The Tetons and the Snake River (1942) Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Photograph by Ansel Adams. National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the National Park Service. (79-AAG-1)
This image has been living with us for 30+ years in various sizes, as a poster, a calendar, a postcard, currently as a framed print. On the wall in paradise, facing you just as you came inside from the lush green tropical day, in our kitchen above the table where we eat, on a bathroom mirror, in the hall where appointments are recorded on a blackboard, above the piano in the sitting room and now on the wall in my study.
I went through a serious Ansel Adams phase with many more reproductions gracing our walls but this is the one that endured.
I rarely look at it these days. It's of course stunning as ever.
We like to think that it stays here on the wall because of the Golden Record. And the Golden Record is out there aboard the Voyager spacecrafts since 1977, now travelling in interstellar space, 18 billion kilometers from earth. You can track both spacecrafts online.
One day it may arrive somewhere and who knows, the record will be watched and listened to, laughed or shouted at, understood or misunderstood. Carl Sagan and his team, who assembled the contents, included lots of (to us) beautiful stuff: the sounds of wind, volcanoes, waves, thunder, birds, frogs and wild dogs. They gathered 115 images, including a woman breastfeeding, an x-ray of a hand, photos of seashore, sand dunes, fallen leaves, a tree with daffodils, a flying insect with flowers. Music by Mozart and Bach, Chuck Berry and Peruvian pipers, Georgian chants and Indonesian gamelan, Beethoven and Louis Armstrong.
And this photograph by Ansel Adams.
Nothing about genocide, wars, nuclear weapons, plastic inside dead whales, melting polar ice caps, noxious pesticides, bleached coral reefs, gun violence and suicide bombers.
In any case, folks, we are ready. When the first arrivals from outer space walk into our home, they'll recognise this picture and we'll be off the hook. Hopefully. And once we are done with the greetings, there will be a lot to explain.
Meanwhile, I am still struggling with a congested chest and packed sinuses without any proper sign of actual infection/inflammation but exhausted like an old dog and extremely grumpy, increasingly nervous about autoimmune relapse and shit. After breakfast, I shouted at R - only once, I swear - and his endless reassurances about how this will pass and like a stubborn toddler, I shall go to work tomorrow, no matter what. I have long lost any concept of what being fit and healthy should feel like.