All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
On a recent flight my seatmate was a woman slightly older than myself but as you do in close quarters, we began to chat. Summing up your life history in a few short sentences is somewhat freeing. Each time you share your story, even if it’s with someone you’re likely never to see again, it opens the door to healing scars that may not be visible from the outside.
Gazing out over the mountains below she spoke with regret of the place where she had gotten married, a place that I have been to on several occasions and each time have been seduced by its beauty.
You see it burned in the fall of 2017, 19,303 hectares in the park itself. She said it was now ugly, it would never be the same, and she likely would not return. I was surprised by that reaction, so at odds with my own. I shared some images with her that I had taken over the last two years but where I saw signs of strength and survival she saw only haunting scars.
She’s a breast cancer survivor and I couldn’t help but wonder what she feels about herself when she confronts a mirror. When I see scars, especially devastating ones, I always think of the strength that it must have taken to push beyond that and to survive.
Change is a good thing. It gives us the opportunity to create a new narrative and to perhaps do a better job when we tell the next story.
“First you must have the images, then come the words.”
Robert James Waller, The Bridges of Madison County
I photograph first and then I write, for it’s the images that speak to me.
I rarely go out with expectations of what I’m going to photograph. It’s far more interesting to look around and see what’s there, which was how I ended up under this bridge. I can’t even begin to estimate the amount of travel this bridge sees as it leads to one of the most picturesque mountain sites in the country.
Great movie, by the way, the Bridges of Madison County. Written in eleven days after the author spent some time photographing bridges proving once again that inspiration can come from the most simple of events.
Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I remember as a child one of my favorite posters was of a cloud identification chart. It made such an impact that many years later I can still picture it in my mind.
Much like the ocean, the sky is like a huge canvas just waiting for the first brushstrokes to be laid and on this day there was something special planned!
These clouds are created in part by instability when wind is moving at different speeds in the upper and lower layers of a cloud resulting in a wave like appearance. They were named after physicists Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz.
A special note that often appears in discussions about the rare and fleeting clouds is that they are believed to have inspired the cloud formations in Van Gogh’s Starry Night oil on canvas.
A reminder to take time every day to enjoy the beauty found in our natural world. These disappeared in a moment but for me, they will live on forever.