Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Death Valley

Death Valley, as I discovered, has a diverse topography and a beauty unique to itself. Many Californians have never ventured to this park, picturing it as barren desert landscape. The winter months are ideal for visiting as the skies are blue, temperatures cool, and with fewer visitors, the dunes are free of footprints. There is a special magic on the quiet dunes as the color changes by the minute from the glow of the morning sun to cool whites of afternoon and browns with the setting sun. Shadows give softness to the waves of sand that form dips and undulations. Captured on camera, they appear as shapes and curves unrecognizable as sand. The distant mountains and layers of rock reveal an artistic combination of colors and patterns. One finds solitude - time stands still.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Manzanar

North of the town of Lone Pine, is Manzanar, site of the historical first relocation center. In 1942, this was home to over 10,000 Japanese American internees after WWII. Comprised of 26 blocks on 6,200 acres, residents lived communally behind barbed wire fences and endured harsh desert conditions on this barren landscape. Not much remains on the site but standing in the middle of the open field, one can almost hear the voices of children and the clattering of dishes in the mess hall. I am struck by the resilience of the human spirit to endure, and the gentleness of the Japanese in accepting their fate.