What path will you take?…

It’s that end-of-the-year-introspection time again! I’m coming down off the high of finishing (what they term winning) my first NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). My latest novel is well on its way, and yes, I wrote the ending—I like to know where I’m going.

The image above is representative of how I live my life. I like to remember where I’ve been, but I don’t need to see the past in vivid detail. Human nature isn’t kind—it’s cruel and selfish—the sooner one loses the idea that it’s anything other than that, the safer you become.

I stood looking back on our tracks in a landscape softened and muffled by falling snow and thought, silence truly can be deafening. It’s the perfect landscape for me. It’s calm, uncluttered, and contains what’s essential for me to be happy.

What isn’t seen in the image is the support that stands behind me. This year has brought immense clarity and I’m grateful for the people that are in my life.

I’m happy. We’re happy. Find beauty in nature. It will never disappoint you.

Not a lot of words today…

I’m one week into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and, so far, am on track to hit the required 50,000 word count by November 3oth.

With that in mind, I chose an image today that didn’t need a lot of words. Thursday brought an incredible display of Aurora Borealis—amazing colors so intense that they were visible to the naked eye. I was so grateful that we were able to catch it in such a gorgeous setting.

These are the moments! Take time to get outside and look up.

The American Black Bear…

Fiercely protective. This wasn’t an aggressive stance—the sow was only trying to get a better look at what her nose told her was there. I was grateful for the moment. Direct eye contact for a matter of seconds with a large predator, on her turf, as she decided if I was a threat to her cubs.

We’re not that different, she and I. The endgame’s the same though the reasons may differ.

Her look seemed to say, “If you come for me, you better be ready for what I’m going to do to you.”

I can applaud that. I can respect that. I can relate to that.

Be the bear—stand your ground.

A walk for the senses…

It’s here—even if you were blindfolded you couldn’t miss the scent of fall in the air. When molecules and memories collide and the sweet sugary smell of decaying leaves fills the air. It’s impossible not to be reminded of childhood moments spent raking leaves into piles and leaping into them afterward.

This walk in the mountains was particularly memorable. Watchful of bears stuffing themselves in the final weeks before hibernation, we entered a clearing just as three elk strolled past navigating the shallow waters of the creek bed.

And just then I heard it. Ripping through the air the bugle call of a bull elk as dawn’s first light began to lift the shadows.

He laughed at the expression on my face after hearing the sound for the first time and my hand reached for his as we soaked up the moment.

Life goes on—enjoy the ride.

Couldn’t let the day pass by…

without acknowledging my father’s birthday. When I came across this pastoral landscape accented by light falling on a distant mountain, it struck me that it was the kind of scenery he would have loved to have painted. I can almost see him slathering color upon the mountains with his palette knife and scratching detail into the hay bales in the foreground with a stiff, tapered brush.

My father’s been gone for almost twenty years but the memories linger. He wasn’t the perfect father but I always knew that he loved me and he knew that I loved him. I’d give almost anything to share with him what my life’s like now.

Love is imperfect, but that’s as it should be. It lives in darkness and light—touching some for a day and others for a lifetime—a gift, not a right. If you love someone, tell them today, in case tomorrow never comes.

Happy birthday, Dad!

Exciting news!

This is my seventh year of blogging and I thought it might be fun to throw in something a little different. The House (working title) when completed, will be my second full length novel.

I’ve sent the first five chapters off to my editor for her usual hard-hitting critique of plot, character, and structure. Did you know that the hard work begins after you’ve written the manuscript?

It’s (almost always) about the water, but sometimes it’s about the words too.

Twisted Words…

While exploring, we came across a church that had been in existence for well over a century. I couldn’t help but think how the words spoken here might have nourished the souls of these early pioneers settling in an unforgiving landscape.

I photograph and I write—two different yet connected mediums. Images take me on a visual journey of my world, while written words resonate deeply on the inside.

Both can be lies.

From the scale, perspective, and editing of a photograph, to the idea that words can be a crafted illusion of what we want to be true—that writing them doesn’t make them so.

We need to be better stewards of the truth and guard against swallowing the bitterness of others.

It’s a crazy world out there, one where isolation and fear has created a few monsters, and neither photographs nor words tell the whole story. A little extra kindness never hurts while the truth unfolds.

Ripple effect…

We make choices every day not knowing the consequences that one decision may make in our lives.

Sometimes fear renders us incapable of taking a step forward—the known is somehow much safer.

What if we open ourselves up and the very opposite of what we hope for happens? What if the people we trust aren’t trustworthy?

You learn from it, and instead of building walls you build a cocoon, soft and silken, and you heal.

And you grow with the knowledge that sometimes people are broken and the decay that grows within them cannot be seen from the outside.

Some would say, you just gotta love them more.

I would say, you just gotta walk away. Listen to your intuition and don’t make excuses justifying someone’s bad behavior. Forge ahead because even the bad things are good things—we grow from the experience.