Ranger Kathryn's Arches

October 10, 2010

Startle the senses

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 4:38 pm
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Tell me how a yellow and turquoise Collared Lizard is camouflaged on red rock.


If you were to choose one thing to “startle the senses and surprise the mind out of their ruts of habit, to compel us into a reawakened awareness of… that which is full of wonder” — I’m curious what you’d select. Dissonant music? Eye-grabbing contemporary art? Skydiving?

Edward Abbey, the 1950s park ranger at Arches National Park who wrote Desert Solitaire, said that it is nature that does these things. I concur. Particularly effective are natural phenomena that are just outside the bounds of the expected. Look at the examples I give, and then tell me what moves YOUR mind out of its rut. What re-awakens you to the wonderful?


Two gigantic eye sockets in a huge cliff face. How?!?



This cracked spindly leg is holding up all of Corona Arch?!?



Clouds aren't normally lit from the inside like this.



  1. Diving, without a doubt! But when I saw the vast beauty of Canyonlands and Arches this summer, I was struck with that same sensation of awe that I experience when I’m under water…. so I must agree with you and Edward Abbey, nature’s where it’s at!

    Comment by Becky — October 10, 2010 @ 9:25 pm | Reply

  2. I can get complete and total satisfaction/relaxation from even the smallest things in nature. fall colors, a milkweed pod burst open with the sun shining through it, a small pool of water with a reflextion staring back at me….. Definitely love the grand as well, mountains, waterfalls, oceans….

    Comment by john — October 11, 2010 @ 10:35 am | Reply

  3. large landscapes, wilderness as far as the eye can see. I love the feeling of being so small. Being small in a big world means there is that much more to explore and discover, but it also gives me the renewed awareness of your sense of self and your place in the world, which isn’t easily settled on. All the more interseting to ponder. There is so much to wrestle with emotionally and physically. It makes me feel so alive.

    Comment by Jess — October 18, 2010 @ 2:21 pm | Reply

    • No wonder you loved Canyonlands. Talk about a large landscape!!

      Comment by kath56ryn — October 18, 2010 @ 2:22 pm | Reply

  4. Watching waves crash into the beach is both exciting and calming for me. I am totally content just watching the power and beauty of the ocean. But I also felt alive after repelling off a 60 ft. rock wall this weekend and surviving!!

    Comment by Shari — October 18, 2010 @ 5:32 pm | Reply

    • I agree that oceanic sounds and motions are wonderful to behold. This can stir thoughts and feelings like nothing else!

      Comment by kath56ryn — October 19, 2010 @ 6:35 am | Reply

  5. For me, the ultimate thrill is looking at Hubble Telescope photos – they stretch my boundaries like nothing else I know.
    In a similar vein, looking at colored printouts of fractals can also get my juices flowing.

    Comment by leroque — October 24, 2010 @ 12:59 pm | Reply

  6. that is a weird looking lizard

    Comment by Neal — January 12, 2011 @ 3:40 pm | Reply

  7. Those pics are the coolest things ever

    Comment by Michael13 & Jacob — January 12, 2011 @ 3:42 pm | Reply

  8. nice pictures!

    Comment by john — January 12, 2011 @ 3:43 pm | Reply

  9. My favorite of these is the lizard.

    Comment by Thomas — January 12, 2011 @ 3:46 pm | Reply

  10. How did the clouds get like that?

    Comment by Neal Patel — January 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

    • Just one minute before sunrise…. the rays lit up the outline of the cloud. I was lucky to have had my camera along.

      Comment by kath56ryn — January 14, 2011 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  11. I am the biggest fan of lizards because of their ability to blend in but the one at the top is out of pace.

    Comment by Michael — January 14, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

    • Almost every lizard in Utah is brownish, but these are wild and crazy. I love them!

      Comment by kath56ryn — January 14, 2011 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  12. 素晴らしい写真 (japenese)

    Comment by Michael — January 14, 2011 @ 3:23 pm | Reply

  13. 拱门是看起来真棒 (Chinese first one)

    Comment by Michael — January 14, 2011 @ 3:26 pm | Reply

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