Black Sand Basin

Black Sand Basin
The earth heaves up boiling water and steam, and from these mist coalesces, drifts with the light wind. We walk out over the simmering pools lined with vibrantly coloured minerals and flecked with obsidian, giving the basin its name. Vapour rises all around us. Every now and again, a burst of trapped air escapes, jetting sprays of searingly hot water well above our heads, and fortunately well away from the viewing platform built right over the bubbling land.

Where the earth goes primal like this it’s hard to imagine how we ever found a place on it. We. Us. Life. Anything more complex than the algae and bacteria which resist the intense heat and chemistry. The colours are equally intense, so beautiful, cobalts, verdigris, ambers. And the chemicals which create them are so unfriendly to organisms with the power to create beauty in their minds. Yet this is the kind of place life first came to be.

“Do not linger in the mist,” signs warn. Even the air is rendered unhealthy. There are few places where the power and age of Earth is rendered this real, this present. So, I linger. She lingers with me. Both of us in awe.

Black Sand Basin
Yellowstone National Park
Wyoming, United States of America

Taken while travelling, 1996

A response to this week’s One Word Photo Challenge: Hot.

Originally, I wanted to post this for last week’s WordPress Photo Challenge, Enveloped. Couldn’t find the image in time.

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