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Filtering by Category: Digital Painting

It Began With A Dream

Roni Delmonico

When my children were little, we visited Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida once a year, usually around Thanksgiving.  There are happy memories around every corner for me, and because I grew up in Southern California, very near Walt's original park, Disneyland... I now have a lifetime of experiences associated with both parks.

We took a break from visiting for about ten years, as the boys got older and co-ordinating schedules and budgets became more and more complicated.   Now our youngest son is just about to head off to college and our thoughts have turned back toward places we held dear for so long.  We are beginning to revisit them.  The Beach Club and The Boardwalk across the water are two of my favorite places in all the world, and we can reach both in just a short two and a half hour plane ride down the East Coast.  

I think a lot about how it all started with one man's dream.  How without Walt, none of this would have existed and all these memories I hold so dear would never have happened. From humble beginnings come truly great things sometimes.  One life... just one life, can have such an impact.  Refusing to give up even when things seem incredibly bleak is something I believe divides the dreamers who never quite get off the ground, from the people who soar.

It's still one of my happiest places on earth.  It still makes me believe in dreams.  It still makes me long to soar.  And it still makes me feel welcomed home.:)

Let me tell you something about life. Always finish what you start. And anything worth doin’ is worth doin’ well.
— wisdom from Walt Before Mickey

It's My Son

Roni Delmonico

About two weeks ago, my youngest son and I had a day together alone, which rarely happens. So I asked him out on a date and he said yes!:)  How lucky am I?  I took him to see the movie, When The Game Stands Tall, which turned out to have quite a few more life lessons in it than I ever expected and stirred both of our hearts to really think about the ways that football is more than just a game for him. I knew little about the film, other than that it was a movie about an undefeated football team and the extraordinary coach who led them.  Turns out it was about a whole lot more... faith, love, heart, emotions, brotherhood, what it means to be part of a team, dependability, sacrifice, leadership both on the field and off, sorrow, joy, and ultimately... what it means to grow up and  be a man who is able to feel and to love, in life.. as well as he is able to love the game.

I've watched my Eric grow by leaps and bounds in the past three years.  He is a freshman in high school and it is his third year playing football.  This year, the coach made him a wide receiver which is something new for him, and something he takes pride in.  I think we'll be spending a lot of time tossing a football with him in our backyard, this fall.  I found his playbook on the kitchen counter, open as if he had just been studying it and it drove home to me again... how these boys are growing up into lives apart from me... full of experiences that are uniquely their own and not mine.  I'm trying so hard not to blink but it's blinking by anyway. 

I have such a mixture of feelings when I look at this child.  When he smiles, he has a dimple that is so endearing and he has no idea of its effect on people. It adds a special warmth to a gentle smile. He is already so very good... at loving.  I wrote a post about his journey last year titled, Making The Most of the Daylight Hours.  Still applies today... maybe even more so. When I look at that photo of him from just last year, it tugs at my heart.  They change a lot from 13 - 15... passing from boyhood into something deeper. He's come such a long way in three short years and in my eyes, it isn't so much the game that stands tall... it's my son.  

Children of the Day

Roni Delmonico

I still remember the night I stood here watching the sun paint all those glorious colors into the sky.  It was breathtaking and I felt such peace.  I was holding my flip flops and my sweater in my hand, digging my toes into the soft, cold sand.  It was one of those perfect moments of just being, where there was no need for talk. Such a little oasis in the center of a crazy busy place, where entertainment can be found around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and long past daylight.  And yet it was here.. where I wanted to be. In this quiet place full of waning light and color. That is so representative of my being.  Of who I am at the core.  I find solace in solitude. I need it, in order to function in any kind of healthy fashion.  But I am coming to understand that there is a very fine line between seeking solitude in order to recharge and reconnect more meaningfully, and self imposed isolation whose only design is to separate. One is full of light and peace.  The other is wretchedly dark and dismal.

I received two letters this week from women I have come to deeply respect and admire.  It's ironic you know.. After a very frustrating couple of months, in my anger, I had just finished telling someone that Christians (myself included) are some of the most self absorbed, miserable people I know.  How incredibly self centered (and totally wrong) that was.  Those letters were proof and they were a balm to my heart.  I'm quoting the last words of one here, not only out of respect for the woman who spoke it, but so that I will remember them, later this year, when I will undoubtedly need them again.  

Religion will fail you, people will fail you, but God won’t. There have been plenty of times I have thought that He has forgotten me only to lift me up higher than I thought I could go. I get tired and want to give up but then I think of that story of the Footsteps and know He is carrying me when I can’t do it myself. ...please don’t let.. this world dim that wonderful free spirit of yours. ..I do hope you know that you are not alone.
— Elizabeth Smith

You know what?  I do know that.  Because there are a few of you out there, who continue to remind me that there is kindness and goodness yet in the world, if I will only take my eyes off myself and turn them outward and upward.  I guess this is just my way of retracting some hastily spoken, selfish words and replacing them with something more beautiful.  And it is my way of saying thank you to every one of you (and you know who you are) who have reached out to me in friendship this past year and said in your own precious ways... "We're not letting go." You've taught me more about unconditional love and faithfulness than I could ever.. have imagined.

Summer Concert With Ed and Lexy

Roni Delmonico

Ed Page, lead guitarist for the Horn Dogs, plays Paper Mill Island on a beautiful summer night in Baldwinsville on July 29, 2014.

Had a great time out at Paper Mill Island in Baldwinsville last night, hangin' with my friend Lexy Page on a perfect summer night that felt more like fall.  Her husband Ed is lead guitar and vocalist for his band The Horn Dogs and he led the crowd on a joy filled musical journey for an hour and a half that ended with a splash on Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls of Fire!  There was laughter and dancing and at one point, the guys even came out into the middle of the crowd and played right in front of me so I could get a few close ups.  Live events are so fun!

July is quickly winding to a close.  I hope you are all enjoying your summer as much as I am!

Beautiful Things Don't Ask For Attention

Roni Delmonico

To see the world, things dangerous to come to, to see behind walls, draw closer, to find each other, and to feel. That is the purpose of life.
— Life Magazine Motto, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

There is a scene at the end of the movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty where Walter asks Sean who is sitting on top of a mountain waiting for a chance to get just one shot of a beautiful snow leopard in the wild... when he's gonna take the shot.  He responds...

Sometimes I don’t. If I like a moment, for me, personally, I don’t like to have the distraction of the camera. I just want to stay in it. They call the snow leopard the ghost cat. Never lets itself be seen. Beautiful things don’t ask for attention.
— The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

I have thought of that one scene maybe more than any other scene from a movie in a really long time.  I knew I had a shot of a snow leopard in my library and I went looking for it today, lingering over it for some time.  How often do I just accept things, without conviction of the heart?  How many other things in my life am I doing or allowing simply because they are easy, convenient, or entertaining... accepting when I should be questioning?  

For me, these days... those are some pretty important questions and as I stared at this photograph, I think I realized it's time for me to figure out how I alone.. would answer them. 

The Small Things

Roni Delmonico

Sometimes it feels like they have such personality.  I'm really glad they share their backyard with me.:)  This one comes to visit every morning at breakfast.  He's not camera shy and he looked so patriotic with his little paw over his heart.  I should stick a tiny flag in the ground down there.  He inspires me to at least consider writing and illustrating a children's book.

Have you ever noticed how sweet their ears look when the light is shining through them from behind?  Don't miss the small things... They really are so very beautiful and they're gone before you blink.

The Things We Carry and The Places We Carry Them To

Roni Delmonico

Have you ever been to a place where you feel simply like yourself, nothing more, nothing less? Not like somebody's mom, or sister, or friend, or wife, or daughter?  Like who you were in the past was irrelevant, and who you might be in the future would be different because you had been there?  There is such a place for me.  It exists in a small home on a quiet stretch of beach in a little town on the windward side of an island.  It looks out over the ocean, blue water as far as the eye can see.  I know I will return there as often as I can.  I remember lying in bed listening to the sound of waves rolling onshore and to the wind, causing the fronds of the palm tree outside my window to bend and scrape gracefully, casting shadows in the moonlight on the wall across from where I was sleeping.  And there was peace in who I am.

It was in this place, that I began to know myself.  Not as Roni and... anyone.  Just Roni.  It's where I first began to face all the truths of who I am from my own perspective, and no one else's... accepting all of it, not just the good and "pretty parts" but the broken and burning bits too.  Here I am a year and a half later doing the same thing from another table, another window, looking out over other waters.  And there is peace in who I am.

Our Truest Work of Art

Roni Delmonico

A year ago, our deck had a table, 8 chairs, an umbrella, a loveseat, two chairs with ottomans, a grill, tons of flowers and a lot of clutter.  No one ever used it except for the chipmunks and squirrels who eventually stole all the stuffing out of the cushions.  This year, we finally had time to refinish the deck, and when I went to put all that stuff back, I ended up saying... you know what?  No.  Just no.  Let's put two rocking chairs out there, leave the grill and maybe a few other folding chaises and simplify our lives.  Now.. we use it every single day.

I've been reading a lot lately...  gleaning nuggets of wisdom from others instead of trying to impart some wisdom of my own.  It's a nice change.  Sometimes as creators, I think we spend so much time trying to say, produce, be something interesting, that I think we can lose sight of the fact that it's important to just be quiet and listen to something interesting ourselves from time to time.  That is one of the things I loved best about Google+ and really miss... all the opportunities to listen to people with very different viewpoints and ideas from my own.

I have the deepest respect for photographer, David duChemin.  He and Chris Orwig have probably been the biggest, most significant influences on my photographic vision in the last four years.  David wrote a post a few months ago that I thought was really brave and truly thought provoking.  I think it probably speaks into the heart of more creatives than any of us might admit.  Things look so shiny and pretty from the outside sometimes, don't they?  

I love what he said here: If you bought it and don’t need it, sell it. Clear it out and don’t fill the space with something new. Tame the appetite. Learn to say no to yourself – or rather, learn to say yes to a bigger thing: a debt-free, clutter-free life that affords you the freedom to do what you want to do... A simpler life, with less consumption, is more sustainable on many levels, including your finances.  I really feel that on a gut level and it's where I'm at right now. The desire to live a simpler life, to be debt free, to get rid of the clutter and all the "stuff" I don't need is at the top of my list of priorities.  

I never noticed with all that clutter on the deck, how beautiful the light is, dappled through the trees and playing with the shadows on the floor.  I can't tell you how many times I bruised my thigh on my way to the grill on the corner of that sharp table nobody ever used.  It takes some hard knocks to get through to my hard head sometimes... but all that floor space, my little white flip flops, some cheerful little flowers, a comfy wooden rocking chair and a few wise words from David duChemin are all it took this weekend.  Well, that and a few purple bruises, here and there.  Do guys dig scars like chicks do?;-)

To my core I believe that our lives can be lived boldly, intentionally, and as our truest work of art. I believe we are all capable of living extraordinary lives; that people like Gandhi, Picasso, or Mother Teresa, were ordinary people who chose to be fully themselves and play by their own rules. I believe that we are all creative and that if our lives are our first, and most intentional, act of creation, then the principles of creativity can teach us to be not only bolder creatives but bolder human beings. - David duChemin

I do too, David.  With every fiber of my being... I surely do.

Isn't It Remarkable...

Roni Delmonico

Funny how much a person can change. There was a time I would have rushed to sweep those cobwebs away, thinking they'd ruin my photograph.  I still did have that thought initially.  But I paused. I think it's in that pause that I begin to listen with my heart, instead of my head.

Hummingbirds need the protein from insects, in addition to the nectar they get from flowers and feeders.  If I  leave it alone... then she'll get a complete meal from time to time.  I wonder if she already ate the spider.. or if the spider heard the hum and said.. Oh man!  I am SO out of here.  Either way, the web looks pretty in the sunlight and it's still sticky.:)  Breakfast buffet for hummingbirds.  

I watched a tiny spider, no bigger than the head of a pin, build a web this morning, while I drank my coffee.  I am surrounded by ordinary miracles every day, without ever leaving home.   

It's not that unusual
When everything is beautiful
It's just another ordinary miracle today

The sky knows when it's time to snow
Don't need to teach a seed to grow
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Life is like a gift they say
Wrapped up for you everyday
Open up and find a way
To give some of your own

Isn't it remarkable
Like every time a raindrop falls
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Birds in winter have their fling
Will always make it home by spring
It's just another ordinary miracle today

When you wake up everyday
Please don't throw your dreams away
Hold them close to your heart
'Cause we're all a part of the ordinary miracle

Do you want to see a miracle?

It seems so exceptional
That things just work out after all
It's just another ordinary miracle today

Sun comes up and shines so bright
And disappears again at night
It's just another ordinary miracle today

-Glen Ballard, David Allan Stewart

Her Name Was Lola

Roni Delmonico

The Lola Annie, a Beneteau 49 Sailboat from Hudson, Ohio, traveling west on the Seneca River just past Lock 24 on the Erie Canal System in Baldwinsville, NY on June 8, 2014.

The Lola Annie, a Beneteau 49 Sailboat from Hudson, Ohio, traveling west on the Seneca River just past Lock 24 on the Erie Canal System in Baldwinsville, NY on June 8, 2014.

They come and go so quickly, and I'm grateful to have the photographs to look back on and ponder.  Because we're on a section of the Erie Canal System, we see boats not just from The United States of America, but from all over the world, which is so fascinating.  Norway, Canada, France... I often wonder about their story: what it's like where they came from and where they are going, what they've seen and how long they've been sailing... how far they have yet to go...  what it's like below deck and how it feels to be in command of one.  I'm learning a lot this summer about these boats but the most beautiful thing about it all to me.. is the simple romance of imagining their adventures.  Every one has a story. A story I can so clearly visualize.  And somehow, it seems so fitting to me that I live in a place that connects eventually... to the sea.

So long... Lola Annie...

First Light

Roni Delmonico

It was early and the light was just beginning to dance on the water but the birds had already started their cheerful wake up call and I got up to stoke the fire. A flock of geese flew overhead, honking and carrying on as if it was high noon. The mist was rising in silver columns from the surface of the lake and the air was rich with the scent of pines. I could hear the lone call of a loon somewhere in the distance and I climbed back into the sleeping bag, reaching for her. She was already awake.  There was another couple in the tent next to us and their muffled laughter made us both grin, the memory of last night still fresh on our minds. I smelled the bacon frying and could practically taste the hot coffee, fingers of scent drifting toward me… tempting. I was hungry, but not enough to let go of this moment just yet.  Two years was a long time… too long.  Breakfast could wait another two minutes. She smiled at me without a word… relaxed and content to speak her heart right now, only through her eyes. She always knew. This was my idea of luxury. I'd been coming here since I was a boy and this campground felt as much a home to me as the place I'd grown up.  There couldn't have been a better place to start over with her.

I flopped onto my back and let my mind wander.  Isabel liked being alone. It never made her feel lonely or afraid, like it did, some women. She told me a story once  about how when she was a girl, her parents had given her a small rock tumbler for Christmas and she was fascinated by how simply rolling the jagged rocks around and letting them crash against each other, could wear all the rough edges away and create something cool and clean and entirely different. She would keep the smooth stones in her pocket and run her fingers over their silky surface and it felt like a wonderful secret. She told me that being a loner and being with other people was a lot like that to her. When she was with others, she would collide against them and their ideas and perspectives and she felt it changed her in so many wonderful ways. But when she was alone and the tossing had stopped, she could wander peacefully in the stream bed of her own ideas, turning each one over and over in her mind, like a beautiful smooth stone, polished to a glassy sheen by time and tumbling. For Isabel, it was the best kind of magic.

I had always understood that on a deep level. Hell, I felt the same way. How two lifelong loners had somehow formed such a strong bond of connection was beyond me but I loved it. I would sit up on the porch, in one of the two rocking chairs she had picked up for the cottage and watch her wander, wondering at where she had gone off to, in that mind of hers. She enjoyed being by herself as much as she enjoyed being with the people she loved. When I could not find her in the house, I would often find her down on the sand, smiling to herself as she collected rocks and seashells by the dozen. Our home was littered with her treasures. She was a tidy person, but she liked to surround herself with anything and everything that reminded her of the ocean and I would often find bits and pieces scattered in the most unlikely places. The walls were also covered with scenes of our lives together; seaside, mountains and woods, painted in both soft pastels and earthy hues that always meshed together in harmony somehow. That was my girl. She worked so hard to take dark and light, shadow and detail, void and form…and merge them all together into a complimentary symphony of color and light. I found it enchanting. It was as much a part of her nature as simply breathing and it was so different from my own that I often found myself standing at a comfortable distance, watching in wonder. 

I recalled vividly when I had first started calling her Sunshine. She was a midnight owl and I was a morning person. She hated getting up early and would moan and groan and pull the covers over her head when I would tease and push and try to get her out of bed for an early morning run with me. I had finally given up in exasperation and had taken instead, to heading into town to my favorite diner for coffee after my run, while waiting for her to wake up. That first time I had gone, I had let the screen door slam behind me and thinking I was irritated with her, she had sprung out of bed and ran out onto the porch in her pajamas, but she was too late. I never even saw her. When I had come home with her favorite salt encrusted bagels in a brown paper bag, I'd found her sitting on a chair out back in the rain, legs drawn up under her chin, hair sticking up in all directions and tears streaming down her face. I got down on my knees in front of her and wrapped her up in my arms, distressed that something was bothering her enough to make her cry and at a total loss for what could have happened in the mere hour I’d been gone. When she told me what was wrong, I burst out laughing, assuring her that I was much tougher than she might think, and if she was trying to make me angry, she would have to work a lot harder than that. The smile she gave me when she realized I wasn't mad, made it seem as if someone had rolled the clouds back instantly and spattered my heart with sunshine instead of rain. Isabel beamed at me. "That's better, Sunshine," I had responded. 

“Why are you smiling?” she asked, her fingertips grazing the stubble on my cheek, tenderly, bringing me back to the present.  I knew she didn’t really need me to answer that.

Rolling over on my side, I propped myself up on my elbow facing her and took her hand in my own, bringing it to my lips.  It was cold and I warmed it gently between my own.  Moving a little closer, I folded her into me.  She lay down on my chest, as if I had just seen her yesterday, and I closed my eyes, understanding intimately in that moment, that home was a person… not a place.

Into The Deep

Roni Delmonico

When you live on a waterway, every day is a new opportunity to see something special. They must have opened the lock today, because I had the pleasure of watching three yachts and two sailboats, glide right past me this morning, while I enjoyed my coffee down at the river's edge.  This one made me smile... its cheerful Canadian flag waving gently in the breeze. When it sailed by me, I turned to look for its name.  Petronella.. from Toronto.  I hear Toronto is a must... so I allowed myself the visual indulgence of hopping aboard and sailing there, visiting that beautiful city and the people who love her... and then sailing home.


Well it's not far back to sanity, at least it's not for me

And if the wind is right you can sail away and find serenity

Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see
Believe me.

It's been a wonderful month.  I posted something every day for four straight weeks and it was something I needed to do for myself... if only to prove I still could.  I've made some really positive changes in my life of late, and I've done a lot of letting go.  There is still more of that to do but I'm on my way and it feels really good.  Last night, I opened my hand and allowed something I've been clinging to for way too long to slip through my fingers softly and into the deep deep blue.  I watched it sparkle until it disappeared, and I realized in a moment of crystal clarity, that I'm okay with letting it go.  I wish you all the most beautiful smooth summer sailing and I look forward to sharing more with you as we progress through this... my favorite season.

Men of Honor... I Remember

Roni Delmonico

Today I watched my son and two of his closest friends paddle off down the river and I thought of just how much I have to be thankful for.  This Memorial Day, I sat on my bench surrounded by flowers and blue sky and water and I took a little time to remember a few men who are very special to me.. men who sacrificed that very pleasure on more than one day like this to serve in our nation's military, so that my family and I can enjoy this beautiful peace and freedom.

Brian, Freddy, Dad, Bunny, Rob, Trevor, TJ, Grandpa, Darren, Paul... every one of you crossed my mind today. I'm thankful for all that you've done to ensure that we live in peace and safety.  I remember each of you, more often than you know.  I don't know anyone personally who has lost their life in service to our country.  But I know how I would feel if any one of these men had.

They are men of highest honor in my heart.

The Art of Living

Roni Delmonico

Four years ago, I started a journey having no real idea where it would take me.  All I knew, was that my camera suddenly gave voice to the creative, artistic, deeply emotive side of me that had lain dormant since I was a small child.  It allowed me to communicate feelings I hadn't known how to speak before.  It sent me to my knees, eye level with my subject so that I might gain a clearer perspective, and then it laid me flat on my belly for two reasons: First, to slow me down to stillness by getting me off my feet, and second, to keep me from stepping on or over things I might have otherwise missed.  It taught me to look up, instead of always looking down, to look behind me as well as forward.  It helped me to recognize and truly value the smallest part of a whole, as the priceless and precious thing that it is.  It reminded me to be humble, to cry as well as I laugh, to strive for personal excellence, and to be grateful, most especially for the little, everyday, ordinary moments in life.  And it has, without a doubt, built a bridge of connection between myself and others I might not ever have had the pleasure of meeting. 

I love this quote:

A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.  - Francois Auguste Rene Chateaubriand

I take a lot of pride in the projects I select, from beginning to end.  Whether I am working on a portfolio, a wedding album, a blog post, a novel, a pet portrait, a printing job, a digital painting or an entire art show... it all feels like play to me. That is the one requirement I have for myself as an artist.  I am careful in the selection of work I take on, because if it feels like all work and no play, it strips out the joy and I'm just not interested in doing that.  

This is Laker and he belonged to my pet sitter, Lissa Hirsh.  She brought me a panoramic photograph she loves of him that is now beginning to fade and curl with the passing of time and asked if I could do something with it.  Laker is gone now, which makes this image and its preservation even more important and I wanted to honor that. 

I've been told repeatedly that print is dead, particularly for photographers, and that I should move away from it because everything is now web-based.  I don't believe that and here's why. I've watched you cry when I have handed you something you can touch.  I've seen you light up over a box of greeting cards or a finished, framed piece hanging on your wall.  And honestly... these images that originate with you are the ones that mean the most of all.

Because I am not a traditional portrait, event or wedding photographer, it can sometimes be confusing to people who are new to my work, to understand what kind of jobs I'm interested in taking on.  I hope this gives you a clearer picture of the projects I like to do. In the end, I'll let you decide... if I am working or playing.;-)  

Exercising the Creative Muscle

Roni Delmonico

We have so many tools available to us today in the photography world.  I'm really grateful for that because I imagine it's much like what having a jar full of brushes might be for a painter. People ask me all the time what digital painting is and I suppose if you asked ten different artists, you'd get nearly as many answers.  For me, it is a way to express myself visually, using the computer tools and camera skills I have acquired over time.  I select different digital tools to create an effect in the same way a painter selects a brush.  It starts with my camera and it gets all mixed up with my emotions, abilities, light sources and digital tools.  

I've been reading a lot about nutrition and wellness lately and one thing keeps coming up over and over again.  It doesn't take a lot to be well.  Not nearly as much as I thought it did, for a long time. Simple, clean foods, fresh air, sunshine, a quiet walk in the woods at a gentle pace, a massage, learning to actually feel my breath again and to hear my own inner wisdom, along with taking some time to slow down and recharge.  To simply sit and listen.  Just listen. 

By the same token I have given a lot of thought to how exercising the creative muscle doesn't need to take hours on end every day either.  It doesn't take agonizing, forcing ourselves to practice repeated and ridiculously bland ways of doing things because we think we're supposed to do it like that, because we've always done it like that.  That's the equivalent, in my own mind, of hours of endless running on a treadmill.  I am not a hamster!  

Pain stopped me from picking up the camera for months, and the fear that I might have to stop doing this entirely slowly took root in my spirit.  But somewhere along the line, I realized that I can certainly shoot one or two images worth keeping and I can spend just an hour at the computer and still create something lovely each day.  And I've also found that the same practices I am now using for body and mind, are also very good for my creative muscles. Breathing deep, relaxing muscles, appreciating life, slowing down.... how good it is, how important it is... to the health of my creativity. 

Do You Not Know?

Roni Delmonico

Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit.... ?
— 1 Corinthians 6:19

It's an interesting thought, isn't it?  I've always envisioned my body as a tent for my spirit, but lately, I have seriously considered that perhaps this mindset is why I haven't taken as much care with it as I might have, if I had viewed it as something a bit more precious than that.  

This temple is the Byodo-In Temple on the island of Oahu.  It is a tranquil place where my spirit feels at rest.  More and more I am coming to understand that taking care of a temple requires much more than caring for a tent.  I'd like mine to be a place of peace, beauty and light.. like this one is.