This would be a picture of the huge isolated thunderhead that met us at the top of the rise on our drive west out Sawmill Mesa on the Uncompahgre this afternoon. The view toward sundown was sprawling with juniper and piñon, and the storm was changing rapidly before our eyes. Lightning was striking out of the center of that behemoth with no clear goal but to freak us the shit out.
This would be a picture of the exact spot I got my old Chevy truck stuck in the mud while traveling that road during another, much rainier season. Rhetta was still a little thing and we had to abandon the truck and walk back to town. Rob and I took turns carrying her while we slugged through the ever deepening muddy slush. We stopped at times under the juniper to get out of the rain and hoped beyond hope we would not be struck by lightning. We hiked for miles and miles this way until we came to a spot that was sunny but still slick with mud, and to our surprise a truckload of people coming up out a canyon that spurred off the main road. We hailed them and caught a ride back to town. Rob and his dad later went back to pick up my truck and in a miracle moment Rob spotted one of the trees under which we sought shelter and there sitting on a rock was Rhetta's purple and yellow sippy cup we had left behind unknowingly the day before. (Rob has informed me my memory of this isn't entirely accurate, that we knew the cup was missing and went right to it and that it wasn't his dad but a co-worker named Matt who took him out there two weeks later to get my truck. Huh.)
This would be a picture of a natural wetland used for a stock pond during the cattle drives in the spring and fall. The pond was circular with even concentric circles of starting from the outside: prairie grass, peppermint, water hemlock, reeds and some kind of floating broad leaf plant the kids called lily pads. We weren't really paying attention to what all was growing there until we actually stepped into the mint and the scent thus released nearly knocked us over. Then once we got to looking at it all very closely it was apparent we weren't treading on mere weeds and we began a short catalog of everything we could identify.
This would be a stunning picture of the sun shining through the top of the shrub oak w/acorns hidden among the foliage as they are still green.
This would be a picture of Willon excitedly pointing out a very large cow pie.
This would be a picture of the family holding hands hiking away from the camera up a steep hill on the Cabin Bench Trail No. 125.
Lastly, this would be a picture of a huge, maybe 20 feet tall tree truck, dead and free of bark still showing char marks from the lightning that killed it who knows how long ago. It's bigger around than I can wrap my arms and the soft silver of weathered wood. It's surrounded by young Ponderosa pines and scrub oak but looking up from the base they are nearly invisible to the bright blue sky above and sunlight pouring out from behind on all sides.
P.S. In the course of writing this I learned why trodding is not a word.