Blue Basin


Blue Basin

Photography and words by
David Alvarado

Big cities were once a place that harbored an energy unparalleled by what I could find in the developed world. Motion, everything was in constant motion. Even the inanimate came to life as millions of people raced through the grid from one place to the next. Who could rest when there are empires to build? After a few years in New York City, I was left emotionally and mentally drained. But in 2014, an escape was discovered in the back of a coach class cabin on a flight to the Pacific Northwest.


Not much time had passed before I threw myself into the elements. Or I should say, before the elements took hold of me. Over the years I became accustomed to the drought that consumed my homeland in the Southwest. Gradients of golden hills and washed out skies quickly transformed into hues of mossy greens and deep turquoise. The overabundance of water flowed everywhere and became the life source for the work I would create. It is water’s unrelenting energy and meditative qualities that compelled me toward finding a similar harmony within my personal and creative lives.

Not too long after the new year, I found myself isolated in the deserts of eastern Oregon. In it’s own reclusion is Blue Basin; a site that calls wanderers like myself out of their comfort zones and into prehistoric landscapes far-removed from civilization. There lie a mixture of colorful strata and a more complex geology. To be in the presence of towering celadonite giants is rather bizarre. Though the basin was formed millions of years ago by a flow of highly pressurized water forcing its way through ash beds of alkaline, that energy still remains. A scientist I am not, but to appreciate such a spectacle doesn’t require the occupation.

Perhaps it’s the absence of water that separates Blue Basin from other monuments found throughout the Pacific Northwest. Or so I thought. Out from under a barren desert floor, a stream of pastel waters penetrated through the surface; a testament to the resiliency of nature. That life source, indeed, will come through in the most unlikely of places.


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