Big Bend Zen (David Warren)

Extreme rain falling in the Big Bend. The landscape seemed to come straight from a Chinese scroll painting.

Eye of the Rabbit

“Photography is a lie!” declared my college professor. The overall scene is edited down to what the artist selects to be viewed; therefore the whole is not revealed. But places like Big Bend can push us to try to pass those limits. Few people know the ironic experience of a flooding deluge in this desert park. That’s why I took this picture. This desert is unforgiving, hot and deadly. It is not uncommon to learn of the tragic end of a visitor who did not have enough water.

Big Bend National Park is one of the few places on earth one can actually find near absolute silence. Situated in the vast Chihuahuan desert are mountains that hide a conifer/oak forest high above. There is no commercial air traffic overhead, save for an occasional tourist plane. Whether you are up in the mountains or out in the desert, you hear only wind, wildlife, and when those are still, then you can hear the pulse in your own head. There are views of incomprehensible distances into Mexico when there is no air pollution or rain.

Nature does not respect Man’s artificial boundaries or expectations. When in Big Bend, you not only watch the sunset, you become part of the sunset. You are whatever the elements make you. Embrace the dirt. Play in rain. Melt with snow. I forget how many times I have visited Big Bend. I return over and over, yet it is never the same experience. It is and always will be, yet ever changing in its own time and its own way. This is also what Zazen is for me.  —David Warren

Maligned animals are of personal interest. Rattlesnakes and vultures are not bad critters, and rabbits can defend themselves. The “eye” painting is an autobiographical piece which attempts to defy dualistic thought about animals.

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