Clifford and I are camped in the desert south of St. George, Utah, for this winter season. Although it is warmer than Montana, which is now our home-base and where family is, it is definitely winter in this very northwest corner of Arizona. There are some days when we can sit outside to play music, many days when I go for solitary walks, and days when Clifford sits outside to review Carnicom Institute research. However, there are nights that are in the low teen and days when all projects are done indoors.
On my birthday we join forces with our friend David and a couple he met camping here at Black Rock, and we pick up more trash from the campsites and the parking area at Black Rock Road. David has arranged for a dumpster to be delivered and on the delivery day, other folks join in and a large dumpster is filled to the brim with all the trash we have picked up.
Picking up trash wasn’t what I had in mind for a birthday celebration, so we watch the weather and wait for a forecast of a sunny day with mild temperatures. A few days later when the right conditions materialize, we head to the Virgin River Gorge, about ten miles away, for a picnic outing to celebrate. I want to go to Cedar Pockets, the campground in the Virgin River Gorge but it is still closed for repairs. So, we take the overpass to the other side of I-10 and drive up the dirt road to a spot that works for a picnic.
We pick up trash using our “grabbers,” before we set up a table and spread out the picnic.
After eating, we play music – Clifford with his dulcimer and tongue drum and me with the fiddle, playing fiddle tunes.
While we are there, a woman who had stopped to walk her dog stops to chat because we are such an unusual sight, a couple fuddy-duddies having a picnic and playing fiddle music in the middle of the Virgin River Gorge. We exchange contact information before she goes on her way.
After picnic and music, Clifford and I hike up the ridge behind us, enjoying the sunshine on this winter day and the view of the mesa on the other side of the gorge from where we are.
The gorge is grand, rugged, and scenic and I am grateful that the weather cooperated to allow us to have such a fun outing.
Later in February, Lori, the woman we met on the picnic day in the Gorge comes to play music with us, as she also has a tongue drum and was eager to play with us. So fun to have a new-found friend in the desert.
One other outing in February is to the town of Colorado City on the border between Arizona and Utah to have dinner with a friend and while we are there, we go to Maxwell Park for spring water and the opportunity to take photos of the red cliffs, which look to be part of the same geological formation as that of Zion National Park in Utah.
A new activity that is fun and engaging for me is experimenting with making creative composites using photos that I have taken on my walks as well as photos in my gallery. I like the process of using photos that might not be anything more than snapshots and coming up with an image that is creative and unique. I call these images BeCreative. They are a good stretch for me from my usual documentary style photos.
In addition to playing music, Clifford always has a focus on the ham radio and improving the antennas. He is also using portable scientific instruments to do some research on a topic that is coming to his attention.
Daily I watch the sunrise and sunsets, finding great pleasure in the light and colors that are special at that time of the day.