You Cannot Improve On It

March 17, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Along the Grand Canyon's North Rim you'll find this plaque marking a point named for Teddy Roosevelt. It's inscribed with something he said about the Canyon just after the turn of the last century (it would become a national park in 1919):

Leave it as it is.
You cannot improve on it.
The ages have been at work on it,
and men can only mar it.
What you can do is to keep it for your children,
your children's children,
and for all who come after you,
as the one great sight
which every American...should see.

The Grand Canyon is most definitely a treasure. The same is true of all our national parks, forests, and other protected land. The beauty of places like the Canyon, Arches, Yosemite and the Smokies is undeniable - and the fact that they've been untouched by development makes them all the more special.

All of nature is precious: a tremendous gift. Not only wonderful to observe, it's also a tonic - both physically and mentally.

Have you ever wondered why landscape images started showing up on the walls of so many doctor's offices, clinics and hospitals? Those types of Sweeping ArcsSweeping ArcsAbove and below, in reverse directions

Vishnu Temple - North Rim
Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
visuals can have a positive impact on patient recovery time. Studies going back at least as far as 2014 quantify the therapeutic benefits of such scenes. 

Outdoor photographers are fortunate to spend so much time in the natural world. While we're out there working, nature is working on us: energizing, calming, clearing the mind. It inspires awe. It fills us with appreciation and gratitude. As an added bonus, the more we slow down and allow ourselves to get in sync with our surroundings, the better our images will be. We notice more things. Explore more. The landscape guides us if we let it.

The dark side of humanity shows itself all too often (we need look no further than the last two years for proof). Added to the other inevitable adversities in life, one can feel overwhelmed.

I find nature to be an antidote to that. It might only be temporary, but it's a good start.

Nature doesn't lie, cheat or steal. It's not hypocritical. It doesn't have an agenda. It can be tough and demanding and dangerous at times, but it never acts out of spite or with malice. It just "is." I'd rather be spending time in nature than just about anywhere else.

Obviously you don't need to be a photographer to reap the benefits of the natural world and a far-flung destination isn't a prerequisite. A state park, a local nature preserve, the shore - even your own gardens will do just fine.

Treat yourself. As often as possible.


In Local News

Our snow deficit continues. The mountains have received fresh powder over the past two weeks with a few of those storms leaving behind accumulations down to 4800 feet, but that hasn't been enough to make a material difference in terms of snowpack.

Plowing of the interior roads within Grand Teton National Park began on Monday. The Inner Loop Road won't open to vehicle traffic for quite a while yet but that's one of the early signs of spring.

Yellowstone is now closed to over-snow travel and also preparing the roads for vehicle traffic (the West Entrance is scheduled to open Easter weekend). 

Grizzlies are emerging from hibernation in both local parks, which is about a month earlier than normal. The first sighting in Yellowstone was on March 7th; in Grand Teton it was this past Sunday.


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