Formations are Fragile and Dangerous

I love this photo more than most I took out at the paint mines in Colorado.

Getting the couple in the background in frame was integral to the composition, because it makes the sign take on a new meaning.

In the literal, it’s talking about the mushroom-shaped rock formations in the valley below, which are made of a soft stone, weathered constantly by wind and rain, even week-to-week. They’re beautiful.

But it’s also a human truth. Forming something with people is dangerous, and fragile. Forming connections, friendships, loves, partnerships, it’s all dependent on both parties being vulnerable to the other. I though about this photo a lot on my recent trip, since I took it alone.

It’s very easy to live life alone, if you’re an introvert. I could’ve easily gone another couple weeks or months on that trip if I didn’t have to return to work. I don’t think I talked to another human being for more than a minute the entire time, and I could’ve gotten my average lower than that if I tried. It was absolutely wonderful. Not having to work together with someone to plan, changing my plans on a whim, and stopping or going whenever I wanted to without compromise, was one of the most freeing and blessed times I’ve had while traveling.

And yet something was missing, in the midst of that gorgeous ease.

Friends. A lover. Family. Someone else to be there, watching the sun rise with me, and following the lines and layers of rock through the canyons. It was a refreshing and great time, no doubt, but I want to take people on that same route. I want to see their reactions to the cliff edges, the lights in the sky, the monolithic stones set in the valleys. Something felt hollow about visiting these iconic locations alone, even if it was an easier trip than any I’ve taken.

I know I’ll continue to take trips by myself, and I truly love doing so. But maybe next time I go to an iconic location, or return to somewhere I’ve been before, I’ll invite some friends. It makes it all so much better to see how they experience my favorite places on earth.

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