Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Head Games

One of the things I used to do, especially during the short time that we lived in the southwest, was wander around among the many strange rock formations out there looking for “heads”.  That is, rocks that had been weathered in such a way that they looked like human heads.  Generally speaking, they weren’t all that hard to find.  Sometimes, I guess, Mother Nature likes to play games with our imaginations.  If you look hard enough, you’ll find them.

I even have one that looks like the head of Darth Vader (from Nevada’s Valley of Fire).  And if you really let your imagination go, I have one that sort of looks like George Bush.  I was creating a regular Rogue’s Gallery.

After we moved back east, however, I stopped looking.  Not a lot of strange rock formations in these parts.  Most of the frozen, stoney heads you see around here belong to real people.  These folks just don’t know that they’re dead yet.  We’ve been back to the southwest a couple of times since, but I guess I just wasn’t seeing them anymore.  Or more likely, just not looking.

Anyway, this past October, on the night before we headed back to I-70 and the long road back home, we stayed for one more night in Moab, Utah.  Moab, of course, is within a couple of miles of Arches NP.  So I decided to go back into the park one more time (we’d spent 4 days there earlier in the trip).  It was late in the evening and I wasn’t even thinking much about photographs – I just wanted to see some of the park one more time.

So I drove out to the Balanced Rock area.  It’s more elevated than much of the park and, since a nearly full moon was going to be rising soon, I figured it would be a good place to hang out for a half hour or so.  So that’s what I did.  When I’d had enough, I turned back toward where I’d left the car.

And there “he” was.  This big old hunk of red rock that I’d walked by a number of times before, but perhaps never quite at this angle and certainly not in this much darkness.  The first thing that struck me was the lips and what appears to be a short beard below the lips.  Then there’s the nose and then –

Well, you get the point.  At least I hope you see the same things I saw.  Otherwise, maybe I’m completely losing it.

I’m also not sure if this guy’s been “spotted” by anyone else.  If he has, I have to wonder if he has a name.  There are other formations in the park with names like “The Three Gossips” or “The Marching Men”, but they really don’t have anything that looks like a face.  Not like this one, anyway.

My problem is that this guy looks like someone I’ve seen before.  I just can’t remember who that “someone” is.

6 Responses to “Head Games”

    • Paul Maxim

      No, no Virgin Mary’s crying blood or anything like that. No religious icons in my Rogue’s Gallery. If anything, this guy sort of resembles one of SNL’s Coneheads from a few years back.

  1. Earl

    He certainly has the profile of a classic mountain giant — that noise, the chin. 🙂

    For 2012, best wishes to you and your family, Paul.

    • Paul Maxim

      Well, he certainly was a “giant”. Nothing to compare it to in the image, but I’d say this rock was a good 30 feet tall.

    • Paul Maxim

      Hadn’t thought about the Grinch. But you’re right – definitely a resemblance there. Maybe Mr. Grinch hides out in Arches during the “off-season”.


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