Tag Archives: Florida

Back to Reality

After a fun-in-the-sun filled week in one of the most beautiful places on earth, I and the family are back from Madeira beach on the magnificent Gulf Coast of Florida.  Back from paradise and back to the reality of my everyday life.  The sand was white, the sunsets were brilliant, the water was blue and the weather was warm. The colors of the water and sky seemed to merge, at times, so that discerning one from the other was nearly impossible.  But, paradise isn’t something that can be harnessed or held captive and there wasn’t a way to stay any longer this time.  Once back home, it didn’t take long for true reality to show it’s face.   I had to do two things last night that I haven’t had to do in a week… first, I had to run from a spider and second, had to turn on the heated mattress pad.  As I sit here this evening looking out the window toward the road, I find it hard to be completely happy that I am not looking out upon the ocean, feeling the humid air caress my skin and knowing that, in a short while, a new light show will manifest as the sun sets behind the Gulf and the sky turns a dozen shades of red, orange and yellow.  There are tractors in my vision as opposed to sail boats and fishing trawlers, tobacco as opposed to palm trees and dirt as opposed to sand.  While I dearly long for the sea, I cannot discount the beauty of the mountains and their likeness to the coast I left behind.  The mountains and hills, much like the sea, continuously roll and change, making the scene a little different each time I look at it.  Depending on the season, the trees display their beauty in the form of waving leaves, ripening fruit or their stalwart nakedness.  The fields will turn from green to brown, then will die away until spring.  The coast, however, will in some way, remain the same from season to season even though it changes from second to second.  While that sameness could get old for some, I find the beauty of a timeless place that changes with every roll of a wave, though it often goes unnoticed, to be a source of inspiration.  No matter how much the same something seems to be, underneath the sameness is a greatness whose workings are only known by God.   I’ve been to the sea, I’ve seen the desert and I live in the mountains… each one, though vastly different, is the same in that they call to my heart in a way that I never really expected.  I don’t want to stay in one place.  I can feel the wanderlust growing inside me and there will come a time, Lord willing, when I will get in my car with a few changes of clothes, my camera, laptop, phone and tripod and hit the road.  Where that road will lead me remains to be a mystery, one that I look forward to unraveling.  I find that waiting for that moment in time to become the present is likely the hardest thing I have ever done.  I don’t want to wait, but now is not the time.  When it is time, I will knowDaylight Moon and until then, the urge to go will grow and mature inside me so that when I go, I will know what to do when I get there.   I have faith in an awesome God who answers the prayers of His people.  He knows the deepest desires of my heart and the dreams of my spirit and I have no doubt that He will show me the things that I so long to see.  Until then, I will put the ocean away and embrace the beauty of the mountains with the foggy mornings and cool evenings… and I will wait.  Photography will take me where I want to go, I’ve no hesitations about believing that, and God will bless my photography so that it will glorify His greatness.  Yes, I will wait and while I do, I will continue to serve, worship and revere Him for all the things He has already shown me and thank Him for what is to come.

Beyond imagination

As I look out upon the amazing and vast ocean, one of God’s most magnificent creations, I find that what I can imagine doesn’t come close to what God is.  The sheer magnitude of creation is, in its own right, breathtaking.  Maybe it just seems more beautiful than before because this is my last day here, or perhaps that’s the mystery of paradise, that it really does get more unbelievable as each day passes.   Whatever the reason, I know that I will miss this place and though, for now my home is in Virginia, my heart will stay by the sea… until we meet again, I will see you only in my dreams.

Dreaming in Color

There’s an old Gospel song called Beulah Land.  It is my daddy’s favorite song and one that I have heard and sung many times over the years.  While I understand the first line, which says “I’m kind of homesick for a country that I’ve never been before”, I’ve never experienced it in a humanized kind of way as I do now.  The mountains, save for a few years in my early twenties, have always been my home and though I have jokingly referred to moving to some sunny beach at some point in my life, that is all it has been, just talk.  Just joking.  Just thinking out loud.  But now, the joke is on me.  On the ride down from Southwest Virginia, I was looking forward to being back on the Gulf Coast and had, as the rest of the brood making the journey did, expectations of great fun and awesome beauty.  What I didn’t expect was to feel the gut-churning excitement of coming home.  Of seeing a place that I didn’t realize I had so greatly missed.  Didn’t expect to want to dig my feet into the sands and my roots into the community and become a part of honest to goodness beach life.  I didn’t expect to know, with certainty, that I would once again leave my family, friends and the home I know and love to go somewhere far away.  But it is a real possibility, one I can see in the near future as opposed to the wavering places that live toward the end of my days.  I can see myself sitting on the porch in the evening, a cup of coffee and my laptop, as the sun sinks behind the fathomless ocean and the sky above it turns to a brilliant orangy red with streaks of blue and darkening purple.  I can envision the brilliant mornings with the sound of the rolling tide as I walk along the sandy beach, a trusty dog by my side and my Pentax around my neck.  It no longer seems like just something I dream of, but something that I am going to have to do in order to fulfill what my life is about.  Here on the Gulf, there seems to be no sense of time or place, but instead, even for those who work here, from what I’ve seen so far, a laid-back attitude that comes from knowing that no matter what kind of day one has had, it’s ok because the ocean is nearby to soak up all the bad and replenish the soul with the depths that only our Heavenly Father knows.  I knew the moment I saw the farm where we live now, my parents in their big old farmhouse and me beside them in my little single-wide, that I had to live there.  That it was a place where God’s presence was in the trees and the hills, the changing seasons and the wildflowers.  I feel that same thing now, that feeling of urgency that there is somewhere else I need to be, but this time, it is one with changing tides, white sandy beaches, sea oats, ocean sunsets and warm, humid breezes.  There is no way to say when I will be back, but one thing I know for certain is this…  I will be back and then it will be to stay.  When Jim, rest his soul, was living, we often spoke of living on the ocean and he wasn’t the least bit interested.  Even then, there was a pull, but it had no power and it was something I could easily put in the back of my mind.  Now, with Jim in Heaven and my only child in college, there is nothing, save for my own fear of change, to hold me back.  There are many decisions to be made and heartstrings to be pulled, there are ties to be cut and tears to be dried, but in the end, I will go where God sends me to do what He wants me to do.  Just as I know I will end up living on the Gulf somewhere, I know it is photography that will take me there.  I have faith in an awesome God who doesn’t build up the dreams and wonders of His children only to look at them and say “Psyche!”  Until that moment when I can load up my duffel bag and take only what I need to start a life that I was meant to live, I’ll wait and I’ll watch and I’ll be the best servant I can be.  And once I’ve made the leap, I’ll wait and I’ll watch and I’ll be the best servant I can be, for God is faithful and He expects nothing less of His people.