Welcome To My Morning:)

One of the best things I did in our new home was to create a coffee station upstairs in the sitting area of our bedroom. Every morning, I wake up, turn on the coffee maker and throw open the curtains to a brand new day. There always seems to be some new delight, a rainbow, a shaft of light hitting the colorful trees just right in the fall, a mama deer and her fawn, and once in awhile… a gorgeous pair of bald eagles. It feels like a hug good morning, from the God of my heart. Such a lovely way to start the day. I don’t often stray far from that window until after my coffee but on this beautiful Saturday morning I could not resist. I threw on my sweatshirt and my boots and made my way down to the river’s edge, trying my best not to disturb the pair. It’s a real treat when I find them together. They didn’t stay long… but long enough for me to feel grateful and to count my many blessings. Our home is at the top of that list. With Thanksgiving just around the corner, it is good to really feel that. Thankful.

Do you think much about the routines and rituals you build your life around? Are they good ones that edify and lift you up? Fill you with light? Or do they instead, fill your head with darkness and fear? Do you know peace and breathe deep when you are in your surroundings? If not… maybe it’s time for a change. Sometimes the scariest leap of faith, is the most rewarding one.

But remember this. Sometimes a break from your normal routine, is exactly what you need. Out there in the dark and cold; in those scary and sometimes lonely places outside of your comfort zone… that is where the magic can happen. Don’t ask me how I know. ;-)

A Little Bird Told Me

I have heard it said, that if you want to take great pictures, then you should stand in front of great things. I certainly feel like I do a good amount of that. But for some reason... my own heart always returns to the little, ordinary moments of my life again and again and as a result, so does my camera. I have seen some extraordinary things; the magic of skyscrapers, the swell of an ocean, the magnificence of a pride of lions, the spray of a whale and her baby, the vast expanse of a desert, the stimulating nightlife of Las Vegas, the grandest of canyons, the birth of babies and the mind numbing beauty of a Hawaiian sunset.

But do you know what still moves me the most? The feather details of a small bird, the swirls of a single flower about to give up its last breath, the way dew looks like a rainbow of diamonds first thing in the morning, the shadows cast by something standing in the light, the way wet rocks shine, the way a robin somehow instinctively knows that if it shoves its beak into some healthy wet grass, it will inevitably find some breakfast, without too much effort.

The truth is, I really don't think there is anything on earth that couldn't be classified as a "great and extraordinary thing." And these in between moments ... what I sometimes think of as "valley moments" are where I often find true greatness shines. That is a very good place to spend prepping for what I perceive as peaks. And I often wonder if we have it backward; if our valleys are really our peaks.

"Remember the little things, for one day you may wake up and find that they were the big things." - Robert Brault

The Small Things

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.

I'm Not Afraid

It's the first day of May today and it is one of my favorite months of the year.  The days are longer, the trees fill in, the barges travel up and down the river and blow their funny horns and wave when they see me in the yard, leaving colorful buoys in their wake.  Those of us who enjoy slicing through the water with barely a noise, pull out the kayaks and begin dreaming about putting them in the water again.  There is nothing like that feeling to me... working arms hard, squinting into the sun that is laying down sparkles all around me.  Fish jump out of the water gleefully and I share that space with all sorts of other wildlife too.  Blue herons, ducks, geese, beavers... I even woke up one morning to see something across the river, jump from the bank, into the water.  Thinking it was a big dog, I picked up the binoculars and found instead, a doe who had reached the edge of the land she'd been walking on and decided to swim across a section of the river to continue on her way.  I had never seen that before.  It was such a beautiful sight.  I often feel, at this time of year, as if I am living in a vacation home in some magical place. It's really very cool. 

As much as I love color... there are times when distilling it down to black and white does a better job of telling the story without distraction.  Man, nature, quiet, stillness, sparkles, warmth.. and me. How blessed we are as photographers to be able to capture these moments in time in a way that lets us return to them, to remember, to anticipate. I pray that is never taken from me. It's been a challenge for me and a mighty one this year. I've developed some health issues in the last few years that threaten my ability to continue doing it effectively.  That in turn has done a bit of a number on my mind, but it has also forced me to research, to detach emotionally and look at my body from a clinical and scientific perspective. Pain has a way of shaping you. Changing you.  Teaching you about the depths of you.  And making you appreciate what a very precious gift, health is, and how it should be protected and cared for.  It has been 8 weeks since I have allowed a single processed food to enter my body.  I am choosing to take better care because I am learning that if I choose otherwise, the consequences will be steep.  I have often wished that my 40 something year old self could have just one day with my 20 year old self.;-)  There are many things I would like to say to her and in fact... I am working on a new idea for a book based on that premise.  

I have sought healing this year, perhaps more than ever before.  Healing, not just of my body (though that has been a powerful catalyst) but of my mind and my spirit as well.  They are all so interconnected... there is no way to nurture one while ignoring another - there has to be balance - and balance is something I have yet to achieve. This journey will likely continue for some time yet, and will include many days out on the water in a kayak this summer.  I think really well out there.  And If there is one thing of which I am very certain... for me, it will take time alone in the woods, on the river, by the ocean, and above all else, looking in the mirror before ever pointing my finger at anyone else.  All things I have planned into the remainder of this year.   Healing rain is falling down.  I'm not afraid.:)