Is it what shapes the way we interact with the environment?
Is it how ten photographers could shoot the same scene and each image would look different?
Is it why there are differences in how people respond to events in their lives, or perhaps a person’s identity in relation to gender?
Is it the cause of when a business refuses to change its model until it’s too late?
It’s all of these things and more.
Orientation became a critical component of character development last month as I wrote the first fifty thousand words of a novel. It forced me to make mental shifts while in the minds of characters whose actions were completely at odds with what mine would be, under those same circumstances. Some of the characters I lingered with, while others made me want to burn sage to cleanse the air afterward!
Orientation describes why people have certain behaviors, relationships, and varying abilities to adapt—we are products of our experiences, genetics, and culture—and recognizing that allows for better decision making.
When it comes to living your best life, be prepared to make mental shifts on a daily basis. Evaluate and reevaluate. Are the people in your life vested in you? Are they after personal gain? Can they do you harm? Are there strings attached to everything? Look beyond the public or social media picture that’s painted for you. If you don’t, you’ll never know if it’s real or fabricated.
The image above brings another year to a close. It’s a reflection of mountains and trees on a frozen river. And isn’t the end of a year the perfect time for reflection?
This post brings to a close seven years of blogging and happily enough, a doubling of my readership over last year’s numbers. Thank you all, and Happy New Year!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.