Delusion…

a better state of mind?

snow covered peak is on a rooflineIt is far better to grasp the universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.

Carl Sagan

I’m reminded of something that my optometrist once said to me as she marveled, you really don’t like your vision to be fully corrected do you?

Today I still find a lot of truth in that, I don’t want to see things as they are but as they could be and my cameras allow me that luxury.

It’s a constant struggle between the optimist in me and the voice of reality that roots for people to change and to somehow become what they’re really not.

But people don’t change do they? They are exactly who they are when the mask slips and you see what lies behind.

And no matter how much I would like it to be different, that beautiful snow-covered peak will always just be a roofline.

 

And the geek…

in me comes out.

clear transparent ice reveals the lily pads lying frozen above and beneath the surfaceWater is the key to life, but in frozen form, it is a latent force. And when it vanishes, Earth becomes Mars.

Frans Lanting

As temperatures continue to plummet all over the country I wanted to take a closer look at this image from a frozen spring fed lake.

It was captivating to stroll on the ice looking deep into its depths at the frozen tableau.

It feeds my fascination with water and how nothing is ever the same and each encounter shares something new.

This was congelation ice that forms underneath an existing layer of ice, building off the bottom. Then when the top layer melts, the clarity of the ice below is revealed.

And once again the natural world parallels human nature. Sometimes what you see on the surface doesn’t come close to what lies beneath…

He wasn’t a good dog…

he was a great dog!

Daunt-EditThere is no decision that we can make that doesn’t come with some sort of balance or sacrifice.

Simon Sinek

I’ve been listening to Simon Sinek’s “Start With Why” and it is one powerful message so it comes as no surprise that this quote should pop into my head as I’m writing this.

This was a beautiful story and being the dog lover that I am, I never tire of hearing “Daunt” stories.

He had an exceedingly hard start to his life having been in the possession of a hoarder for the first four years of his life. A hoarder who was forced to surrender countless dogs kept in appalling conditions. Hoarding is a medical condition that manifests itself in many ways but the common thread is acquiring and refusing to part with “things”.

Having been involved in the clean-up of a home belonging to a hoarder, this story breaks my heart because we’re not just talking about stacks of paper and junk, we’re talking about living, breathing, animals kept in neglectful, abusive situations.

Unlike some stories though, this one did have a fairytale ending when one man took the time to visit the shelter on several occasions and gain the trust of this particularly challenging dog. One who did not like men, but bonded hard and fast with this man, surprising even the animal behaviorist on site to assist in the transitions.

Fast forward a decade or so and we find that sometimes our animal relationships are more enduring and balanced than those we share with other humans and sacrifices are made that are incredibly difficult.

They did not get to spend the last year and a half together, the decision being made that Daunt was better off finishing his life in the home that he’d known best. A home where he would still be cared for. A safe decision for a dog who’d endured so much trauma in the early years.

This photo was shared with me on their last visit together, knowing at the time that it would likely be the last visit.

I couldn’t be with someone who didn’t share my passion for dogs and even writing this brings tears to my eyes as I think of the strength it took for him to say good-bye to his dog for the last time.

Rest in peace, Daunt, rest in peace.

Winter Solstice…

a perfect time to reflect on the year.

DSC_2745-Edit-2-3Let the dawns

come late,

let the sunsets

arrive early,

let the evenings

extend themselves

while I lean into

the abyss of my being

Joyce Rupp Winter’s Cloak

I love the starkness of a winter landscape when the trees are laid bare.

I love the extra time in the mornings to look at the night sky.

I love the feeling of solitude that comes with ours being the only tracks on a blanket of fresh snow.

For those celebrating the Winter Solstice, I hope your day is filled with peace, love, and joy.

Architect…

as a verb.

DSC_1817-Edit-2It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam.This crisp winter air is full of it.

John Burroughs

I watched an inspiring speech by Mathew McConaughey this week, thank you LH for posting it, that talked about being the architects of our own lives. To not do the things that put our souls in jeopardy. To find out who we are not in order to then learn who we are.

Timing…sometimes that’s the critical element that allows a message to really sink in and for me the timing was right to hear words about simplifying my life.

Every time I pick up a camera I choose very deliberately what will be within that framework so why then is it so difficult to use that same process in life?

We are each as individual as the snowflake pictured above. We each value and follow different paths in search of that which brings happiness and contentment. If we were to compare those snapshots of our lives each would look entirely different.

Following along the lines of last week’s blog post of a self-portrait, I am going to spend more time treating my life as a photograph, carefully framing its elements, removing those that no longer suit, and filling it with those things that feed my soul.

Architect as a verb…that works for me.

Top of…

the food chain.

BT 4-EditIn every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.

John Muir

Some people can go all of their lives and never see a glimpse of these top of the apex predators.

This year I’ve been on a roll, catching my first glimpse from 20 feet away. A chance encounter on foot that fortunately ended well, no cubs to protect or kill to guard. Considering that they’ve been clocked at 30 mph it makes 20 feet feel like a hop, skip, and a jump away.

When we first saw this most perfect of natural track traps laden with grizzly prints set by a layer of frost covering the wet mud, I almost had to remind myself to breathe.

Tracks are rapidly becoming something that I find great joy in photographing. I think in part it’s the transient nature and the luck involved with encountering them at just the right moment. Capturing them, these intimate landscapes, provides a permanent record that places like this still exist.

They tell a story as you follow them ever mindful that the beast that created them has been there and still might be. Interspersed amidst the grizzly tracks were tracks from  black bear, mountain lion, elk, and later on, those of my Staffords.

But soon the wind will blow and the snow will fall, erasing the signs that in the wilderness the wild is never far away.

Stay vigilant and always check your surroundings…

Is it art…

just because we say it’s so?

DSC_1027-Edit-EditBefore the people at large, and for that matter, the artists themselves, understand what photography really means, as I understand that term, it is essential for them to be taught the real meaning of art.

Alfred Stieglitz

Had some interesting conversations lately about art; what it is and what it is not.

Is it the piece of dryer lint tied with thread and given space at a gallery? Or perhaps it’s the old sheet hung on the wall with a word written on it? Is it assembly line production of paper and glue?

Is it art because it matches your sofa cushions? Is it art because you cut an old RV in half and applied social commentary to it? Does the quality of the material used elevate the work?

The very definition of art, the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination would lead me to believe that there are more components involved than the simple desire to be called an artist.

Recent art exhibits seemed to be accompanied by lengthy bios on the artist and the creative process that resulted in some of the exhibits mentioned above leading me to wonder is it art if it has to be explained to you in advance of the viewing?

For me whatever I’m looking at, my own work or that of others, first and foremost it has to evoke some sort of emotion and secondly the creation of the piece has to have some component of skill and intention involved.

Art or craft…always a hot topic. I’m grateful for artists like Stieglitz who paved the way for photography as an art form.

There was a man with great passion, talent, and intention and I would have loved to shadow him for just one day as he worked.

Who moves you? What motivates you to create and not just replicate?