As "beauty" rises through the pain… Moab, Utah

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Live more than your neighbors.
Unleash yourself upon the world and go places.
Go now. Giggle, no, Laugh. No…stay out past dark
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.

Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal.
This is it. Your life.

Face your fears and live your dreams. Take it all in.
Yes, every chance you get. Come close.
And by all means, whatever you do, get it on film.

It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for.

It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you are willing to risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive.

I want to know if you can live with failure, yours and mine, and still shout at the edges of a lake, river, or mountain, “Yes! I am a Warrior Poet!”

It doesn’t interest me to know where you live, or how much money you have, I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone, and do what needs to be done for someone you love.

It doesn’t interest me if the story you’re telling is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself, if you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul.

I want to know if you can be faithful and trustworthy. I want to know if you can see beauty even when it is not there everyday, and if you can source your life from its presence.

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life.

And still remember me, your friend.

John Blais, who battled ALS – The Blazeman 1971-2007


A Moon rise… The photos are of “Sand Flats”, a short ride under a cloudy sky, still tired and worn out from the previous days and the Dentist. 

A “Personal Journal”? An “Entertaining Journal”? “A Travel Log”? “A Dog’s Life Homeless on the Road”? Sometimes this Blog weighs on me only because of some comments that I should, but cannot ignore. However will in the future. Keeping the walls up around us allowing me to project my original path of thoughts sometimes becomes difficult when it should not be, not be at all. The path cannot be swayed by other’s words that are maybe seeking some contents I am not myself keen on, as these pages have only a main purpose which is to get so much of Life’s weight off my chest, simply, without fanfare, as a good Friend with unconditional acceptance. They have no harm, they are always good natured, they are honest, they are merely reflections of just another Life passing through this vast Universe surrounding us, they are the multitude of pixels forming this giant Red Cross that supports my nights and days.

Old Faithful  

I really don’t see a “problem” within these pages, they are my most inner feelings wide open for the taking, they are not forced upon anyone, they are only part of this giant wave of other Blogs numbering new titles at the rate of five million new ones a week. I do not seek for stardom, I do not seek for fame, I only seek for my own selfish well being as someone asked me the other day “but who helps ‘you'”? I do have a lot of help and support. So many readers have come forward and knowingly or unknowingly have helped so much, more than they can ever imagine and I am so thankful for feeling these pages blossom into a two way path lighting up such darkness that at times still surrounds me.

sand flats e


Every day a new page is turned, they are the peaks and the valleys as everyone else’s, as my Life cannot be so unique and is not. I am no different than anyone else. Conclusions arise, the steps from their raw form slowly are polished from the daily experiences and level off showing a brightness that illuminates the next one awaiting yet still in it’s own shadow. The process is slow, painstaking, but time is present. What else is there but time? These moments I am still allowed to breathe in and out with the good fortune of a certain ability to think. Sometimes feeling as all is stagnant, but it is not. The gears never stop, they turn and turn so smoothly that only when new images come up I am aware of their constant movements.

flowers a flowers b

“Most people do not want to hear about your negative thoughts and feelings.” What is there to understand when I read those words send to me? Are my thoughts negative? Are my feelings? They are only “Human” as I would hope everyone would feel the same. There is no harm in hurting anymore. It is a facet that has so much cleared up within my thoughts lately. How dare truly anyone write those words toward another? Followed by “I know you lost a son and I can’t even imagine how that would hurt, (no you cannot) but life goes on and the people that are following you want to have a positive experience in your blog.”  My only reply can only be, read the title of this Journal “The Oasis of my Soul”. It is alright, it is the card dealt, it is that piece of my heart that will never heal as vanished for ever. And is that being “negative”? or is it only being a “Being”?

spirit a  

I am thankful to my Son, as bitter sweet as these days are under my full acceptance, I am thankful because it is his sacrifice giving birth to my pain that has made me today a better man than I was. It is the pain that allows me to admire and feel and sense my surroundings always present within Mother Nature’s offerings. The beauty surrounding me has over time taken a glow absent  before. I “feel”, so “I am”. I feel Lance’s absence, as I feel his presence also, I now accept it. I have stopped asking the questions, the same questions over and over that hunted me down, the “why’s” and the “how’s”… Why him? why me? Why?… period. And the feelings, that deep string that runs through the core of consciousness, through perceptions non existent before, it is that stand that keeps me alive. It is as a piece of my heart did vanish for ever, but a new growth has surfaced in Lance’s memory giving me the ability I would truly have never experienced otherwise.

Sand Flats b  
Sand Flats c  

“I know this is your blog and your travels, but if you want the support from your readers, I would advise you change your approach to what you want your readers to experience within your writings and provide them with a more positive experience.”  How dare again someone write these words when not even skimming the surface of these contents? And yet… yes, these same words have helped me tremendously these past days rearrange everything in perspective within this Journey, giving me even more certitude, more than ever that these pages will never stop being the mirror of my heart, not in a negative way someone might think, but in a “Human” way… I can only thank the sender as “not understanding” they have made me “understand” my Path even better for my own greater good.

sand flats f  

And these words send by another reader, the other end of the spectrum, that rainbow that harbors so many with such multitudes of personal facets of emotions and awareness …“Ara, thank you for this fantastic outflow of emotions, it made me think about the way I have been living my last 16 years as a human on earth, always living reserved, always saving it for another day. But this reminded me, of how quickly a life can change, and I thank you, for posting this, for helping me want to get out and stop thinking, and start doing. Start living, and stop watching.”

sand flats g  

They also reinforce my own emotions as to what would Life be without them? What would endless nights and days be without true feelings? Happy ones, sad ones, all in between, no matter… we are designed to go through it all. Entertainment is already everywhere, designed to make us laugh and smile, but most of it is “fiction”… made up stories… embellished scenarios… marketing… wishes for the mind. True Life in itself is that circle that dips into all of it’s variations, I can only write and expel what my own “true life” is all about. I can only stay true to myself, true to these many pages, as I always say “It is just another Life story… ” I will add “not better and not worse… it just ‘is'”.

“It’s all good”

sand flats h Spirit b

Almost three years of Photography is finally in order on Smug Mug… In “Your Favorites”, in “States”, some labeled “first year” and second year”, now also “Texas the third year”. Feel free to browse, you can even use the slide show mode and have fun. Merchandise is also available through Smug Mug. If you like to order prints, all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload them on the Galleries.

Your support will help us continue these endless chapters you read. It will be more than greatly appreciated.

Be well…

Ara & Spirit

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19 Responses to “As "beauty" rises through the pain… Moab, Utah”

  1. Patrick McKenna Says:

    Another great post as usual. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate every post you make, and look forward to the feeling I get when I open your site and see that another new entry has been made. It’s like running down the stairs at Christmas and realizing that Santa didn’t forget you. Don’t worry about someone else’s need for POSITIVE. Concern yourself only with REAL, HONEST, TRUE, HEARTFELT, and GENUINE.
    Pat (ghostridernv)

  2. Just Call Me Whosoever Says:

    Ara, I love your sight and your photos are wonderful. Wonderful in so many ways that I would be challenged to provide an inclusive list. What I love about your sight is the “Transparency”. Thru your photos and your comments you have “opened the oasis of your soul”. If there is one measure that I value in my life it has to be “transparency”. It is my prayer that what people see in me is what they get….not fake,phony nor contrived. I see this in your blog. You’ve laid it all out there…all of it…including whatever remants of “pain” that you may be experiencing…be it a tooth ache or a heart ache. So what if some don’t like it….they don’t have to read it. I see no “obligation” on your part to provide entertainment. The important thing to me is that, photography and writing is “your therapy” and that is what counts. The fact that you are willing to be the “subject” of our attention that “we might benefit” from your “life’s experience” tells me you are a generous individual. God Love You…ride and be safe! And give that marvelous “traveling companion” of yours a pat on the head for me. Observing him in your photos has given me joy.

  3. Allen Says:

    I have always enjoyed your postings because they are authentic and from the heart, not the mindless politically correct, always paint a rosey picture even when your heart has been carved out of your chest nonsense that our society seems to want to impose on everything. I encourage you to continue as is. Your transparent postings have drawn a large group of regular readers who relate and admire you. If someone doesn’t like it, they can click their mouse and find the mindless sunshine and roses politically correct drivel they are seeking on some other site.

    The internet and blogs are like a huge buffet. If someone doesn’t like the roast beef, they can walk down a little bit further and try the chicken and dumplings. Why stand and complain that you don’t like roast beef? No one has been employed as your editor. You don’t need to cater to anyone else’s desire for your creation. This is your work, and it reflects you. It seems that it is authentically you, I for one wouldn’t want it any other way.


  4. Jake Says:

    A true inspiration your friend’s words are in opening for those of us sometimes stray from our true passions. I do appreciate the fact you are honest both in your images and writing- this is why I keep up with your blog. I too am tired of what you describe “Entertainment” as in your last paragraph and enjoy a breath of fresh air here. Keep on with it.

  5. James NomadRip Says:

    I wouldn’t presume to tell you what to write on your own blog. If I didn’t want to read it, I don’t have to, and if I told you what to write, then I’d already know what was there hehe

    Be positive, be negative…whatever. Just be Ara, and you’ll do just fine. If Jesus, MLK and Ghandi couldn’t please everyone, no reason to think you can 🙂

    Always here, my friend!


  6. mq01 Says:

    Ara and Spirit,
    Beautiful, breath taking, and just simply awesome. I appreciate you, I support you, and I enjoy you completely.
    Ride safe, enjoy, and take care my friends.

  7. Michelle Daigle Says:

    Hey Ara, Michelle here…I have to tell you I haven’t kept up with the blog much, so much time has passed between our visits. I miss you terribly & not sure why I chose today to log on & check it out, but there is a reason for everything and your words today rang so true and as usual your emotions seemed to line up with what’s happening for me personally. Please don’t let those that interpret your emotion as negative be such an influence, they are only proving their own negativity. This blog belongs to you first, your reader second…those that don’t understand, don’t deserve the words you put forth. I’m sorry to hear you are having such a difficult time right now, out of pain grows true joy….without one there is no true appreciation of the other. I miss you Ara, I miss you joy, your sorrow, your wisdom, your playfulness, your honesty and the special way you wrap your words into visions!

  8. Rick Thomas Says:

    I stumbled on to your blog almost a year ago and have followed it ever since then. Honesty and truth are hard to come by in society today. Please don’t change a thing. Best wishes to you and Spirit in your travels.

  9. Don Van Zandt Says:

    Ara, long time since I’ve written, and others have already said much better that I how I feel about your blog. They are YOUR words…YOUR pictures [ beautifully done! ]…and YOUR thoughts, and that is how it should be! Thanks for allowing me to ride along with you and Spirit on YOUR journey. You will never ride ‘alone’… there are many like me who’s spirit’s ride beside you. Like it says in the song, you do it “your way”.

    As always….. Don

  10. TJ Avery Says:


    Please take a second and read this blog entry from Joe Reifer (and also read the comments below):

    One of the “gifts” that I think you have is the ability to photograph without outside influence. Your style of photography is unique and 100% you. It is untainted and pure.

    This is significant to me because I have wondered (just like Joe) what it would be like to photograph for me and only me. I.e. make photography that is a 100% reflection of my inner being. Too long have I woven in the apparent wants and needs of others. Too many times have I thought about what “the general masses” would like before I press my shutter.

    This concept can be applied to many other things in life, like writing.

    So, whether good or bad, your writing and photos are you. I don’t think many people can say that honestly. What you have going here is an amazing portal into your world and the person you are and it’s pristine and untainted.

    “It’s all good.” – so true!

  11. Bill Wood Says:

    Hi Ara.
    Enjoy your pictures.
    Enjoy your tales.
    Enjoy your musings.
    Continue being who Spirit thinks you are.

  12. Dave Howe in Texas Says:

    “…Continue being who Spirit thinks you are…”
    I blatantly stole that line from Bill in the post above…what a great thing to say, what a nice gift to you. Dogs are terrific judges of character!

    Back in a prior life, in the “touchy-feely” 70’s, in Big Corporate America, there was a time when we went through much “management guru of the month” training. One of the concepts that stayed with me was the importance of “self-disclosure”. Important in dealing with others, in developing & nurturing relationships…in understanding who and what we are.
    I should have skipped the training and waited for “Oasis Of My Soul”, you have it nailed my friend. If some don’t “get it”, don’t understand it, or just don’t like it, that’s OK. It’s obvious most of us do, and you certainly do. They, like the rest of us, must find their own way.

    Some of the best “reads” I’ve had here Ara, were when you were sharing your pain, your grief, your soul with us, your loyal viewers.
    A life without Ara, Spirit and the Oasis would be…less.

  13. texascindy Says:

    Ara, this journey would be incomplete if you didn’t share all of your thoughts, whether they be positive or negative…Those who only want the “positive” do not understand you and your feelings. I hate that you have been made to feel like you should edit your words to satisfy someone else. This blog is for you and Spirit. We are privileged that you are willing to share it with us.

    Safe travels,

  14. Janet Says:

    Shallow, shelfish people Ara. Don’t let it get you. I thank you for the look into yourself. It is LIFE.


  15. Doug Smith Says:

    Stay true to your instinct as this is your forum. Life is a balance of positive and negative, we can’t have one without the other………
    I have resigned myself to a theory of my own making. Maybe it is an egotistical theory or maybe it is selfish theory, I don’t know….
    From a spiritual standpoint I look at our short lives as one would look at a river. The river is very long and really has no beginning or end. There are those among us who are racists , bigots and have hateful souls. We must look upon those individuals with pity, not anger. Hate only breeds more hate. One must forgive and stay above that plane of existence. I feel that from the spiritual standpoint some souls are further down that spiritual river than others. The ones upstream really do not comprehend the bigger picture. It is not there fault, they know no better. Maybe this whole idea comes from a theory of reincarnation, as some souls would be older and wiser than others. Again , I do not know. Am I an egotist? Do I think I am better than others? I don’t think so, I just feel fortunate to fall back on my theory when I am faced with those with less insight and understanding. There is no real “right” religion. All the religions of the world are just fragments of a bigger picture. It is a picture much bigger than most can comprehend.

    “Smitty” a long time follower and fellow side car guy.

  16. Shadowmoss Says:

    Henry David Thoreau said it well: “I should not talk so much about myself if there were anybody else whom I knew as well. Unfortunately, I am confined to this theme by the narrowness of my experience. Moreover, I, on my side, require of every writer, first or last, a simple and sincere account of his own life, and not merely what he has heard of other men’s lives; some such account as he would send to his kindred from a distant land; for if he has lived sincerely, it must have been in a distant land to me. Perhaps these pages are more particularly addressed to poor students. As for the rest of my readers, they will accept such portions as apply to them. I trust that none will stretch the seams in putting on the coat, for it may do good service to him whom it fits. ”

    I copied some of your lines for my blog today. I hope you don’t mind, and I did credit you. Sometimes others say what I’m thinking or feeling so much more clearly than I can. HDT’s ‘a simple and sincere account of his own life’ quote was my first reaction when I read your post today. This blog fits that well.

  17. lynne Says:

    I just found your blog and am so glad I did. What a treasure. Your pictures and words are thoughtful and meaningful.

  18. Gatortiger Says:

    Hi Ara!

    “Most people do not want to hear about your negative thoughts and feelings…”

    People that write that did not understand what this blog is about and are not really reading it!

    “…the people that are following you want to have a positive experience in your blog.”

    If the same people would really read you blog that would have just that!!

    ’nuff said!!!

    All the best for your travels, Ara!!!!!


    (Still with ya after all those years…. :-))

  19. Ellen Says:

    I was drawn to your blog by the beautiful pictures and then I started reading. I was really struggling with watching my beloved husband battle the indignities of a prolonged war with cancer. I just couldn’t get my head and heart around what we were facing and how I was going to cope and support him. Your words,pictures and struggle helped me many, many times and I wanted to say thank-you, for being so honest and sharing what you are living at any given time. Lots of times in the middle of the night, my mind just won’t be quiet, I get up and look at your pictures and read the blog and I know I can go on at least one more day.

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