Just one more shot

Last weekend when my friends and I were at Hocking Hills State Park the weather was a bit rainy and the skies overcast most of the time.  Sunday morning brought some fog and the hope for sunshine.  We didn’t care about the cold autumn air because we were enjoying the early morning light.  For quite a while no one else was around.  There was just the sound of a few birds, the trickling of water falling off a cliff, the earthy smell of the woods.  To me it was heavenly.

The
three of us had lots of
time to talk, laugh, or just share in the silent reverie, enjoying the
amazing creation all around us.  Our conversations often came back to
how much we are learning from each other, how sharing this hobby with
friends makes a bigger difference than anything else we have tried.  This sharing involves getting together and going out to take photos, with no concern about camera type, or how many contests you’ve entered, or even the number of images you take at each event.  No, this sharing is all about helping each other learn.

When I’m out traveling I often look at everything around me and think of how I would take a photo of this or that.  I was guilty of some of that on this trip, too.   It’s so easy to fall into that habit, to just pick up the camera and shoot way too many images.   

Guilty? Too many images?  Yes.  Because sometimes it is more important to view this world without camera in hand, to let the awesome power of nature stir your soul, to listen to what the images have to tell you about yourself.   There are times when the camera needs to be left alone.  

As we headed for the car to start our journey back to home – and reality –  the sun had finally come up over the hills, touching the trees and bathing us in warmth and light.  I had not bothered to see how many photos I had taken, nor did I care…but I knew I could not pass these trees near the parking lot without getting another photo.  

I noticed that my friends did the same.   

 

In The Woods

 

As we began our walk in the woods that day it was so quiet. No sounds except the birds and a distant woodpecker tapping away. The air was crisp and cool, the breeze gentle, and the warm sun felt really good on our backs.  The ground beneath our feet was damp from an early morning rain, so that even our steps on the leaves and branches on the path made no crunching noise.  The stillness was surrounding us in a beautiful way.

My husband and I often go to the woods to find ourselves again, to escape the normal daily grind, to hear whatever Nature wants to tell us.  Normally we do not see other adults of our age out on the trail, but this day we did. A pleasant couple greeted us as we began our walk, then a man walking alone met up with us, and we exchanged hellos.  

“It’s a beautiful day in the woods today,” he said.  I noticed his denim shirt, his hat and walking stick, and very pleasant smile.  We all then went our separate ways.  

A few steps later I heard the rhythmic sound of the tap tap tap of the man’s walking stick as he crossed the little footbridge on the trail. I paused, turned to see him moving across the wooden planks, and decided to snap a photo.  The sun was streaming through the trees, lighting the path on the bridge, making a pattern on his denim shirt.  Just one shot, and we continued on our way.

What was it about the sight of this stranger walking away?  Perhaps it was the cadence of his stride, accented by the tap of that walking stick.  Or the set of his shoulders, the pace of his walk, the very demeanor about him that spoke of many walks in the woods, taking time to reflect and just soak in all the beautiful surroundings.  

For the rest of our time in the woods that day I thought of this encounter, of how just the image of this man and his walking stick reminded me of an English class long ago when I fell in love the the words and wisdom of Thoreau.  The tap of the walking stick being a beat of a different drum. The contemplative attitude of those of us on that trail that day taking me back to the reason why “…. I came to the woods..”  

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential
facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and
not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”  Henry David Thoreau

 

And so it begins…

School
always began toward the end of August where I lived, which is why
this time of year finds me remembering the sights and sounds
connected with walking to school. The air was always just a bit
cooler in the late summer mornings, the grass damp with dew. There
was excitement in the air, anticipation of what the year would bring.

Sitting
by my computer this morning is a box of fresh new crayons, with
perfectly shaped points, in an unblemished box. I put them to my
nose, just like I once did in elementary school, and inhale that
unique smell of wax, which then makes me think of school rooms and
cleaned floors and mimeographed papers. There was always something
special about starting the school year with a fresh supply of these
bright colors, along with the paper and pencils, and new shoes.
On
this crayon box there are terms that were not there years ago, the
color described in three languages instead of one, and words like
“non-toxic” and “made with solar energy”, plus the address
for a website…totally unheard of when I made all those daily walks
on that well worn sidewalk. This world of today is so different.
It’s heart warming to see that a simple tool for drawing remains
pretty much unchanged, in spite of what the packaging may say.
Today
feels very much like an incredible new beginning as I share my image
and words here. In some ways I’m like a giddy little school girl,
jumping up and down and squealing. This opportunity is going to
make me stretch and grow in new ways, and there is a little bit of
fear of the unknown in that.
But
I’m also reaching for my favorite box of tools, looking for that
which is familiar in this ever changing world. I feel the waxy
surface of the orange crayon, the paper wrap that is still intact,
and I wonder…just what I can create with this?
Today I am happy to share my post here at

Vison and Verb

Have you ever been so excited about something that it’s hard to sit still?  That’s me today.

I’m happy and humbled to tell you that I have been invited to be a regular contributor to Vision and Verb, a global gathering of women who like to share their images and words.  I have long been a follower of this group of women, and even shared my own post there just recently.  No doubt this will be an opportunity to grow and learn, and to continue to be inspired by these artists.  

This image I’m sharing today is peaceful, filled with sunlight, tall grasses, a little cloud and lots of blue sky.  It’s there just as much for me as it is for you…maybe because I need something calm to settle me down….

Here’s hoping you have a great Monday, wherever you are!

Deb