The Rock Stars of Yosemite National Park

"Tunnel view" of Yosemite Valley.
“Tunnel view” of Yosemite Valley.

There are some places that remind me of how beautiful this world is and how lucky I am to see it. Yosemite National Park is one of those places. Yosemite (one interpretation of the meaning of “yos-e-miti” is that it means “those who kill” and the native tribe was warning the early visitors — who mistook this warning as the name of the valley) is a beauty, both photogenic and gorgeous in the flesh. There are so many great stories to be heard about the valley, El Capitan, Half Dome, and all the other rock stars (ha!) of the park.

El Capitan, or the "inchworm."
El Capitan, or the “inchworm.”

El Capitan, considered by many to be the largest monolith in the world, is actually called “inchworm” in the local lore. The local story explains how the lowliest smallest creature, the inchworm, saves two bear cubs who fell asleep on top of the rock.

2,500 feet of falling water at Yosemite Falls.
2,500 feet of falling water at Yosemite Falls.

Fishing for Rocks in Jaflong

Medieval misery in Jaflong's rock fisheries.
Medieval misery in Jaflong’s rock fisheries.

As an alluvial delta, Bangladesh has few rocks. In Jaflong, in the northeast corner of Bangladesh, they fish for rocks. The rocks are fished from the river, broken, loaded onto trucks and taken off to be turned into cement. Jaflong sits on the invisible border with India and was once considered a beautiful place. Even now, amidst the horrors of backbreaking labor and touristy traps, you can still see the faded glory in the bridge and the hills.

Moving rocks from river to boat to truck.
Moving rocks from river to boat to truck.

It’s hard to see the beauty through the lifeless eyes and the maelstrom of medieval tableaux.

Sun sets on Jaflong.
Sun sets on Jaflong.
India is on the far side of the crowd.
India is on the far side of the crowd.