A recent chain of events (a record-breaking polar vortex which led to a four-day school cancellation which led to a reorganization of the photo cupboard) brought to light a long-forgotten photo album of our first Southwest road trip. Turns out the husband and I (but mostly the husband – you’ll see his massive camera in several photos in this series) took more and better photos back then than we did on a similar road trip last summer, and I thought I would share some of them with you in a series entitled “A Photo Journey.” I hope you enjoy them, and even more, I hope they inspire you to travel.
Recently I did something I almost never do. I went to the gym and ran on the treadmill. (What drove me to this madness, you ask, incredulous? Well it seems that, ’round here, some people think that if a snowstorm occurs in mid-April, they are exempt from shoveling the sidewalk. I beg to differ.)
Anyway, bored but held captive by the lumbering conveyor belt beneath my feet, my eyes flickered over the half dozen TVs mounted to the ceiling in front of me, eventually coming to rest on a commercial (specially curated for gym rats) for a yoga mat. In the ad, a text fade-in touted the mat as “legendary.” Seriously? Legendary? As in, the stuff of legends? I think not. It’s a yoga mat.
These days, marketers, advertisers, and even mom-and-pop shops often use over-the-top words to describe their rather mundane products. In northern Minnesota there is a pie shop called Betty’s Pies. The owner – presumably Betty – proclaims it to be world famous. Have you heard of it? I didn’t think so.
To my way of thinking, words like legendary, iconic, epic, and world famous should be reserved for products, events, and places that truly deserve them.
Places like Death Valley.
Is it legendary? Sure. According to our Explorer’s Guide to Death Valley National Park, there is a legend about $2,500 in gold coins buried by some prospectors from Georgia. Naturally, it’s never been found. Even the naming of the park is disputed. It’s said that “… somebody turned around at the last view and said, ‘Goodbye Death Valley.'” The question is, which person attempting to escape the valley in the 1800s was it?
To be sure, it’s big. Vast. Extensive. Expansive.
It’s dry. Parched. Arid. Sere.
It’s flat. Pancake flat in places.
It’s desolate. Empty. Bare. Vacuous.
It’s hot. Blazing. Searing. Scorching.
It’s sandy. Gritty. Arenaceous. (Yeah, OK, I looked that one up.)
It’s low. Sunken. Depressed.
It’s otherworldly. Ethereal. Transcendental.
Is it world famous? I don’t know. Maybe not Grand Canyon famous or Pyramids of Giza famous or Great Wall famous, but perhaps it should be. It’s definitely special. Undeniably unique.
I recommend you make plans to head out to Death Valley, armed with this boatload (Plethora. Abundance.) of adjectives, and see if they don’t ring true. In the meantime, let’s all commit to using arenaceous in three different sentences this week. Good luck and let me know how it goes!
This post is dedicated to la cathédrale du Notre Dame de Paris, an edifice worthy of the terms epic, iconic, legendary, world famous, and so many more.
Posts in the A Photo Journey series:
- Hot Air Ballooning in Albuquerque
- Climbing Angels’ Landing in Utah
- Arches National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Death Valley National Park