Spirits

A black-tailed jackrabbit is visible through the desert scrub at the trailhead to Brown's Ranch in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

I am amazed how effortlessly and silently mammals move through their home while I stumble down the trail. The jackrabbits seem like spirits floating through the desert, I often first notice the black tips of their tall ears moving while the rabbit itself is blocked from sight by the many plants of the scrubland. This lovely creature I found not on the trails but at the trailhead of Brown’s Ranch, we shared a quiet moment before sunup.

The rabbit you are most likely to see at the trailhead, and on the trail, is the desert cottontail (below). They too move silently through the desert but are so much smaller than the jackrabbits that you see them when you see them, there are no tall black tips dancing in the early light to catch your eye. Like all the mammals your best bet to see them is to arrive early, here also at the trailhead but just as the sun began peeking through to send one of us onto the trails and one to bed.

Walking in the Sonoran Desert at sunrise, seeing the desert both wake up and go to sleep, is a joy and a treasure even to this lifelong night owl.

A desert cottontail looks straight at me as it is partially lit by the rising sun at the trailhead to Brown's Ranch in McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Holding Back The Sea

A man exercises at dawn on Nye Beach in Newport, Oregon

One of my favorite images but I can’t explain exactly why. It’s not my typical subject matter, my typical angle, or my typical lens.

Life on Oregon’s coast is generally pretty peaceful and quiet, but the dawn especially so. It was a cool spring morning, the sun not yet risen, and little could be heard apart from the waves on the shore. As I looked out of my hotel window, a handful of people were out on the beach, exercising, walking their dogs, or just enjoying the beauty of the coast.

As I soaked in the tranquility of the morning, I wanted to stay in the moment, but the sun always rises.