A wealth of brilliant white in the monochrome leaves over a dark ravine.

The quiet of the valley filled her. The luminosity of each leaf softened the smoldering within. Her spear nearly slipped from her fingers as she took in the wondrous sight, but she reflexively clamped down before her weapon shifted its weight. She wouldn’t dare show such disrespect to the great spirits, not after the many seasons of her journey, not after the visions and signs they used to bring her forth, not after the determination that made her leave her tribe.

Perhaps she could now find forgiveness. She reflected on years of refusal, humiliation, and disrespect. She all-too-clearly felt each order back to woman’s work, back to servitude, no matter her fighting skill, in spite of her hunting prowess. She gritted her teeth. Perhaps it was better to find vindication.

She was destined to be a warrior, to fight with honor, to defend with pride. If her tribe wouldn’t recognize and cultivate her skill, then she would wait until the great spirits did. Until old age took her, she would wait. Until the crystalline leaves overhead grew dull and fell, she would wait. Until ocean or ice or flame consumed the land, she would wait.

Respectful and grateful, but no less determined, was her descent into the valley. She set her supplies and spear before an ancient, fallen tree, knelt before it, and began to clear her heart and mind.

Taken during an extended stay at Starved Rock State Park in Utica, IL, USA.

Mamiya RB 67 Pro-S
Mamiya 50mm f/4.5 C
Rollei Infrared – ISO 400 – 6×7