Conservationists and environmentalists everywhere continue to celebrate “The Timeless Moment”!
On May 21, 2014, the Organ Mountains – Desert Peaks National Monument near Las Cruces New Mexico was officially designated and signed into law by President Obama. The Monument embraces nearly 500,000 acres of rugged desert mountain topography, thus protecting the landscape from commercial assault and development, presumably for perpetuity. “President Obama used his authority under the Antiquities Act to protect Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks . . . The campaign to protect the area, which will include wildlands perfect for hiking, camping and hunting, was driven by local governments, tribal leaders, ranchers, sportsmen and conservation groups.”
I recently ran across an exquisite description of the magnificence implicit in this “Timeless Moment”, a photo-essay entitled, coincidentally, “The Timeless Moment”. The work is a joint project by world famous nature and landscape photographer David Muench who, along with his wife, accomplished author/essayist Ruth Rudner, visited the Organ Mountains in March, 2014 when the area was still only a ‘proposed’ National Monument. The details of their traverse are beautifully descriptive via select photographs embedded within the narrative, itself a personal account: a melding of Muench’s images with Rudner’s words.
When we finally move on, heading downhill on a trail bound by massive rock forms the whole way, it’s like walking through a sculpture garden of undulating forms and the skeletal arms of winter’s oaks. An occasional cholla reminds me I’m in the desert.
There’s an excitement about wandering through an area worthy of protection that goes beyond the wonder and delight of entering into its wild magnificence, becoming, instead, a connection with the whole of America’s wildness.
Rudner also describes the personal nature of the photo-essay’s “The Timeless Moment” title when she writes:
Photography has a singular ability to present both the grandeur and the subtle nuances of nature’s power in a way that transmits this moment for all time. David calls this the “timeless moment,” the moment between past and future stopped—in the moment—by the camera.
Muench has long indeed been the absolute master of capturing that “timeless moment” via his camera, as evidenced here on his website where much of his work is on display, including at the forefront a 1986 photo taken in the Organ Mtns. Wilderness: That Timeless Moment Preserved.
Perhaps we dare hope that now, at least in the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument (!!) the meaning of “Timeless Moment” may well have been infinitely expanded!