Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

“A Brief Crack of Light”

Zion Canyon Tree (803)


“The cradle rocks above an abyss, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness.”

                                           Vladimir Nabokov


10 Responses to ““A Brief Crack of Light””

  1. Juha Haataja

    Extremely impressive!

    What time of the year has the photograph been taken? The fresh green is almost spring-like, but then there is a lot of dry twigs as well.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Juha. This image was taken this past Spring in Zion NP, near the entrance to The Narrows. The canyon walls are very high in this location (around 2,000 ft.) and the canyon is fairly narrow. If you’re there at the right time (late morning) you get light like this: the new leaves on the Cottonwood trees are brightly illuminated, as is one of the canyon walls. I actually think that these leaves are prettier in the spring than they are in the fall (when they turn yellow).

      The “dry twigs” you mention are actually dead trees. Why they died and the one in the middle seems very healthy is a mystery to me. But it’s not unusual in high desert canyons like this, even with the Virgin River flowing nearby.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Markus. Yeah, I think that’s why I like the red rocks of Utah so much. All of the colors seem to blend very nicely.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Cedric. What struck me about the quote is that I’d never really considered the idea that there was an “eternity of darkness” before I was born. The second one I’m sometimes acutely aware of, but I’d never thought about the “first” one.

    • Paul Maxim

      Thanks, Earl. I can easily remember that morning – it was very cool in that canyon (low 50’s, I think) and the sight of the sun at least made you think it was getting warmer. If you can get in there without too many other people around it’s a marvelous place to be.


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