Repost from @ryansmithfineartphoto - Having visited this area in the remote desert now several times, its no surprise that this specific scene seems to always stand out to me especially under the night sky.
To The Maya as well as other significant cultures around the world, the Turtle alongside the Tree ( the Milkyway ) is one of the most meaningful and symbolic scenes depicted from ancient times. One can find a significant array of ancient depictions and motifs showing the turtle and the tree together as well as Turtle Alters such as in Copan known as "The Cosmic Turtle". The turtle is a totem for the the earth and the tree is totem for the milkyway which also is known as the portal from where all life originated from. Its also known as the portal where the gods communicate.
The Turtle in addition to representing earth is also symbol of finding inner wisdom, spiritual meaning of vast journeys and trusting in the divine path.
In Maya mythology, the First Father ( The Maize God ) is depicted as emerging or resurrecting through the shell of a turtle, symbolizing the earth. This reborn or resurrected figure is also solar, associated later with the feathered serpent, ( Quetzalcoatl/Kukulkan ) The motif symbolizes the solar “awakening” of the all-important and sacred maize shoot from the seed. This plant represents the World Tree, which is in turn the Milky Way in Mesoamerican mythology.
Interestingly, in Hindu mythology, the solar god Vishnu is portrayed as standing on the back of a turtle (himself) while churning the Milky Way using a serpent wrapped around the World Mountain (Mandara). Now you may know why this scene holds so much intrigue as I visit it every time I'm in this area.
Just as the Sea Turtle takes its journey surrendering to the tides to take her where they may, its a reminder for us to enjoy the journey, trust the currents, and to recognize the serendipitous events along the way.
Rare conditions finally lined up at Baker for me to get a shot I've been envisioning for a couple years now. And then instagram goes and ruins it with a 4x5 crop 🤣🤣 For a few days a year this shot is possible if a number of factors come together. First off, you need a new moon shortly after daylight savings, giving you a few days where the vertical milkyway alignment is still possible in November with a dark sky. Then you obviously need fresh snow which at this time of the year is usually the first heavy snowfall of the season. Finally, you need a clear day that isn’t windy and is cold enough the snow doesn’t melt or blow off the trees and stays clear throughout the night so you can actually see the stars...pretty difficult task during November, in the mountains, in the PNW. Plus probably a few other criteria I’m forgetting. It’s also interested that while Baker definitely doesn’t have the darkest skies around, I don’t remember there being that much light pollution, so I’m curious if the snow reflects enough light to make a difference. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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