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.
Every action of your life touches on some chord that will vibrate in eternity.
Edwin Hubbell Chapin
A hike in the mountains with me isn’t for the faint of heart because rarely is reaching the summit important, and the person that can come with me and take pleasure as well in the findings along the way is a true gem.
The woods are full of stories. Stories of rebirth, life and death struggles, hope and renewal. We found these scars encircling this tree scraping higher and higher. All around were other trees burned, some to charcoal, others merely kissed by flames.
Black bear we figured. We like to think he survived the fire of 2017 but can only imagine how many animals did not.
I had a recent review of a group of five photographs done by an industry professional whose words struck a chord with me. He referenced a serenity and poetic quality in my work and spoke of how most offered elements that existed outside of the frame.
I’m still thinking about those words and how to dig deeper, not just when I have my camera in hand but every day for it’s not just in the image where elements exist outside of the frame.
Something to think about as this year draws to a close…