Vision of America Award Named in Caleb and Linda Pirtle Travel Photography Contest
September 27, 2012
PAM HARRELL’S PORTRAIT OF A LONELY MOUNTAIN ROAD LEADING, IT SEEMS, TO NOWHERE IS NAMED WINNER OF THE VISION OF AMERICA AWARD IN THE VENTURE GALLERIES TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST.
There was beauty upon the land.
It rose to touch the sky hanging atop the mountains, tall and proud.
The colors of the trees change.
But the beauty remains.
Atop the ground.
And below it.
So many searched the good Colorado earth for gold.
And they found it.
In this part of the world, the ground did not hold so much gold.
It held marble.
And men removed great chunks and hauled the marble to the National Mall in Washington, D. C., using it to sculpt the Lincoln Memorial.
Pam Harrell has always been smitten by the high country of Colorado, and back within the lost valleys of the mountains, she rounded a bend and, down a narrow stretch of a winding and forgotten roadway, she saw this vision of the great American landscape.
The photograph she took is a reverent depiction of man’s meager attempt to co-exist with the rugged highlands that surround it.
What mankind built remains.
For the moment.
But it will crumble far quicker than the mountains.
And only a lonely road will lead to a place where man has walked, and soon, it, too, will be taken by the leaves and erased by the trees. Nature reclaims its own when man has walked away.
Even the scars in the earth are healed.
Pam Harrell recalls. “We were staying in a quaint and peaceful little cabin in Redstone, Colorado. On one of our day trips, we drove to the very small community of Marble, the home to a fairly large marble quarry. It was locally owned for many years, but I understand that in the last few years it has been purchased by an Italian company.
“The marble is beautifully veined and often colorful.
“The road up to the quarry is narrow and indescribably breathtaking, especially In the fall. (Aspens are my favorite trees. Their color is stunning in the autumn, and I love the sound of the whispering leaves in the wind. I also love the bark of the tree. It has so much character.)
“As we returned from viewing what we could see of the quarry, I was struck by the appearance of undisturbed fall color both on the trees and in the roadway. And the canopy of yellow created the feeling of being insulated from the world.
“The road is certainly still in use for removing the marble from the quarry and for the occasional tourist, but it struck me that the serenity of this place is pervasive and the feeling of solitude is never far away, even when I know that the business of life is close at hand and never stops.
“This area of Colorado is a favorite vacation spot of ours. We have been here several times and never tire of its quaintness, grandeur, and solitude. It is about thirty miles south of Glenwood Springs and about forty-five miles west of Aspen.
“No matter what time of the year we visit, the experience never disappoints. As a matter of fact, it is renewing every time.
“It is my hope that anyone who sees the photographs I take from these trips can escape for a moment into its remote and tranquil beauty.”