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Old 11-14-2017, 08:12 PM
Small Hen Small Hen is offline
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What is the Most Beautiful Thing You Have Ever Seen?

I asked myself this question just now, and it's surprisingly hard to qualify, depending on where I was in my life. For example, at twelve, I went to Montana for a month to visit extended family, and my breath caught in my throat at the scenery - majestic mountain lakes, forest streams, summer green pine woods and fields, small colorful towns at the base of snowcapped Rockies - I treasure memories of that trip twenty years later. If I had to put a single image to that month, it would be my seventeen year old cousins setting off Forth of July sparkler bombs at the edge of a 75 foot tall grove of trees, beside a quick flowing stream.

A year later, I was a sullen thirteen year old, standing at the lip of the Grand Canyon. A day and a half in Dad's Volvo, five seater to five family members, and I could not give less of a shit. We were en-rout to Vegas, and I was tired, hot, car sick, and wanted to sleep. The sun was setting over the most gorgeous site in the country, and I have no memories of any awe. It must have been gorgeous, but I feel like I haven't really seen it.

The winner might be Yosemite Park in January, sitting with my best friend in a huge mountain lodge, sipping hot coco as snow flurries fell outside of fifteen foot high, picturesque windows beside us. Even thinking back to it now it doesn't seem like it could have been real, it was so peaceful.

I tend toward landscapes, but I'm not certainly not limiting answers to them.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:21 PM
HoneyBadgerDC HoneyBadgerDC is online now
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I couldn't begin to answer that question. Natural things tend to attract me most but I constantly find myself marveling at the beauty of something. I just wish I would have traveled more in my life.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:23 PM
Beckdawrek Beckdawrek is online now
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When my son walked out of the jetway, coming home from Afghanistan, his 2 younger sisters were nearly climbing the walls to get to him. That was the most beautiful thing, as he dropped his seabag and jumped the rope and picked them both up at once, tears were running, I tell ya. They got applause in the airport! Of course they were bickering before we got home.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 11-14-2017 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 08:25 PM
The Stainless Steel Rat The Stainless Steel Rat is offline
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So many memories...

I could pick the Grand Tetons, reflecting perfectly off a clear mountain lake, or the Grand Canyon (go back sometime, it truly is Grand), Urulu (used to be called Ayers Rock) or the herd of buffalo passing my car at literally arm's length in Yellowstone, and enough waterfalls on five continents to amaze and astound...

But I think I would have to say the dawn flight on a hot air balloon over the Masai Maru in Kenya, seeing the sun rise over the vast herds of East Africa, seeing them start and run from the shadow we were casting, hearing the grunts of thousands upon thousands of Wildebeest, seeing the pride of lions circled about their early-morning kill...Nothing is going to beat that in my memory...but I've still got some traveling to do, so you never know...
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:11 PM
JackieLikesVariety JackieLikesVariety is offline
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Sangre De Cristo mountain range, south west of Pueblo Colorado
  #6  
Old 11-14-2017, 09:13 PM
Trinopus Trinopus is offline
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The Babbage Difference Engine...

My Grandmother's old gold-and-brass carriage clock...

My Grandmother's old gold-and-brass music box...

(I'm a real sucker for "gear-punk.")
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:17 PM
Gatopescado Gatopescado is online now
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Trixie dog.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:19 PM
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Came out the back door one morning and my Welsh pony had foaled. The colt was just standing on four long, thin, wobbly legs and boy was he beautiful.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:33 PM
purplehearingaid purplehearingaid is offline
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I was going to check out a cabin to rent near Whitethorn Ca. the cabin was on dirt road and it been raining a lot . That the end of the road there was a cliff and there a small waterfall was falling over the cliff forming a small pool
of water and a deer was drinking from the pool. I was hooked and rented the cabin. The other beautiful I saw in the mountain was a moon beam , the air was on clean you could see the moon beam ,this was the only time I saw this . And my new born baby !
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:35 PM
Backwater Under_Duck Backwater Under_Duck is offline
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Simply too many. Bryce Canyon overloads the meter. But I was just at a Renoir exhibit in DC. Looking off the rise of the Organ Mountains down to the Mesilla valley in New Mexico. Moonrise over Shaw Bay in the Wye river, Eastern shore of Maryland. You just can't get it down to one.
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Old 11-14-2017, 09:51 PM
blondebear blondebear is online now
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Ever? No way I could pick just one thing.

Most recently though, I got a real sense of peace and beauty on this rather mundane stretch of trail at Pinnacles National Park last weekend: On the Bear Gulch Trail
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:06 PM
Leaffan Leaffan is online now
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Undoubtedly the Caesarian birth of my daughter.

It was fascinating and wonderful. Through all the blood and guts I got handed this little human being who I co-created.

She came out of her mother crying and peeing, and was wrapped in a towel and handed to me right away.

My heart grew three times bigger at that moment.

Last edited by Leaffan; 11-14-2017 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 11-14-2017, 10:14 PM
kopek kopek is offline
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The obvious one is my wife. The second would be the sunrise at the one history event I did where no signs of modern civilization were visible at all.
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Old 11-14-2017, 11:28 PM
teela brown teela brown is offline
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A big, fat, silver full moon hovering slightly over the ocean's horizon off the big island of Hawai'i. It was a clear night and the ocean was calm, and the dappled streaky reflection seemed hundreds of miles long.
  #15  
Old 11-15-2017, 12:06 AM
Senegoid Senegoid is offline
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Can't be sure of what I remember over the past many years, but recently just this past summer:

Lake Tahoe and surrounding pine-forested mountains (Truckee area), as seen from 16,500 feet in a sailplane. Totally spectacular!

Not my pictures, but similar from a web site I found:

Northstar ski resort, top center, Lake Tahoe at upper left, campground where I stayed this summer in the pine grove at lower left:
http://www.swaynemartin.com/wp-conte...08/Truckee.jpg

High-performance sailplane over the mountains. The glider I flew resembled this one. (No, I didn't fly it alone. I was either with another pilot or with an instructor):
http://www.swaynemartin.com/wp-conte...8/DSC_0255.jpg

Lake Tahoe:
http://www.swaynemartin.com/wp-conte...8/DSC_0213.jpg

Source sites for these pictures and more:
http://www.swaynemartin.com/trips/ai...rport-ca-ktrk/
http://www.swaynemartin.com/post-for...lake-tahoe-ca/

ETA: Oh, and there was that flight where we saw a lightning storm from our front-row seats at 12,000 feet. Wish we had a GoPro running for that one!
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Last edited by Senegoid; 11-15-2017 at 12:09 AM.
  #16  
Old 11-15-2017, 01:00 AM
GuanoLad GuanoLad is online now
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I am from New Zealand. It's hard to pin down one spot, but when I was 12, our School Trip was a week in the "wilderness", two days of which was a hike through the Rees Valley. I was too young to properly appreciate it, as having lived amongst the rolling hills and mountains it didn't seem all that special, but now I am desperate to one day go back and relive the adventure.
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Old 11-15-2017, 01:54 AM
TruCelt TruCelt is offline
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I have this amazing photo of the Celtling as a toddler. She is just coming up out of a ball pit, and her face is just pure joy and delight at where she is and playing with Mommy.

When I'm ready to just give up on the world that image keeps me going.
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Old 11-15-2017, 02:52 AM
Iggy Iggy is offline
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Being inside a shoal of silverside fish within caverns off East End, Grand Cayman while scuba diving. The sunlight pierces through holes in the top of the caverns lighting up the shoal as tarpon dart through trying to take a meal. It is sort of an ethereal light that glints off both predator and prey casting an amazing show along the cavern walls.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:39 AM
MrDibble MrDibble is offline
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A petri dish full of foraminifera under a binocular microscope.
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Old 11-15-2017, 03:48 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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I resolved that I would think about this until I wept, and then blow my nose and write my report. Here it is: The sound and smell and feel of summer nights in The South in the 1940s.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-15-2017 at 03:50 AM.
  #21  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:00 AM
Robot Arm Robot Arm is offline
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I can think of a few.

I was in Germany for three months and did weekend trips to several different cities. I took the overnight train to Paris. Got in early in the morning (it was November), took the subway to my hotel and dropped of my suitcase, and walked a couple hundred meters to the Arc de Triomphe. The sun had just come up, but the day was drizzly and overcast. And then the sun must have found a break in the clouds because this incredible, warm, red light came in underneath the clouds. In that moment I knew why artists have flocked there for centuries. It lasted about 30 seconds and then it was gone. I had time for two pictures (1, 2); I've tried to correct the color to be more like what I saw, but it's just not even close. And no, I'm not a sucky photographer; the other half of the Arc de Triomphe had scaffolding around it.

In my flying days I did an evening flight to a large, but not terribly crowded airport. Had a little time on the ground and got ready to fly home. I had to get directions through the sea of blue lights that marked the taxiways. On the takeoff, there were a lot of bright lights at the far end of the runway. I took off, made a left turn, and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness it felt like I was flying into the stars.

After a very difficult sailing trip in the North Atlantic we got to St. Kitts on the day before Christmas. I knew some of my shipmates were leaving and I wanted to get some part of the ship cleaned up a bit so I got the Brasso and polished the ship's bell. Took three hours, but it was absolutely gleaming. We sailed around to the leeward side of the island. I was in the rigging furling the sails; it was sunny and warm, seemed like I could see the whole Caribbean reflected in the bell, someone pointed next to the ship and in the clear water I could see a sea turtle swimming.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Small Hen View Post
A year later, I was a sullen thirteen year old, standing at the lip of the Grand Canyon. A day and a half in Dad's Volvo, five seater to five family members, and I could not give less of a shit. We were en-rout to Vegas, and I was tired, hot, car sick, and wanted to sleep. The sun was setting over the most gorgeous site in the country, and I have no memories of any awe. It must have been gorgeous, but I feel like I haven't really seen it.
I've been down in the Canyon. It's a whole new perspective to feel what it does to your body when you hike across it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
ETA: Oh, and there was that flight where we saw a lightning storm from our front-row seats at 12,000 feet. Wish we had a GoPro running for that one!
I saw a thunderstorm from the window seat in an airliner once. It was like flashbulbs going off under a layer of cotton. My dad was with me; he was a pilot his whole career and said he'd never seen anything like it.
  #22  
Old 11-15-2017, 04:29 AM
jtur88 jtur88 is offline
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Oh, I have a recent one. I flew over the coast of Greenland last year, on a rare perfectly clear sunny day, right over that massive glacier on the southeast coast. Go to Google satellite view, you'll see the one Im talking about. hundreds of arena-sized icebergs calving into the ocean along about 50 miles of coastline. I was the only passenger who saw it -- everybody else had their window shade down so they could sleep or look at their critically essential devices. I saw basically the same view, same scale, as the google satellite image. I felt so privileged.
  #23  
Old 11-15-2017, 05:16 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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My baby brother.
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  #24  
Old 11-15-2017, 07:17 AM
Smeghead Smeghead is offline
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Originally Posted by Leaffan View Post
Undoubtedly the Caesarian birth of my daughter.

It was fascinating and wonderful. Through all the blood and guts I got handed this little human being who I co-created.
I don't know about beautiful, but I remember holding my daughter for the first time. There was a semi-detached scientist part of my brain observing, and I remember thinking, "Wow, I wish I had someone taking a blood sample, because there are some seriously unusual hormones flooding me right now."
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  #25  
Old 11-15-2017, 09:17 AM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Hoo-boy, a lot come to mind. A few:

Victoria Falls
Matanuska Glacier in the fall sunshine
Ngorngoro Crater
Antelope Canyon, AZ
Most of the national parks, but especially Bryce, Katmai, Denali, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, and Yosemite
The pyramids and sphinx of Giza
The Matterhorn on a flawless sunny day
Migrating animals on the Serengeti Plain

I've really been fortunate in my life.
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Old 11-15-2017, 10:45 AM
John DiFool John DiFool is offline
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I like to go for long drives in the mid/late afternoon.

Just this year I've gotten 4 doozies:

A gibbous moon rising inside a rainbow

A vivid deep orange and then red irisation on top of a rain cloud

ORANGE rain right at sunset-it was falling between me and the setting sun

A sky chock full of towering cumulus stretching to the horizon in a crystal clear sky as I drove west. Only gas concerns kept me from driving further.
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Last edited by John DiFool; 11-15-2017 at 10:45 AM.
  #27  
Old 11-15-2017, 10:49 AM
Patx2 Patx2 is offline
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Actually seeing my daughter for the first time. After a 16 month adoption process and only seeing pictures, I cried tears of joy the moment I first saw her and that was awhile before I even got to hold her.
  #28  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:04 AM
stolatt stolatt is offline
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The Diego Rivera murals at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

The view of Lake Michigan we found by accident by wanting to find out what would be at the end of a street called Red Apple Road.

The military ceremony for my father in law.
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:09 AM
QuickSilver QuickSilver is offline
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1) First in the early morning atop of Smuggler's Notch in the glades after a fresh snowfall. Perfect silence. As if I was the only person in the world. I held my breath to take it all in. Then laid down first tracks.
2) A pretty hull. A well trimmed sail.
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Last edited by QuickSilver; 11-15-2017 at 11:11 AM.
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:10 AM
gnoitall gnoitall is online now
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My children, sleeping.

A dark eastern Montana night sky filled with violet lightning from a dramatic horizon-to-horizon thunderstorm descending from the Rocky Mountain foothills.

Cherry blossoms in the grounds of Zōjō-ji in Tokyo against gentle grey rain clouds, piled on the brown earth, dusting the Jizō statues.

Last edited by gnoitall; 11-15-2017 at 11:10 AM.
  #31  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:17 AM
Napier Napier is offline
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Wow...

My high school lover, when she arrived one evening in the fresh snow.

The Milky Way, from a ferry traveling to Nantucket where I was about to start a job in an observatory.

"E = m c^2" at the end of a long derivation of Einstein's theory of special relativity, which we all had to work through.

Sunlight through the woods on a hike, any number of times.

Waves of wind propagating through a lazy summer field.

How can one choose?
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:29 AM
Shoeless Shoeless is offline
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The first thing that popped into my head... the last morning of a trip my wife and I took to Yellowstone several years ago. We were on the deck of the lodge at Lake Yellowstone having coffee. There was a slight mist in the air and the surface of the lake was perfectly still, like glass. I tried to snap a couple of photos but they don't do justice to how amazing it looked IRL. For all of the incredible things we saw in Yellowstone on that trip, that's one of the sights that really stands out in my memory.
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Old 11-15-2017, 11:37 AM
madmonk28 madmonk28 is offline
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A couple that came to mind, the night sky in the mountains in Afghanistan with not a single artificial light source for miles and earlier this summer when I was fly fishing around dawn and I looked up from tying on a fly to see a black bear crossing the stream right where I was standing, not 10 feet away.
  #34  
Old 11-15-2017, 02:26 PM
cmkeller cmkeller is online now
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The obvious answer is my wife and children, and I'm absolutely sincere when I say it's them, but it's also a bit hackneyed.

I am a great lover of natural wonders, and I've found the Grand Canyon, Arches National Park, and Carlsbad Caverns to be breathtaking. But there's one particular view I've always considered most beautiful, though it's man-made. When driving east on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at night, just past the Atlantic Avenue exit, you're treated to this gorgeous panorama of the lit-up skyline of downtown Manhattan, with the lit-up Brooklyn Bridge to its right. I've always loved that view.

One other thing that's up there for me is the beauty of the Louisiana swamp, as seen from a boat tour in Breaux Bridge. The way the light filters through the canopy of trees, plus the hanging Spanish moss, and the big yellow lilies in the water...this was a tour we took on a two-week road trip that included stops in nine different states, and my entire family considers that to have been the highlight.
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  #35  
Old 11-15-2017, 03:13 PM
MikeF MikeF is offline
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Well, Mr Dribble beat me to my first choice ;>) but, after that, the Grand Canyon (from the bottom while rafting over 7 days) and Yosemite Valley.
  #36  
Old 11-15-2017, 03:32 PM
Hari Seldon Hari Seldon is offline
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I was on a long walk in Kyoto with my Japanese friend and we wandered into a temple; IIRC, it was called Chion-In and I was just staggered by the inner temple, which I was not allowed to enter, but could only gaze at. Unbelievably beautiful.

Then there was this view of the pink hills as we drove into Sedona, AZ near sunset. Mind-blowingly beautiful.
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:17 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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I've never seen anything that I consider beautiful. I just don't seem to be wired that way.
  #38  
Old 11-15-2017, 05:22 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
I've never seen anything that I consider beautiful. I just don't seem to be wired that way.
How about awe-inspiring?
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:28 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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How about awe-inspiring?
Nope. Things I see tend to elicit little or no emotional reaction in me at all. (Smells and sounds have more of an impact - particularly bad smells or sounds. But sights? Meh.)
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Old 11-15-2017, 05:43 PM
PapSett PapSett is offline
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This is something that I will remember on my death bed and smile.

Summer of 1978. I had my first horse and a group of us at the stable I boarded at got together for a night time trail ride. There was a big full moon and millions of stars in the sky. We came to the edge of the woods where a huge meadow stretched out in front of us, sloping downhill to the big lake. we all just stopped and were totally silent.

The hill was COVERED with fireflies. Literally covered. And everything- fireflies, moon and stars, were all reflected in the lake. I was breathless. I will never forget it. Ever.
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  #41  
Old 11-15-2017, 06:15 PM
SpoilerVirgin SpoilerVirgin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blondebear View Post
Most recently though, I got a real sense of peace and beauty on this rather mundane stretch of trail at Pinnacles National Park last weekend: On the Bear Gulch Trail
I came in here to say exactly the same thing! I first hiked the Bear Gulch Trail 40 years ago, and have remembered its beauty ever since. I got to hike it again several months ago, and it still awes me.
  #42  
Old 11-15-2017, 06:37 PM
beowulff beowulff is offline
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Originally Posted by PapSett View Post
This is something that I will remember on my death bed and smile.

Summer of 1978. I had my first horse and a group of us at the stable I boarded at got together for a night time trail ride. There was a big full moon and millions of stars in the sky. We came to the edge of the woods where a huge meadow stretched out in front of us, sloping downhill to the big lake. we all just stopped and were totally silent.

The hill was COVERED with fireflies. Literally covered. And everything- fireflies, moon and stars, were all reflected in the lake. I was breathless. I will never forget it. Ever.
Wow.
  #43  
Old 11-15-2017, 07:43 PM
Chefguy Chefguy is online now
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Originally Posted by begbert2 View Post
Nope. Things I see tend to elicit little or no emotional reaction in me at all. (Smells and sounds have more of an impact - particularly bad smells or sounds. But sights? Meh.)
Did you suffer psychological trauma at some point in your life? I'm not being a smart-ass; it's a valid cause of emotional detachment.
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Old 11-15-2017, 08:16 PM
begbert2 begbert2 is offline
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Did you suffer psychological trauma at some point in your life? I'm not being a smart-ass; it's a valid cause of emotional detachment.
Not that I'm aware of, and as best I can tell I'm not emotionally detached. If I had to analyze myself I'd speculate that I'm just highly analytic - When I look at something I notice the facts about the thing to the degree that it precludes bothering to pretend there's anything else there. I see a big mountain: "Huh. A big mountain." I see a grove of trees: "Huh. A grove of trees." I see a bunch of fireflies: "Huh, a bunch of fireflies. Why am I outside again?"
  #45  
Old 11-15-2017, 08:28 PM
JerrySTL JerrySTL is offline
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Cannon AFB and Clovis, New Mexico in my rear view mirror.
  #46  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:13 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackieLikesVariety View Post
Sangre De Cristo mountain range, south west of Pueblo Colorado
Oh my God, yes.

Some years ago (like twenty), on a long, multi-week motorcycle ramble around the US, I left the Grand Canyon at the crack of dawn. Rode east, crossed the Navajo and Ute lands, rode through the Rio Grande National Forest, and over the Sangre de Cristos. Came down on the east side, and actually saw cowboys riding herd. Amazing. One of the best days on a bike in my whole life.

Last edited by Saintly Loser; 11-15-2017 at 11:17 PM.
  #47  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:15 PM
Saintly Loser Saintly Loser is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmkeller View Post
But there's one particular view I've always considered most beautiful, though it's man-made. When driving east on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway at night, just past the Atlantic Avenue exit, you're treated to this gorgeous panorama of the lit-up skyline of downtown Manhattan, with the lit-up Brooklyn Bridge to its right. I've always loved that view.
Me too. Maybe that's why I live right there, exactly where you're talking about.
  #48  
Old 11-15-2017, 11:27 PM
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Mary Jo Kopecki smiling and taking her shirt off.
  #49  
Old 11-16-2017, 09:20 AM
Annie-Xmas Annie-Xmas is offline
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Seeing a friend five month's after her son was the victim of a murder/suicide by his father. Seeing n obviously pregnant friend!
  #50  
Old 11-16-2017, 09:52 AM
DesertDog DesertDog is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Mesa, Ariz.
Posts: 3,343
I was at a convention in Seattle and there was an out-of-the-hotel event, a Puget Sound dinner cruise, so a bunch of us were waiting right at sunset for transport down the hill to the waterfront. It was clear sky to the west and everything to the south was that liquid purple you get at dusk, except for Mount Ranier which was painted gold-orange. We all stood transfixed for the minute or so it took for the gold to fade.
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