I am not getting any help here, Tx

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

spirit c

As I wrote and expressed my feelings regarding politics I think recently, only glancing at times to reiterate the proper spinning motion of the Earth, I just cannot help feeling as there is something terribly wrong, even considering my naive mind within its outlook… as I read this morning’s Yahoo opening page. This guy Bernard Madoff, who I have never heard of before, has been caught in a 50 BILLION dollar fraud! 50 Billions! And here we are all of us trying to make ends meet and, here in this country and near by, what am I saying… the World around, humans dying of hunger, lack of heat, sicknesses…Wow… he admits to his guilt… the money is missing… and worse… he will only get 20 years if that, and a 5 million dollar fine. Being 70, with good conduct as he will be able to afford the Federal Ritz Carlton, he should be out in a couple years enjoying his stash! This is actually beyond politics, economy… I keep thinking that maybe, just maybe, the future of this land of ours that has suddenly shrunk to the size of a dime is in big jeopardy! Someone up there is going to get really really upset and strikes us badly! I just hope that the good people are spared. OK… need to move on and change permanently my Internet opening page to the weather. Done. Spirit agrees.

spirit b

Today I prepared for tomorrow. Sounds kind of everyone’s Life really. I wish I could say “we” but, besides only changing position Spirit did not even open his eyes all day. I really want to be him some day when I grow up. He likes the fire ring and I do to! It has become my center here where I feel useful and planted. I don’t know why I waited so long to cook outside but I finally did today. I have all the kindling needed for a couple lifetimes, added a couple chunks of pecan wood for coals, it did the trick as my soup is now ready and I do know it tastes pretty good because I already had some! I am still so thankful to Carl and Colette for bringing this wood up from Booth. What a great gesture and only wish they were still here to share it all. Next year for sure. We will do this when they are here.

cooking a

Clever devices to hold the pot, yes there is a third rock unseen in the photo, custom made! The recipe? I have no clue… emptied many cans, broth, rice, chopped vegetables, chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, hot sauce… you name it. Some chicken will go in today and back on the fire. Even my bread for tomorrow turned out good as yesterday was just too cold for it rise properly. Whole wheat with molasses this time. Dessert will also be cooked on the fire tomorrow.

2 loaves

This turns out to be the best campground I have been in. Nothing permanent as I like this way, but all the needed peripherals to sustain ourselves and specially feed a dozen or so Friends tomorrow. Yesterday we took a ride into Big Bend Park to see the first snow of the year. Here anyhow. So sorry to hear by the way about all the hardship so many are going through up north exposed to the incredible storms hitting such vast areas. Going through town I had to stop to refill a bottle of propane and as I was watching this man spend his 75 cents to air his tires, I was betting with myself that the compressor will stop when he was done with only 3 tires. Of course I won, and in good conscience offered him my compressor that I always carry. Years of service for $9.99! That is about 13 shots at the quarter machine if you only do 3 tires… come to think of it, perfect for a sidecar rig! But I am sure it was not the maker’s intention. Air for 4 tires? $1.50… More expensive than fuel!… for now.


The plan in Big Bend was to visit some road travelers we had never met, only read their Blog as I really like their watercolors which are now a hobby of theirs. Unfortunately their were on a hike as I later found out and also to make the matters worse, I had missed a home made chicken soup and a pumpkin pie! There will be more about them as they are headed to “The Oasis” tomorrow to join us for our Christmas Tradition and rock hunting. Mark and Bobbie… as us also seeking some meaning to this Life of ours.


First snow! There will be more no doubt, specially at the Chisos Basin due to its high elevation. The weather has turned out to be now really nice as we are getting slowly used to the cooler temperatures. Today I went through a photographic moment of despair. I have joined this great Forum called “The Mindful Eye“, very informative with daily videos, how to’s and nice members. I have been in and out of many other such Forums not being able to stand the majority of pros making up the bulk of their membership and floating a bit above amateurs, always expressing their discontentment on an ongoing daily basis instead of positive reinforcements. Not the case here.

snow f

snow g  

And so I watched a couple videos, “daily critics” by Craig Tanner, a “Master Photographer” truly and a great Human Being. The videos were about photoshop and what can be done to enhance them such as just about everything one can imagine from changing textures, highlighting mountains, colors, even adding yourself to the photo. This is not the first time I fall into this “dilemma” that makes me think sometimes about my own hobby. I have to say, the results were remarkable, really incredible. I had my eyes crossed reminding me of some trigonometry class when a nap was always more welcomed. I felt inadequate afterwards, my sometimes green skies could be corrected, high contrasts of photos taken during the day could be solved, I could even place Spirit on the rider seat, I could look thinner…! Besides the learning curve of its multitude of functions, I imagine the time spend per photo would be at least 30 minutes if not more which would also open up another door. That door being, since the photos would stop being the mirror of my senses how far would I go?

snow a

snow b  

I found myself being troubled by this for a while but finally came to my own senses by the end of the day. What brought me back mainly was remembering standing by my own photos at the Kiowa Gallery in Alpine, talking to others about them and being real proud always adding that the photos were not obtained by digital effects. Yes, I do use the camera’s multitude of settings, I do alter the contrast at time, same with color saturation and colors curves, which is all the same, just different tools. The photos are what they were at that moment. What also brought me back was the fact that because of their natural presentation I might end up with, if lucky, maybe half a dozen great ones for every year passed and it is that “hunt” for them that makes it so exciting instead of letting the keys making a masterpiece from an average photo.

plant a

plant b  

It also reminded me how at times I have been a bit criticized about my writing, lack of grammar, punctuations and upside down sentences. After all, this Journal was to be just a Journal and none will change. It is what it is. Will continue the photos as they are, they are the extension of the words as misfit as they might be at times!

old faithful

These pasts couple mornings, with the sun rising on my back, witnessing the moon finally going to rest for a few hours has been incredible changing the colors into this pinkish hue all around us as if  “The Oasis” suddenly had changed its stage. What magical space this has turned out to be, what incredible Karma has brought us here! I do think and prepare for the months ahead when we will leave and I already know, regardless how much I itch to get on the road, that I will miss “The Oasis” for sure.

moon set

It is soup time! Till later… Stop by.

Help us keep the site alive. Please contribute… I use to ask if reading this site was worth 1$ a month. I do again. This site has been far from being a free Journal for us as it was at one time!

Two years of Photography is finally in order on SmugMug… 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 SmugMug. If you like to order a print all sizes are available as I store the originals myself considering the huge bandwidth needed to upload on the Gallery.

Be well, always.   Ara & Spirit

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14 Responses to “I am not getting any help here, Tx”

  1. Barney Says:

    Our blogs are us, as we are and as we will be. When Spirit critizes us, then we can at least consider the information. Otherwise relax and live gently.

  2. Ring Huggins Says:

    Hey Ara,

    Where the heck did you get all that wood?


  3. Chris Says:

    Ari and Spirit, i look forward to every new post and pictures, they are perfect! Have you ever cooked in a Dutch oven? Great for outdoor cooking.

  4. Colorado Kid Says:

    Ara, as usual, great blog! Your grammatical “mistakes” are part of the charm of who you are, without them, the blog would have much less character and spirit. Language is a tool for communication, nothing more. Your communications are quite effective and are very inspirational. Don’t change a thing. Stay warm!

  5. Zelda Says:

    Hi, Ara, I can hear the wind, smell the air and hear an occasional hawk or owl in your pictures. Thanks for redirecting our attention to the good timeless things in life, like simple nourishing bread made with skilled hands, and the warmth of a fire built from logs given by a friend. Alas, the scoundrels will always be there too, but they don’t deserve our attention or gray hair. I still admire your courage and trust in humanity to share your life expeiences with everyone happening by your blog. I will tell you the same thing I tell my engineer husband, who is grammatically and spelling challenged occasionally, but really a good writer, “not everyone can be an English major”. You and Spirit keep warm, now!

  6. Bill Says:

    Ara, great post! Is there any chance that you will be uploading the moon setting shots to smugmug? They are AWESOME shots.

    And for the criticisms… they are what they are – opinions. If everyone composed their writing to please everyone, there would be no character, personality, or soul in any story.

    Ride safe

  7. Victor A Says:

    Ara I noticed a sticker on Spirits helmet (M 2 W) what does it mean ????
    my opinion on the critic’s of your journal’s style is that you will never please everyone ! So just please yourself .
    Goodluck ,enjoy what you have ( life, friends,and the world around you while you can ,, We dont know what the future holds and should make the best of what we have in the here and now …………………………….

  8. Victor A Says:

    P.S. Wishing you and Spirit a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !

  9. Garry Says:


    Just be Ara!

    I love your writing style as well as your photographs. I read about three blogs daily and yours is one of them……

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!..

    I’ll bet todays dinner was great…..


  10. Belinda Salinas Says:

    Ara I just love your fire ring, it is very symbolic. Enjoyed seeing the picture of the Study Butte Mall…jajaja…how I laughed the first time I saw that sign years ago. I can not believe we got snow in Houston before you guys since it is much much colder up your way.

    Those moon shots are spectacular!!! As far a criticisms go, a lot of people do not realize that when English is not your first language sometimes one tends to invert things. I do that and I only speak two languages so I can imagine it is no small feat with all the languages you speak.

  11. Ginny Says:

    Ara things have been really hard for me lately. I still have no job and things are more dire than ever. I am trying so hard to keep my spirits afloat. I’ve had some wonderful support though from friends, and people I don’t know. They are my lifeline right now. My six year old son wasn’t going to get Christmas this year, but I have found some creative ways thanks to wonderful suggestions from people, to make it happen. Plus I think we have picked up a couple of Secret Santas. Thank goodness. I couldn’t bear the thought of him having no Christmas. I won’t be cooking the traditional meals though. Any thoughts on something that is very inexpensive that I can make into something special? I have no creative juices right now and can’t think.

    I am scared for our Country too. It’s hard to not to feel a dread when I see people all around me struggling. Businesses closing their doors left and right, people losing jobs, friends barely making ends meet. 🙁

    Please write me soon. I miss hearing from you. I am enjoying your peaceful photographs and wish I could sit in the fire ring with you and good friends. Who knows when I will ever be able to travel…if ever.

    Love and Gratitude to you,

  12. Marti Says:

    Hi Ara,

    Thank you for joining us on The Mindful Eye. Your comments and images on the Community have added a great deal to an already encouraging and supportive community. You are such a great example of what we want The Mindful Eye Community to be.

    Can’t wait to be back in Big Bend for the workshop in 2009 and give Spirit an ear scratch — oh, and, of course to you, too!! 😉


  13. Rodolfo Says:

    Ara; I read this somewhere. I wish I’d remember so I can credit the right person


    One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people.
    He said, ‘My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all.

    One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

    The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’

    The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: ‘Which wolf wins?’

    The old Cherokee simply replied,

    ‘The one you feed.’

  14. Lyle Says:

    I liked reading about your photographic dilemma! There is a line between enhancing a photograph’s ability to represent what you saw when you pressed the shutter, and creating what you wished you had seen instead. It is always more interesting to see what really was there. Fantasy is something else entirely, freed from any annoying ties to reality.

    Another photographer I know, Deborah DeWit-Marchant, declined even to crop her photographs. I love them. I even bought an original print and hope to buy more.

    Other photographers and artists incorporate photographic images as just one more source of raw material, like paint or charcoal, and create beautiful works of art. Maxfield Parrish did this sometimes, and I love his work, too. But there is no confusion; you know you are looking at beautiful fantasy.

    Ansel Adams, on the other hand, had no qualms about taking liberties like compositing images, and did not make a big point of having done so. There are people who think “Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico” was a well-composed tripod time exposure. I suppose that sometimes we need to add “photographs” to the list of things we don’t want to know how they are made, like sausage and laws. That does not stop me from snarfing down sausage with my breakfast, or obeying the law, or enjoying an Ansel Adams poster. Sausage, Ansel Adams, and Photoshop are all doing well in the world of commerce.

    But your photographs, like your writing, are honest and true. That’s why I keep coming back here! Sometimes I need a break from the junk food of life. Thanks for sharing with us!

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