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A Photo is Worth 1000 Songs: Stand Strong – The Ponderosas & Hoodoos of Bryce Canyon

The long distant views in Bryce Canyon National Park will take your breath away. Copper-colored cliffs stretch as far as the eye can see, their brilliant hue and jagged shapes accentuated by lingering patches of bright white snow that sparkle under the blazing sun. A granite arch curls majestically over a steep incline, so sublime it could be CGI from a scene of Lord of the Rings. Pine trees protrude regally from beneath the drifts, casting irregular Kokopelli-esque shadows on the milky snowfall, creating a kaleidoscopic effect.

In the more immediate vicinity, one navigates through the narrow crevasses of the slot canyons, flanked by imposing monolithic walls. Their sheer mass and tight proximity largely block the sun, creating dim pockets of cool air—not that it discourages the heartiest of ponderosas from flourishing.  

With a display that gives meaning to the word grit, these determined saplings beat all odds. First finding a slice of soft earth in which to sprout, then, over the course of time, they bend roots and twist trunks to not only sustain life, but to thrive and conquer in the least advantageous conditions.    

In a similar demonstration of adaptability, the striking hoodoos come into existence by enduring over 200 freeze/thaw cycles each year. These curious stone structures resist a constant barrage of sun, wind and water to form their unique shapes, capturing the attention and admiration of Bryce’s visitors.

Wah nuh kill fatten…

By and large, the human experience is difficult. Perhaps we can draw inspiration from the fascinating features of Bryce Canyon as we maneuver through the disappointments, challenges, sadness, pain and unfortunate ugliness that we are often faced with.

Thankfully, life is not without glory. Behold the instances of success, pleasure, peace and joy, and try to take satisfaction from service to others, whether it be through work, friendships, family or even strangers.  Embrace these blessings, however insignificant they may seem, and have the courage to live and love, grow and learn.

Bryce Canyon reminds us that, despite the harshest of environments, with resilience and fortitude comes beauty.

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Ever since becoming deeply moved and then essentially obsessed with reggae music as a teenager, Dave has always strove to learn as much as possible about the history and culture of reggae music, Jamaica and Rastafari, the ideology and lifestyle intertwined with reggae. 

Over the years, he has interviewed many personalities throughout the reggae world including Ziggy Marley, Burning Spear, Lucky Dube, Bradley Nowell and many artists in the progressive roots scene.

Dave has also written and published a novel, “The Cosmic Burrito,” a tale of two friends who drive across the USA in search of the ultimate burrito. He plays ice hockey weekly for a recreational team he founded and manages, Team Rasta.

Reggae music has filled his life with a richness for which he will forever be grateful, and he gives thanks to musicians far and wide, past and present, whether they perform roots, dub, dancehall, skinhead, rocksteady or ska, whether their tools are analog or digital, as well as the producers, promoters, soundsystems, selectors and the reggae massive at large who comprise the international reggae community.

You can follow Dave on Instagram at @rootsdude and Twitter at @ElCosmicBurrito.