The Shit Eating Butterfly

I was out walking around Willow Lake yesterday with my camera — looking for something creative to shoot while pondering on the recent abrupt departure of someone I’ve come to care a great deal about. As I came across a field of little yellow daisy like flowers, I saw a few butterflies. When I proceed to photograph them, I noticed one landed on the ground. Upon closer look, it was sitting on a pile of dog poop and next to it was a fly watching. After my initial surprise of seeing the butterfly choosing to land on the poop while the others continue to hover from flower to flower; the shit eating butterfly reminds me of my friend’s recent erratic behavior.

It is difficult to understand why a beautiful butterfly with so much potential and opportunities would leave everything behind…

to hang out with the dirty fly and eat shit…

when she had a whole field of beautiful flowers to choose from.

And get the real love she deserves…

Hopefully the beautiful butterfly will find her way back home before it’s too late…

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Seeking Truth and Forgiveness on Route 66 – Part 4

They say confession is good for the soul. And that’s exactly what I was hoping to find: to somehow confess my sins without the fear of being persecuted for my follies, and to restore my faith in humanity. I drove hundreds of miles in the hot desert sun — hoping to quiet the turmoil in my mind. Although I wasn’t exactly sure if I would find it on the desolate road of Route 66, I thought if nothing else; at least I got the opportunity to explore and shoot some of the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen.

One of the things I noticed about the desert is how quickly the weather changes; it can be stormy and sunny at the same time. It was fascinating to see nomadic clouds constantly changing across the bright blue sky.

During my on foot discovery, I came across a herd of cattle out in the middle of the nowhere desert. They looked rather emaciated. Poor cows… judging from their protruding ribs, it seems as if they hadn’t eaten in weeks. Perhaps it was the desert heat, or that I was glad to see another life form — I found myself talking to the herd. Asking them if they belong to anyone… if they are hungry and thirsty… and for a moment, I thought about confessing to them my troubles but thought better when they started to move towards me. Quickly, I backed away from them. Don’t need a stampede of cows running after me.

As I continued to explore the desert life, I came across a herd of dall sheep hidden behind a big boulder. I was surprised to see these kinds of sheep in the desert. I always thought they were a cold climate animal. I used to see them often when I lived in Alaska. The male sheep would be very aggressive with each other so I knew better and shot them from a safe distance.

It was getting late by the time I came to the end of Route 66 or so I thought… I later learned that Route 66 starts at Santa Barbara, California and ends in Chicago, Illinois. I decided to seek shelter for the night in the town, Kingman. I have passed by this town earlier on my way to Oatman.

I drove back Kingman’s Route 66 thinking I would do the road again the next day. I’m sure there would be more interesting photo opportunities. However, I wish someone could do the driving so I can focus on just taking photographs. Well… unbeknownst to me, my wish would later come true.

There were plenty of motels of all sizes crowding on both sides of the road to choose from. Out of the corner of my eye, a colorful tower with the word El Tra… something caught my interest as I sped by… and my thought was to stop there but since I passed by it already, I thought I would just find another place ahead. However, my inner voice told me that I should go back to that colorful tower. After driving another few miles, I decided to listen to my inner voice and I made a u-turn to go back to that El something motel. And this is one of those moments that reinforce my belief that your intuition rarely steers you wrong…

Seeking Truth and Forgiveness On Route 66 – Part 3

There is nothing more thought-provoking than driving for hundreds of miles alone on a desert road to reflect about life. While the solitary beauty and grandness of the landscape made me feel grateful for being alive and having the freedom to enjoy the moment, the inner civil war inside my head continues its pursuit of right and wrong.  It’s beyond belief how a moment in life can be so beautiful and full of promising future of happiness… then you make that one wrong choice and puff… that opportunity is gone forever. I know… it certainly wasn’t the first nor would it be the last time I’d make choices like that but nonetheless, I felt like such a fool that I could be so careless. As the battle continues on I came upon another small desert town: Oatman. Although the town didn’t seem like much from first impression, I was glad to have the opportunity to take a break from my tumultuous conscience.

When I got out of my car, I almost stepped on to a pile of smelly excrement from the town’s mascot. Many years ago, Oatman was a gold mining town. And after the gold mines were shut down, the burros used during mining were released into the wild.  Some of the descendents became tourist attractions. The burros come and go as they please around town, leaving smelly piles everywhere.

My first impression of the town was correct. There wasn’t much to do. After reading the sign about the burros, I took some photos around town. As I started to walk back to my car, this burro for some reason decided to follow me. When I got into the car, he still would not leave me alone. He just stood there looking at me with pleading eyes. I told him to go away… I don’t have any food. There were signs all around town warning people about feeding the burros and yet I saw a woman feeding one of the burros her ice cream. The beast still would not give up and thought perhaps he could convince me by sticking his head into the window. Of course being the photographer, I grabbed the camera and shoot — at the same time trying to stay as far back from the beast as I could when he stuck his head further into the car. At this point I wasn’t sure what to do… other than continue to take pictures and ordering him to go away. Then he looked at me for a moment and backed off.

With a sigh of relief I thought he finally took the hint and decided to leave — instead he proceed to eat my car. Hey! I shouted at him. Don’t eat my car! I wanted to reach out and push him away but… just then a man who has watched my comical interaction with this beast came to my rescue. He shoo the burro away from the car long enough for me to escape…

Moonlight Over Sunrise

There are moments in time where even night and day can coexist — to help bring out each other’s true beauty and strength.

Even though the affair maybe brief; it’s the wondrous beauty discovered during that brief encounter you will remember for a life time.

The Aloha Way…

Lately, I’ve been bombarded with people who… let’s just say… makes me wonder about humanity and how cruel people can be.  Perhaps I am just getting old or perhaps the world is changing for the worst as the advance technology created environments that desensitize our compassion and civility.  And then a few days ago, a man name Peter changed my mind and showed me that there is still hope for the world yet…

Peter discovered my restaurant while driving around a couple of weeks ago. He lives in Phoenix and works for a transportation company so occasionally, he would come up to Prescott. We chatted and I found out he was born in Hawaii but raised on the mainland. He was very impressed with my food and took a stack of menu with him. I thought he was nice but didn’t think much about him again. Well, he was so impressed by my food the first time that when he came back to Prescott a few days ago, he stopped by to see me. And after chatting for a bit, somehow the conversation shifted to him volunteering to stand in front of the restaurant’s sidewalk, with him wearing a Hawaiian style straw hat, leis made of shells, holding on to a ukulele he got for Christmas, as he stood in the sweltering heat for almost two hours — waving the restaurant banner at passing cars. The temperature was over a hundred degrees and he stood out there tirelessly, waving and smiling… and surprisingly, most of the drivers wave and smile back. Some even honked their car horn. His kind gesture brought in several customers and made my other wise slow day a lot better. And it wasn’t just the new customers he brought in that made it better; I was completely astonished that a total stranger — out of the blue — would do that for me because he wanted to help me succeed.  His only compensation was iced tea and my whole heart gratitude. He told me that what he did is “THE ALOHA WAY…” it’s their way of paying it forward. The word Aloha means a lot more than just a way for the Hawaiians to greet each other. It is their way of life.

Intrigued by Peter’s explanation of Aloha Way that I Google the term and found an article that explains more in-depth about the word Aloha. Click here to read the article. Besides the common meanings of hello, farewell, and showing love… the word Aloha holds within itself all one needs to know to interact rightfully in the natural world. These insights describe an attitude or way of life sometimes called “The Aloha Spirit” or “The Way of Aloha”. Very interesting article… I love it when I learn something new. And now that I see the word Aloha in a different light, I realized that Peter discovering my restaurant was no coincidence. I believe things happened for a reason — good or bad. Somethings are here to teach us lessons that we will use as we all continue to travel on our personal life journey. I realized that I’ve been trying to live my life the Aloha Way and I guess that’s why I ended up with a Hawaiian style restaurant in a small desert town, five thousand feet above sea level. And the challenges this little restaurant brings are priceless life lessons for me to discover and learn… ALOHA! 🙂

 

Where the Heck Is Spring?

One thing about owning a restaurant… I get to meet a lot of people, share cooking tips, gossips, and get up to date weather report. The other day when someone told me that we were going to get snow, I didn’t want to believe it. After all, it was 70 degrees and sunny outside. Besides, I’m eagerly awaiting for the cactus flowers to bloom. I’ve never seen cactus blooms in the wild and there are quite a few cactus bushes around my wilderness backyard with buds — ready to bloom in a couple of weeks. Well… one thing I am learning about the weather report here… they are very accurate. I woke up yesterday to snow — as they have predicted.

Great… I thought… just what I need when I am trying to get my restaurant going. Anyway, I took the opportunity to use my camera. As I was shooting, the sun came out. I’ve never been in a snow situation where it’s snowing and sunny at the same time. And the thought of perhaps seeing a rainbow came to my mind. I wasn’t sure if snow works the same way as rain and would create a rainbow. Maybe they taught this in my science class and I was daydreaming… which I did a lot when I was in school. Well… I looked and didn’t see any rainbow. But it was still a very pretty experience.

Being At The Right Place At The Right Time

The weather on Saturday was a repeat of last weekend — mostly cloudy, with more chance of rain than sun. At first we thought about going back to the Big Four Ice Caves — but when I saw the name Monte Cristo on the map, not far from Big Four, the name sounds like it might be an adventurous place to explore. It reminded me the book I’ve read long ago: The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. Except we didn’t know this Monte Cristo was a popular gold and silver mining town during the 1890’s. Had I known that, perhaps I wouldn’t have spent so much time shooting along the way. The mining town was about an eight mile hike — round trip. We were probably about a mile and half away from the mine, when we decided to turn back. The sun was setting and since we were way out in the wilderness, it wasn’t safe to hike in the dark on the rugged mountain trails.

But then again, if I had rushed the hike to get to the mining town before dark, I would have missed these photo opportunities. During the hike through the trails, the sun was playing hide and seek. I love looking at the sun rays shining through the forests and the wonderful light it casts on everything.

It was amazing to see the bright and dark contrasting colors as we headed deeper into the wilderness. And then the most breathtaking light I’ve ever seen… a rainbow. But it wasn’t your ordinary rainbow. It was a circular shape. While I have seen some beautiful rainbows in my life but never have I ever seen one that is a complete circle. The subtle rainbow colors were absolutely gorgeous. I was in complete awe of its beauty. I knew I have witnessed a magical moment that I probably won’t get to see again… this is one of those “Being at the right place, at the right time” kind of moment. The rainbow lasted only a few minutes but for me it was enough for a life time. 😀

Photographers Make Lousy Companions

On the way home from our recent road trip to the Big Four Ice Caves, Jean Yves told me he felt alone and neglected. Even though we go on the road trips together but when we arrive at our destination, he always end up having to babysit the furry kids and I’m usually off somewhere else with my camera. I know… I have to admit he’s right. And I have to say he has been quite supportive about my photography addiction and never really complain much… I do spend most of the time exploring on my own with the camera when we are out and about. While I do try to make time to be with him and the furry kids — oftentimes, the addiction to my camera is just too overpowering. It’s so hard for me to not to see something I want to photograph. And yet, it’s difficult for me to concentrate when he waits for me. I do my best work when I’m alone.

As always, we started out walking together and then… as soon as we got to the pond, I took out the tripod. Knowing the routine, Jean Yves and the furry kids went on ahead to see the ice caves. I told him I would take a few pictures and then catch up with them. Of course… as usual… easier said then done. It took me over an hour to walk the short 1 mile trail to the ice caves.  There were so many beautiful and interesting things beckon me to photograph them:

Thick rainforest filled with tall, moss covered trees.

Tiny mushrooms with interesting textures, details and colors.

Cloud covered mountain peaks with water falls.

Finally when I made it to the ice caves, we did explore the area and enjoyed the beautiful scenery together.

I had the intention of walking back with them but… the views going back looks different. With out a word, Jean Yves and the furry kids — once again, headed off with me trailing behind.

YES!  I admit, I make a lousy companion when I have my camera with me. But… I have a feeling I am not alone in this predicament with our domestic partner. 😉