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My Lens

Filtering by Tag: river

Welcome To My Morning:)

Roni Delmonico

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. ;-)

Life On A Small Town River

Roni Delmonico

It's difficult to tell you in words what living on a small town river does for one's soul.  I'll think about it this weekend and come back and tell you when I figure out how.  For now, perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words... though I'll probably change my mind tomorrow.  I do love words, after all.  I'm gonna leave this gallery up for the next week or so on the blog so I can keep adding to it.  Eventually, I think I will give it, it's own space here.  And I think to myself... what a wonderful world. :) 

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.

For Better or Worse

Roni Delmonico

It's not easy to tell the difference between male and female Canadian geese.  But if I'd have to venture a guess... I'd say the female is the one in back. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

They mate for life like swans do.... I think that's so cool.  If you listen carefully, the female will make a "hink" sound along with her honk and if you look closely, her neck is likely a touch more slender.  The male is usually about ten percent heavier than the female, but their size difference is negligible.  They have the same markings, and unlike other wild birds, the male does not have more colorful plumage than the female.  These two have seven little goslings and I call them the Seven Dwarfs.:)  I wonder where they are hiding...

I took this shot just a fraction of a second too soon and missed catching her tail and a bit of her right wing in the frame.  But it made me smile anyway.  He seems like he's resolutely flying faster and she's nagging him good about something.  But in truth, she was by his side nearly neck and neck all the way down the river and I just happened to catch them when he pulled out ahead.  Ah, the magic of time and perspective, hmm?  It's all in the way we see things and the timing in which we see them.  For better or worse.;-)

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. 

The Small Things That Are Bliss

Roni Delmonico

My recipe for the perfect breakfast.:)

A pinch or two of birdsong.  (Red and yellow will banish the blues).

A few dandelion greens (good for reducing inflammation, especially if you lay down and roll around in them with your dog.)

A smile and a wave and a really really good dream come true...

Some fresh caught fish and a handful of diamonds to decorate the table.

A rocking chair.  (An old blue chair is best, but black will do in a pinch).

And some friends that know how to sing.:)

So I lift up my hands now
And I open my heart
And my gratitude goes out
To everything near and far

All that I am
All that I see
All that I've been 
And all that I'll ever be
Is a blessing
Its so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all.

But That Moment Exists...

Roni Delmonico

We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. Every day, God gives us the sun, and also one moment in which we have the ability to change everything that makes us unhappy. Every day, we try to pretend that we haven't perceived that moment, that it doesn't exist, that today is the same as yesterday and will be the same as tomorrow. But if people really pay attention to their everyday lives, they will discover that magic moment. It may arrive in the instant when we are doing something mundane, like putting our front-door key in the lock; it may lie hidden in the quiet that follows the lunch hour or in the thousand and one things that all seem the same to us. But that moment exists - a moment when all the power of the stars becomes a part of us and enables us to perform miracles.  - Paulo Coelho

I'm Not Afraid

Roni Delmonico

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.:)

Behold, All Things Have Become New

Roni Delmonico

Isn't it beautiful, the way spring whispers in so gently after the bitter harsh attitude of winter? It's been a quiet season for me... one in which I have kept my own company most of the time, and watched hopefully every day, as my piece of earth took her sweet time waking up.  How she smiled at me when she did, though.  A slow, lazy, rested smile. Yesterday, I stood on this spot and took a deep breath, stretching and letting it out with a trembly sigh as I looked out over my own backyard.  The tears came... and I just let them.  Tears of renewal....they came for so many reasons, and washed over this heart like the rain falling softly outside my window right now.  I closed my eyes then, briefly, and remembered another spring, five years ago, when Jim and I used to sneak over here and stand on that shoreline and wish it was ours.  It was a tangled mess of overgrown weeds and untended gardens back then.  All anyone saw, was how much work it would be. But we didn't see it that way.  We saw it like this. Big, and bright, and peaceful... filled with the laughter of our boys and the antics of our little dog.  We always saw what it could be.  I love this place. It demands much of us, and we are coming to understand how deeply that should be appreciated.  I spent hours out there tending to it in the last two days and I realized how good it is for my body, mind and spirit.  My willow tree is nearly ready to burst out in leaves, leading the maple and the oaks by at least a week, I think.  We cut down the dead fall of this harsh winter and burned it beside the river.  As I tended the fire, I sat alone on my bench watching the geese fly low over the water and determined that I might do the same - burn the deadfall and watch as the ashes turn to embers and then cool and gently drift away on the wind.  Behold... old things are passed away.  Behold, all things have become new...

Morning Song

Roni Delmonico

Rarely, am I able to resist treating a photograph like a painter would treat a blank canvas. Sometimes I see in color.  Sometimes I see in texture, form, and light.  It never ceases to amaze me, how you can start out with something you are used to seeing every day (and can often take for granted), and create a completely alternate reality out of it.  For me, that's the beauty of photographic art.  I don't think I'll ever be a documentary realist when it comes to photography. The magic is just too alluring.  Keeping a photo journal has really helped me in a more personal way,  to appreciate the early hours of the morning, but it has also taught me to look at the exact same scene, repeatedly ... in new and different ways.  I am so fortunate to have this particular canvas to work with.  I know this, and I am really trying to treat that with the respect and gratitude it deserves.  

It's so beautiful how water meets the sky in this place I call home.  How they mimic each other and complement each other in absolute and unquestionable harmony.  I can't tell you how many times I sit on my bench down at the water's edge and think, wow... I wish I could share this with my friends in person. The way it feels when the mist is crawling softly across the glassy smooth surface of the water, as much as the way it looks.  How good it smells when you breathe deep and the scent of earth and water mingle with mother nature's interesting mix of floral perfume and pungent musk on the air.  The loud squawking of hundreds of species of birds, competing for your attention all around you as you try to untangle their calls and surprise yourself with how many  you have come to recognize. The joyful splashing sound of fish after fish, leaping and breaking the water's surface with glee, as if celebrating the absence of ominous lazy fisherman who smacked the alarm clock and went back to sleep with a groan.  Tomorrow ... I'll get up earlier to fish...tomorrow.... Ah but what will they miss, today?  What will I... if I make the same choice?

When I looked at this scene before me, I could almost imagine a Native American woman standing at the water's edge taking it all in before she begins preparations for another busy day. Her black hair lays in a silky waterfall down her back with just the slightest gentle breeze lifting it up and down at the edges. A small child with huge dark eyes stands beside her, silently watchful. Her hand rests gently on his head and they breathe together in unison. I quietly ponder whether I am seeing the echo of an image from the past in this place.  The spirit is strong here. They look up at me and smile and I smile back, before picking up my camera reluctantly, turning back toward the house, and once again whispering a prayer of thankfulness with a deep sigh for my home.  There are stories here. Echoes of lives that came before. Memories of my own children playing on this riverbank.  It all sounds so beautiful to me in these quiet morning hours.  And so begins another day...

The Wings That Fly Us Home

Roni Delmonico

There are some beautiful perks to living on a stretch of river that ensures many intimate encounters with wildlife.  In the five years we've been here, I've watched the geese fly back and forth in front of my windows and I make it a point to never take that for granted.  In about a month, they will bring their babies to our shoreline and for months after that, I will watch them grow until they are ready to fly away again. Ahhh, the rhythm.

This year, we've had another real treat and it is one I have not seen on this stretch of the river in all our years here.  We've got a pair of nesting bald eagles and a juvenile who have made our narrow stretch of river their hunting and playing grounds.  Every morning for about two weeks now, they've come like clockwork between the hours of 8 and 10am and sometimes again, around four in the afternoon.  It is a sight I never grow tired of.  It's been tough to get a clear shot, as they prefer the other side of the river from me, since the homes there are summer camps and are mostly unoccupied at this time of year.  They are so majestic, and I am really grateful for their visits and for the chance to document it from such a close perspective.  I'll keep trying, as long as they keep coming.  

I know that love is seeing all the infinite in one.

In the brotherhood of creatures, through the Father, through the Son.
The vision of your goodness will sustain me through the cold.
Take my hand now to remember when you find yourself alone: you are never alone.

And the spirit fills the darkness of the heavens. It fills the endless yearning of the soul.
It lives within a star too far to dream of. It lives within each part and is the whole:

it's the fire and the wings that fly us home, fly us home, fly us home.