at the car were stories of their hike. There was the drive home and dinner to be made and bedtime and all the things.

But first, there had been a tranquil, quiet hour.

Do you need more art in your life?

From November 21 through February 28, I am creating and sharing a piece of art each day. A photograph, a Photoshopped version of a photograph I took before, a painting, a sketch—some piece of visual art.

Each piece is shared via email, maybe with a sentence or two about it, or maybe just the shot itself.

I expect that some of them will delight you and some you’ll only look at for a second or two and maybe one or two will connect with you in a way we can’t predict. Art is like that.

If you’re looking for more than just something lovely to cross your path on a daily basis, you could use the emails as reminders for you to do something for the same 100 days. Short enough to be viable. Long enough to be hard. Hard enough to be worth it.

Maybe create art (photos, drawings, doodles, paintings, music, dance, poetry, blog posts, etc., etc.). Maybe drink an extra glass of water or eat an apple. Maybe take a walk or do 10 pushups or stretch for 10 minutes. Maybe write and send a card or a postcard to someone you know or remember fondly. Maybe connect with a friend on the phone for 15 minutes. Maybe sit and read a chapter. Maybe clean out a drawer or a shelf.

But—no need to pressure yourself, either. You can just enjoy a bit of goodness in your inbox each day, no strings attached.

Check it out. Pay what you like. Minimum is $5, recommended is $10. Bring a friend.

The first email comes to you November 21, 2021.

Click here to sign up.

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