My mother had one sibling, a reprobate and ne'er-do-well named Bob. I never met the man. There was always a bit of tension in my family about Bob's situation. I can't ever recall my parents fighting with one another, but I do remember a tense scene for a few summer days when I was young when my mother proposed allowing Bob to move in with our family until he got his life straightened out. Our tiny suburban house was already tight with my parents and three siblings, and I foresaw a catastrophe if we stuffed in another person--and a stranger as well. My father must have felt the same way, because Bob never showed up at the door, and after a while the whole affair receded into history.
My parents, despite both working, were of very modest means. We took two family vacations during the entire time I was growing up, one to see Niagara Falls, and the other to swim in the ocean at Virginia Beach, Virginia. Because they couldn't afford it, my parents never allowed themselves to be bitten by the travel bug.
I was out of the house and in college when my uncle Bob died. At the time, he had been living in Pueblo, Colorado. So, it came as a bit of a surprise to me when my mother called to inform me that she and my dad were going to drive from Cleveland, Ohio to Pueblo to take care of Bob's funeral and affairs. A few days following the funeral, I received a postcard from my parents; after they had taken care of Bob's affairs, they had driven further west to Delta, Colorado to visit the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (since re-designated a national park). I was left with two questions upon receiving their card: (1) Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (huh?) and (2) of all the places to visit in the West, why there?
|A typical view of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison. The Gunnison River is visible in the lower left of the image.|
|Kali at the Gunnison Point Overlook. The day we visited was hot, humid and hazy.|
|Pink and grey|
|The Painted Wall|
|A pink pegmatite alvar, with the partially snowy Mummy Mountains in the far distance across the canyon.|
|An iridescent green, pollen dusted native bee in a rose-pink cactus flower.|
|A woodpecker fancied this dead juniper|
|Broad and dark-leaved Arrowleaf Balsamroot plants (Balsamorhiza saggitata) were abundant in the park, but few retained their flowers this late in the season.|
|A rock garden; the lupines were especially numerous and beautiful.|
|A lichen-encrusted pinyon pine limb.|
|Juniper on a pink pegmatite alvar|
|My favorite image from the visit|