Category Archives: a photographer’s heart

Well, I did it …

I turned 50.

It wasn’t the big deal I had made it out to be in my mind.

My body did not, contrary to my expectations, spontaneously shrivel and die at midnight.

I slept like a 49-year old and woke up feeling a bit smug that I had moved into a new phase in my life.

When I danced around the kitchen singing happy birthday to myself, Murphy the wonder-pup danced around my feet as though he were celebrating with me.  Either that or he was doggy-praying that I would calm down and act my age.

I felt a sense of empowerment as I drove to work knowing that, on this day, I was half a century old.

I nearly depressed myself with the empowering thoughts because 50 sounds so much better than half a century.  Ugly crying wasn’t an option so half a century turned into two fourths of one.

50 was starting to sound exciting,

Half a century sounded like it belonged in the back basement corner of a now-defunct museum.

During my drive to work, my mind, as it usually does, began to wander.  I started down the broken road of things I would change, but decided unless it was my bed linens or the time on my watch, it wasn’t worth wasting my thoughts on.

I doubt there is a person on earth who wouldn’t change things if they could, but since the time machine hasn’t yet been perfected, it would be a mute point.

Mute.

So I sang happy birthday to myself again as I drove along and gave thanks to God that He let me have another trip around the sun.

I’m 50 and proud of it.

I can’t say I’m all that thrilled about the AARP mail, but I did like the look of that free backpack.

 

 

Vacation is over …

and tomorrow, it is back to business as usual.

The Outer Banks is a fond memory, both recent and distant.

It seems that, while I know I was there, I wasn’t there at all.

A week isn’t enough time to find everything I left there the year before, or the year before that or the one before that.

I feel, while I am there, as though I am as much a part of that world as the marshes and gnarled, wind-withered trees.

Yet now that I am back in the world I know, I wonder if I were ever there at all.

Will it remember me?

The sea, the sand, the wind, the beauty, the essence?

Will it long for me as I do for it?

I think not.

I am an outsider, a passerby, an intruder.

I am a stranger.

It doesn’t make it any less compelling or beautiful.

It simply makes me sad to know that there was nothing of myself I could leave behind to remind that place who I am so it will recognize me when I return.

 

Sunrise in an orange sky

Sunrise in an orange sky

Sun melting into the Sound

Sun melting into the Sound

Sunset fisherman

Sunset fisherman

Currituck light

Currituck light

Bridge at Whalehead, near Currituck light

Bridge at Whalehead, near Currituck light

Tears …

have their place.

For the most part, they are useless and do little more than induce a headache.  They can quickly escalate from simple tears to uncontrollable sobbing.

While sobbing uncontrollably  can be purging and purifying, it is one of those things that lands you in the back of a police car in the wee hours of the morning for a personal escort to the nuthouse.

I’m not guessing here, I’m telling it straight.

Tears sometimes come unbidden, unexpected and inexplicable.

No reason.

No provocation.

They come as they like because tears have that kind of power.

The power to overwhelm, discombobulate and wreak havok.   They lie and pretend and make merry of themselves without any indication to their derivation.

I have plenty of things I could, were I so inclined, to cry over, but I choose not to because crying doesn’t change anything.    And yet tonight, I find tears that I cannot define and have no understanding of running down my face.

I cry over many things, that is true, and sometimes, I cry just to be crying.  But I know when I’m crying that it is for a specific reason or, as is sometimes the case, just to be crying.

I am not, as I am tonight, stymied by the origin of the tears or their purpose.

So I came up with the only explanation I could think of …

these tears aren’t mine.

I don’t know who they belong to, but I am rejecting ownership.

I cry when I need to cry; when the wind is right, when the clouds are perfect, when lightning finds its way into the lens of my camera, when someone close to me is gone, when my friends are hurting, when I miss someone, when I realize that I am an idiot, when leaves change in Autumn, when I’m mad (mad tears being the ones that get everyone in trouble), when I’m happy … well, this could go on for days, so lets just say, I know when I cry even if I don’t know precisely why I cry.

I’m not the one crying.

Not this time.

These are not my tears, but because someone is crying them, I will endure them for their sake and hope that the morning brings them solace.

I like to imagine that I live in a world where the few people close to me  know me unconditionally.  I realize that while they  know me, they, in every likelihood, will never really understand me.

That is a constant that I have learned to live with over the years.

I can’t keep up with my own madness so how, pray tell, could anyone else.

There is no fault, no blame, no accusations.

Just the smack in the face of reality and reality, make no mistake, can pack a serious punch.

My drummer plays a tune that is out of sync with the real world.  That’s how it is and I live with it.

But … since these are not my tears, I simply say wth, wipe them away and move on.

Or try to.

They are persistent, these tears that are not my own.

I have a life to live, photographs to take, places to see, dreams to dream, music to learn, piano to play and I don’t have time to play emotional games with players that apparently, since they can sic their tears on me, outrank me by a considerable margin.

It would be more conducive to rational behavior were the tear-sharer to make themselves known to me.

If I sound nuts, then all is right with the world at this moment, because I am, even on a good day, teetering precariously on that fine line between reality and insanity.

I don’t deny that.

But dammit, I know when I’m crying tears that belong to me.

I am what you see, what you see is what you get, what you get is what you see and there aren’t any games.

So … somebody claim these damn tears and face your own demons because my schedule is already full.

my depiction of an eye ... a pencil sketch.

my depiction of an eye … a pencil sketch.

Life is precious …

although sometimes, until it is compromised, we can forget that simple fact and take for granted that we will just wake up every morning.

We forget that no-one is promised another day, another hour, another minute.

I did.

Took it for granted, that is.

I set my alarm each night in a way that is likely odd to most.  I set it for 1:00 am, then hit the three hour snooze which takes me to 4:00 am, then hit the preset alarm for 5:15.  And when it goes off that last time, I spring up and begin my routine which is exactly the same every morning.

No deviation.

Ever.

This past Friday, I followed the same pattern.  I woke up, started the coffee, brushed my teeth, drank half my coffee and took the rest into a scalding hot shower for 20 minutes, started my car (it’s pitch dark here at that hour, so clothes are optional), fed the cat, dressed and went to work.

I arrived without incident, but while walking into the building, I passed out.

A friend I walk into work with most mornings was with me and kept me from busting my head on the concrete, for which I am grateful, and got me to the ER.

I was found to be profoundly anemic and the plans to administer a transfusion were quickly underway.

But in the meantime, life interfered.

My heart stopped.

I don’t recollect that as it was for less than two minutes before the adept ER staff had me back up and running, but it doesn’t change the fact that, for a period of 96 seconds, my heart did not beat.

I left that part out when I told my family about my transfusion because, well, I suppose I don’t have a good reason except that they would have made a big deal about it and worried unnecessarily about the whole thing.

I didn’t see any lights or hear voices nor did I venture into the afterlife.

I have no stories to tell or visions to embellish.

What I do know is that each moment, even the boring and insubstantial ones, carry some importance.

I could have simply slipped away.  That would have been ok as I know who I am, to whom I belong and where I well be when my time is up.

I’m thankful, however, that I have more time to love those who touch my heart, to offer encouragement and to continue to walk the path I have been given.

I am, yet again, blessed … and I am thankful.

Each moment unfolds when it is meant ...

Each moment unfolds when it is meant …

Ignorance is bliss …

but unfortunately for most of us, ignorance is a luxury.

I have found myself spellbound by the idea of someone.

The thought that they were what I might, had I actually been looking for someone, have been looking for is like a siren’s song.

It is easy to become sidetracked by the fantasies we weave in our own minds when we aren’t paying close attention.

I did that.

I wove fantasies, thought thoughts, dreamed dreams and built castles in the air when there were no fantasies to be fantasized about, no pertinent thoughts to think and no castles to build.

It is the downside of an active imagination.

Reality takes a back seat and the fantastical takes on a life of its own.

There is no shame in that; the imagining, wishing, dreaming.

No shame at all, however, it is important to know where dreams end and reality begins.

Otherwise, you are left scratching your head and wondering where you went wrong.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent way too much time becoming whole and confident in my own thoughts and abilities to throw it away by putting all of my eggs in one basket.

If you put all your eggs in one basket and then  drop that basket, all of the eggs are ruined and you are back where you started when you didn’t have any eggs at all.

I, for one, want to have at least some whole, unbroken eggs in my basket.

I have, up until my husband passed a few years ago, never lived on my own.

Never experienced the pure joy of doing what I want, when I want, the way I want or not doing it, whatever it may be, at all.

I came very close to throwing all of that away by thinking I needed validation for this or the other thing.

I don’t.

Need validation, that is.

I am happy being by myself.

Alone, I am not lonely.

Instead, I am free in a way I never imagined.

I find myself pulling back from what I once longed for and realizing that I am perfectly content as I am.

I don’t know how I would react to a relationship, but the past few months have taught me that I do not need anyone to complete me.

I always thought I did, but I don’t.

I can ‘t remember a time when I felt so content.

Yes, sometimes my brain overtakes my soul and I’m manic to the point of madness.

But that, as it always has, passes and I am left, once again, serene in my solitude.

I have my thoughts, my words, my music and the magnificent creation of my Father to sustain me.

It makes me want to encourage others who feel they are not whole unless they are paired with someone to rethink their priorities.

I don’t know what I would, at this juncture in my life, do in a relationship, but I feel, at this point, that I have become too self-sufficient to rely on anyone to complete me.

When I need completion, I grab my camera and head to the mountains.

Companionship comes to me in the form of moon, sky, trees, water, light and shadow.

Seek what you will, but know, before you seek, that even if you don’t find, you are, as you are, enough.

Everything else is simply icing.

The magnificent song of Winter silence

The magnificent song of Winter silence

Through His creation …

He speaks to me.

Who, you say?

Why Jesus, of course.

How, you ask?

By showing me what He sees through the eyes He sees them with.

And by allowing me to capture on film that which He chooses to show me.

Being a photographer is one of His greatest gifts to me and I don’t take His beauty lightly.

I am, in the space of time that I walk through the beauty of creation, one with that creation.

I am part of that which lives, thrives and survives.

I am His.

He reminds me every day of His love for me by showing me the wonders of the earth He created, of His beauty and, for whatever reason, He allows me to see it through His perfect eyes.  I am often blinded by life, by moments, by disappointments and disillusionment, but He reminds me, every single day, that I am His.

Through the fragrant blooms of springtime that make their way even while winter tries to force his hand.  They are strong and resilient, those blooms.  Strong-willed and fearless as they burst forth with courage and strength.

The Creator's fragrant palette

The Creator’s fragrant palette

Through the fireflies of summer, which frolic beneath a summer moon and compete with the magnificence of the stars.  They blink and fade, wander and mesmerize, bringing magic and comfort and the promise of something wonderful.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Like a moth to a flame, so the fireflies are drawn to the moon of summer.

Through the colorful leaves that adorn the trees that catch my eye, the smell of decay on the ground mixed with the subtle scent of of beauty that can only be felt in the heart.  The joyous chatter of the brilliance of fall as it rains down on forgotten paths and leaves the mind reeling with possibilities.

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

the beauty and mystery of fallen leaves

Through the winter, the cold air and frigid temperatures that can freeze a waterfall in her tracks, making her song one of unrivaled silence as her beauty emanates praise and thanksgiving.

The magnificent song of Winter silence

The magnificent song of Winter silence

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

Creation, frozen in time, for a time, for a season

A bubbling creek becomes suspended in something, motionless and full of such magic that only the heart can understand it.  Some things are  so rare, so precious, so full of beauty that nothing is left but to offer praise.

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Rocks, suspended in silence, yet singing their winter song

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Winter speaks with a strong voice even when it is silent

Seeing it, immersing myself in it, becoming a part of it reminds me that I, too am, a child of the creator.

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain ... one that I call home

A beautiful view of a snowy Clinch Mountain … one that I call home

My cup runneth over.

His beauty unfolds before me in the misty rain of barren landscapes, foggy sunrises behind mountains and beneath a black sky glittering with stars.

without rain, there can be no rainbow

without rain, there can be no rainbow

From my front porch

From my front porch

I am blessed and, when I forget that, He reminds me with His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

From my driveway, I am reminded that i am worth His magnificence.

I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence:  Two road diverged in a wood, and I — I took the ones less traveled by, And that has mad all the difference ~ Robert Frost

Highway robbery …

in the purest sense of the phrase.

The price of toilet paper is that of which I speak.

I begrudge every penny I spend for something that is going to end up, literally, in the toilet.

In the sewer.

In the septic tank.

I imagine were Mr. Whipple alive today, he would be mad as a hatter that you can’t get (whisper) toilet paper, for practically free.

How do they get away with charging so much?

Because the companies know that unless you are willing to gather leaves and, heaven forbid, pine cones, you will pay for their soft as cotton paper to protect your sensitive  derrière in your time of need.

It makes me purely mad.

Not mad enough to gather leaves and pine cones, but mad anyway.

I suppose I could have blogged about a number of things … like how I gave blood today, or how the snow on my favorite trees on Big Moccasin looked or maybe even how I wish fervently that I could visit my beloved falls and see them frozen.

But I didn’t.

Why?

Because I had to pay over ten dollars for toilet paper.

I can buy a fifth of liquor for less than that and, if I partook in such a purchase, would likely not care whether I have TP or not.

I want world peace as much as the next person, but at the end of the day, if you run out of toilet paper, well … you’re pretty much screwed.

You're joking, right?

You’re joking, right?