Category Archives: nature

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

Trust should be …

a four letter word.

It is one of those things that can make or break us as we amble aimlessly along our path of life while trying to build friendships, relationships or other ships.

It is elusive to me.

I admit it.

I trust rarely and with great trepidation.

I suppose if I were to consult a shrink about the essence of my mistrust, I would be given an earful of information about inadequacies on my part, past issues and other useless reportage.

As a photographer, however, and all that nonsense aside, I trust nature.

I trust light, shadow and beauty.

I trust that every sunrise will bring a new and magnificent beginning.

I trust that every full moon will fill me with awe.

I trust that Winter will bring snow-laden limbs of bare trees and stark, gray landscapes against the exclusively winter aqua sky.  A force, in itself, to be reckoned with for it occurs no other time of the year.

A magnificent color in a desolate season.

Nature at a pinnacle of  his and her beauty … Old man Winter working with Mother Nature.

They don’t get along all that well, but in the aqua sky surrounding the evening sun in the throes of Winter, they are flawless.

I trust that Spring will bring with it fragrant blooms of recently sleeping trees and streams filled with heavy rains.  Waterfalls that exceed my expectations, fiddler-heads unfolding, moss as green as the  hills of Ireland and rocks sublimely submerged beneath heavily watered creeks.

I trust that Summer will bring the heady, intoxicating scent of honeysuckle, sunlit spiderwebs, lightning bugs, views of the ocean, seas of wheat and barley, acres of wildflowers and stunning, irrepressible  heat.

I trust that Autumn will bring the smell of decaying leaves, foliage in a myriad of colors, an early frost, snow in the high places and an incredible peace of mind that only fall can bring.

I cannot be certain if I love Spring or Autumn most of all …

I suppose I love them both equally, as I do Summer and Winter.

How can I choose when each one brings unfathomable beauty unequaled by any other thing?

hands … old and  young, with a daisy between them hands

A fiddler-head unfurling on my mountain.mountainspring-12

The Outer Banks of North Carolina … my centerouterbanks_bodieislandlight-62

Standing outside in the snow …

is one of the most freeing of experiences.

I liken it to standing in the midst of a summer rain while nature falls all around, touching, caressing, permeating my very being and making me one with its magnificence.

How wonderful it is to feel the snowflakes, each different and individual, falling on my skin, touching my lips, landing on my lashes?

The peace of the falling snow is, in itself, a wondrous thing, but to feel it on my skin takes me to a place where my dreams live.

I suppose, to some, it will sound irrational to hear that someone purposely stands outside while the snow or rain falls, or while the wind whips through the air.

It shouldn’t.

It should, instead, be an invitation to feel nature in real time, to partake in her joy as she showers the earth with beauty and marvelous things.

Bask in the magnificence of nature … stand in the rain, stand in the snow, feel the wind on your face.

Find peace in the solitude and realize who you are at your core.

Who you are meant to be.

What you are meant to be.

Listen to the voice of the earth for it is the footstool of Jesus.

Find solace.

Find joy.

Find what you didn’t even realize you were looking for.

Simply be still and let all that creation has to offer overcome you.

It will, without doubt or reservation, change your world for the better.

Listen to the wind, feel the sunshine, bask in the light of the moon, hear the pounding of the surf …

Find sustenance and sublimity in the beauty that surrounds you.

I promise you won’t be sorry.

But don’t simply take my word for it … immerse yourself and find, for yourself, the wonder of nature.

The joy of snowfallSeriously?

A winter wonderlandsnowfall

Finding joy in every momentkisses blown from an angel

The word of the year …

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Old Man Winter …

is on the warpath.

I guess this is the moment where he shows everybody just who is in charge.

I feel a little guilty complaining about the possibility of single digit temperatures while other places are looking at negative double digits on the mercury scale.

But only a little.

Cold is cold, wherever you are.

Here in Southwest Virginia, single digit temperatures are rare.  We don’t usually have to worry about getting frostbite on our fingers and noses as we walk from the house to the car.

It is a bit of an adventure, actually.

As a photographer with a healthy dose of wanderlust, this gives me a taste of winters elsewhere without actually going anywhere.

Not that I don’t want to go.  I mean, experiencing a Minnesota winter or feeling the wind chill in Chicago would be quite the thrill and, ones I hope to experience first hand at some point.

Ice fishing and snow shoes are things that live and play in the back of my mind just as dreams of July in New Orleans and August in Dallas make me swoon.

Live like the locals live, see it first hand, feel the heat or the cold or the rain or the snow or the wind.  That is part of what being a photographer is about, at least to me.

I want not only to see the things God created, but to feel them, immerse myself in them, find my coping mechanisms as I’m challenged by the diversity of His wonders.

It makes me who I am and I’m cool with that.  Being born a Sagittarius was just a bonus.

For now, though, stay warm folks because Baby, it’s going to be cold outside.

icicle

When October goes …

there is an emptiness.  A change in the air, the sky, the trees, the grass, the morning, that reminds us that time is passing.

In a few short weeks, it will be winter and before that even, all of the color of Autumn will be gone.  The trees will become bare, the landscape brown, colorless and bleak, but …

In those long months of seemingly colorless moments, there is a beauty that can only be found in Winter.

Just as each season has its own to offer, Winter is no different.

The trees will be bare of leaves and standing tall and proud, naked sentries during the cold and dreary months of winter.

And then there is snow.

Snow cannot be discounted as one of the most marvelous sights of all creation.

Mornings quieted under a blanket of white that transcends all rational thought.  How can something be so silent and still be so beautiful?

The sound of snow falling, the soft “pfft” it makes as it falls, one flake upon another until there are inches to be measured, is a sound of solace.

solitude

It reminds me a bit of a piano.  It is no secret that I love the piano and have a deep and awe-inspired respect for piano players.  And the snow, as it makes its soft sound while falling makes music that nothing else in nature can duplicate.

I look forward to the snow, laying heavy on the bare branches of the trees, covering the brown grass and leaving the road white, tire and animal tracks evident in its otherwise malevolent stillness.

October is gone, November is here and before we can be fully accustomed to the cold of winter, the tulips of spring will be blooming.

Mother Nature will have her turn again come springtime, but the here and now belongs to Old Man Winter.

He is a shrewd and unpredictable one and I tend to think he likes it that way.

Although October has officially ended, I feel the need to share one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite artists just to make it official.

Enjoy the remnants of Autumn, relish every day, live every moment and take nothing for granted.

There is, after all, no promise of another day so in actuality, this may very well be the last one.

Look at it, really look at it and see the beauty that surrounds you.  There will never be a moment exactly like the one we are in now.  Time marches on.

That is what time does.  Don’t hold its nature against it.  Instead, embrace it and enjoy each segment as though it were the last.

There can, if each moment is enjoyed and embraced, be no regrets for a life not lived.

Until next time, be well, my friends … be well.

It has been a long few days …

or has it been weeks?

I haven’t posted anything new.

No blog posts.

No photographs.

Nothing.

I have been in a holding pattern of sleepwalking, nightmares and erotic dreams that leave me confused, wondering and bewildered …

and all the while, trying my very best to make it, without losing my cool, through the seemingly endless days and eventful nights.

I have had patients cry on me, their families strike me, people pulling at my heartstrings which are linked directly to my tear ducts and during all of this, trying to find out if I am to blame for something I had no control over.

I wonder if I have severed a crucial friendship and have already began to mourn the loss of it.

I have a way of ruining beautiful things because I rarely feel worthy of them.

I have slept outside, sent messages I wasn’t aware of and tried desperately to hold it together.

A difficult few days, indeed.

But tonight changed all that.

It came a storm.

A big one, with lots of lightning and torrential rain.

Normally, during such an event, I would be set up on the porch with my tripod and camera, but this time was different.

This one wasn’t to be documented and photographed.

It was to set my spirit free.

And it did.

I stood on the porch with my jeans and t-shirt, getting soaked.

But as time passed, I wanted no earthly barriers between me and the blessing that God was giving me.

A cleansing.

A fresh beginning.

Letting the past be past and bygones be bygones and memories no more than a blip on my radar.

One piece of clothing after another was discarded until I found myself standing nude and vulnerable under the rain, with the lightning flashing, the thunder bellowing, echoing between the mountains and valleys …

tears running down my face.

I prayed to a God that I had decided had forgotten me.

He hadn’t.

I think He was just waiting for me to remember Him.

It was frightening.

It was freeing.

I was liberated from the hold this world had on me.

I was, for that span of time, one with nature and the God who created it.

I still struggle with the emotions and thoughts in my head, but He designed my brain and is well acquainted with my mindless and sometimes senseless ramblings.

He doesn’t hold them against me and so I won’t hold them against myself.

Not everyone believes in my God.  I don’t find fault with them.  I know what I know, they know what they know.

I can only be who I am and, despite all my faults, and they are many, I feel at peace.

And despite that, my friends who don’t believe in my God like me anyway.

I am humbled by that.

Just  as I accept them, they accept me.

With our differences of opinions and thoughts.

It is irrelevant.

Isn’t that what it was supposed to be like?

Love one another?

Are my thoughts still burning through my head? Yes.

Do I still sometimes feel out of control? Yes.

Do I have someone to share the thoughts and emotions with? Yes, and I am thankful for them.

Do I wonder if I am making the right choices? Yes.

Following Christ doesn’t mean that everything is just peachy.  In all honesty, it is the opposite.

I don’t do it right, I never have, but I hope to at least encourage somebody along the way.

And selfishly, I hope to be encouraged.

I wonder sometimes if I am nothing more than the punching bag of the universe.  I don’t mind it if it keeps someone else from suffering, but every now and then, it wears on the soul.

And then, an incredible storm comes, I stand in the rain, and all is right again.

The circle of life.

It is what it is what it is what it is.

It is what we make of it that counts.

So make it count.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

a beautiful human, inside and out.

When God gives one a heart of compassion …

it is understood that it will get broken.

There is no way around it.

I am still learning this.

I find that is is both  an honor and a privilege to watch the end of life come to pass.

It isn’t easy nor can it be considered pleasant, but it is a part of life that not everyone gets to see.

The living years is what most of us look for, find pleasure in and hope to be a part of.

But to be present when a spirit leaves this world is nothing short of amazing.

The last breath.

The last heartbeat.

The last moment.

I cannot help but cry for it is, in it’s way, very sad … and yet, when there was suffering, it is also a comfort.

I try, in my weak way, to console the ones left behind, but at that particular moment, there really are no words to say.

I can only be there, in the background, in the edges of the moment, to hold a hand or wrap my arm around those who need the contact.

I’m not, by nature, a hugger or toucher.

It doesn’t really come naturally to me as it does to true nurturers … and yet, I find myself being pulled into the emotion.

It is difficult, but I cannot turn them away.

Not in their moment of need.

Maybe I am weak. But if I can offer some bit of strength in their moment of weakness, then my strength has been made manifest.

I can do, for this moment, what I have learned through experience to do.  Not book experience, or clinical experience, but life experience.

I understand loss, especially unexpected loss that blindsides you and leaves you reeling from words left unsaid.

It is what it is and there are no do-overs.

It is enough to know that you loved someone while they lived in a way that they knew, unconditionally, that they were loved.

It is enough.

Move forward as you can, but whatever the cost, move forward.

To remain where you are, in grief and sorrow is the last thing in the world the one you lost would want.

Don”t be afraid to live.

If you aren’t afraid to live, then when your time comes, you won’t be afraid to die.

It is a circle.

Don’t break it.

People who drive convertibles …

learn some things that the average Joe may not consider.

Now, Jeep owners (which I dearly hope to become one day), consider what they drive a Jeep, but it is, without room for argument, at the end of the day, a convertible.

I’m not talking about the Jeeps that aren’t really Jeeps but call themselves one.  Those don’t count and will never count.  Sorry if your toes are stepped on, but really?

That being cleared up …

We learn to watch the sky.

We know the difference between just plain clouds, rain filled clouds and clouds that are in the process of emptying themselves onto the earth.

We know the difference between a fog bank and a rain band.

We know, when driving in familiar places, all the little turnouts that serve as places to put the top up quickly when there are rain bands and cloud emptying ahead.

We know how hard it is raining just by looking and as such, whether we can get by with leaving the top down and letting the sprinkles simply fly right past us or take the next turnout we come to and put the top up moments before the typhoon hits.

All of this being said, I found myself caught by surprise tonight.

I was nearly home after attending an event my daughter had invited me to at her University.

Eight miles to go.  Only eight.

But I wasn’t paying attention to the sky.  No, I was blasting the Eurythmics at earsplitting and singing along with Annie and David.

I ran into the rain, in between turnouts, and it was, as people around these parts say, a frog strangler.

Before I could get to the next turnout, pull over and put the top up, I was soaked to the skin and so cold, my goosebumps had goosebumps.

I find it ironic that the song I was singing at the top of my lungs while driving much faster than the law allows was none other than “Here Comes the Rain Again”.

Coincidence?  I don’t believe in them.

Fate?  Hardly.  What would it have to prove?

Pure ecstasy at driving free and wild with the music loud and getting rained on?

Yep.

That made my night and smoothed over a minor “simply couldn’t be helped” disappointment.

Life.  It often isn’t easy, but if you can live through it, it’s a lot of fun.

rain is one of my favorite things ... it comes just after snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes ...

rain is one of my favorite things … it comes just after snowflakes that fall on my nose and eyelashes …

Here comes the rain …

as it has for the past several days and, if truth be told, off and on during the entire summer.

I have heard much complaining and lamenting about the rain but I am not one of those lamenters.

Lamenters, for those who are shaking their head and saying that Gina is making up words again, is a real word.

I love the sound of the rain.

The song it sings, the  music it makes, the symphony it employs, the instruments of nature it brings into its midst; wind, leaves rustling, grass shuddering, thunder bellowing.  There are few things more magnificent than the first drops that fall only to be followed shortly by a cacophony of sound that only God can make.

And soon, it will be Autumn and the leaves will be, much in part due to the gratuitous rain, brilliant.

Anyone who lives in the mountains where seasons meld one into another knows that a rainy summer brings on an awe-inspired, much-anticipated, brilliant beyond imagination, much sought after, Autumn.

I shiver in anticipation of October.

Tit for tat.

It can’t all be perfect.  Can’t all be just exactly what everyone wants for everyone wants something different.

My dreams are different from a hundred others’.  Their dreams are different from mine.

But with patience, they all come to fruition.

Patience is the key.  That and faith, which makes the patience less daunting.

James Taylor sang “I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end’.

I feel like that sometimes.

Feel that if there isn’t rain, or a storm or some wind and some lightning that I will simply wither away into nothingness and everything I ever hoped to accomplish will be in vain.

I need the rain.

I need the thunder.

I need the storm.

Without it, I am insignificant.  And I don’t want to be insignificant.

Embrace the rain.  Stand in it and let it saturate you to the skin.  Revel in the wonder and magnificence of water falling from the skies.

It is beautiful if you let it be.

So let it be.

Play in the rain.

And be joyful.

without rain, an impossibility

without rain, an impossibility