Through the lens
To one set
A glimpse by the shooter
A glimpse into a soul
By those looking
Through the lens
Most people put a candle in the window this time of year, but do you know the origin? The single lighted candle was put in the window, often lit by the fire from the fireplace. The fireplace was the source of warmth, of light, and the gathering place for family. The candle was to invite others to share in this love. During the Civil War, the candle was an invitation to soldiers to share in warmth, love, food, and shelter.
Through this holiday season, instead of a candle, I am lighting this oil lamp. It lives on my patio table so it is seen from the street and sidewalk. I am lighting it every night to send the love of my heart and the warmth of my home out to others. To the men and women protecting our country, the friends, family, and passing strangers, to the lost souls needing to know they are loved, and in memory of those that live on in my heart. May the love of this season shine upon you and yours! love you and blessings always.
Once, when I was just a kid, I met a young couple just starting out. High school sweethearts, but as I would later learn they were the epitome of soul mates. Two souls that literally found their mate early in life. Was life perfect? No, but they always made the best out of it. I don’t really remember how or even why they let me hang out with them, but let me tell you I was the one blessed.
Early on, I guess I was nine or ten, I thought these were the most beautiful people on the planet. Lyndi was tiny, with long hair. She has the most infectious laugh and a quirky sense of humor. Ronnie had a dark complexion and the most amazing eyes I ever saw. I would watch Lyndi brush her hair, put it in clips or a pony, then take the brush to what usually looked like a rag mop on my head. Ever so gently she attacked each tangle until they were all gone. Ronnie would come home and sit to tell us of his day before I would rush out the door headed home. I loved to hear him talk, even as an adult there was a soothing, loving quality about his voice. There was always a hug and love from them both before I went out the door…. always .
I have so many beautiful memories of these two. Bowling, the lake, and the movies, births, deaths,tragedies and successes. Holding each of the kids, Dustin when he was tiny as Lyndi and I sat watching the junior high boys practice football. He sat so quiet in my lap until he started giggling….. diaper change time. Yes, since I was holding him I had to change him. Heather was about 9 when she got to meet Kristen for the first time. She took her by the hand and I knew as long as she was with Heather she was fine. Heather, from a tiny girl was going to mother the world, juse like her mom. I walked up the aisle at my wedding praying we wouldn’t meet Ronda. I was so worried about Lyndi, she was hugely pregnant with Ronda. It would have been a blessing to meet the fireball of this trio that day, but all the little old folks might have freaked . Ronda has always been the wildlife of her parents so precious though.
Ronnie and Lyndi taught me so much through the years, to love family and friends regardless, to laugh and love through the good and the bad, to seek out beauty no matter how minuscule, and to hug often.
Yes, I am so blessed. I know without a doubt that Lyndi met Ronnie and Braxton on Friday with open arms and that she and Ronnie are blanketing the kids with so much love as the grieve this tragic loss.
There are beautiful, perfect angels in heaven today, there is an unfillable silence on this big blue marble. I know so many hearts shattered Friday, mine included.
Laying on the tailgate of my pickup, in the parking lot of the apartment, I gaze into the twilight sky. The gentle breeze is softly blowing low billowy clouds across the sky and four stars are visible with all the city light pollution. I notice the the hue of the clouds is a bright orange. Somewhere there is a gorgeous Texas sunset happening. Somewhere beyond my line of sight mother nature has created in splendor a colorful farewell to today. A hot tear escapes my eye and runs across my cheek, landing in the collar of my t-shirt.
I long to chase the sun again. To feel the waters of the creek rush over my feet and the natural air fill my lungs. I long for a freedom.
So many emotions fill my very being. Anger, betrayal, compassion, depression, concern, and empathy to name a few. I need some time in nature to get my bearings, to find my anchor, to sort out my feelings. I need a moment to step back and look around. Plunged deep in the waters of the unknown, the uncertainty and emotion, I can’t take a breath.
Life has always seemed to change in an instant, has it really? Small changes occurring everyday, the a major shift maybe? Now left to figure out the here and now, keep hope alive and try to keep on living. I don’t know, take it one day at a time, each tiny step and see where it ends up.
I sat on the patio last night after a stressful week, enjoying one of these. I have never been a big fan of beer. In fact I am quite particular. As I sipped this wonderful cider, memories of my first cider encounter brought laughter and tears.
Several years ago, before you could even find cider in stores, my friend Dan and his brew buddies went out to the orchard near Idalou and picked up a bunch of drops. I think we all took a turn at turning the press to juice them. And quite honestly, after juicing I didn’t think much about them again. They had used me for a tasting guinea pig before and some were tasty and some were down right horrible.
Dan had called me and asked if I could pick him up from the Brewers Convention in Lubbock. They had entered their batch of cider and a couple of other brews. So, promptly as promised I arrived to retrieve my very excited friend. They had won awards for their cider!! Not thinking hard cider, but apple cider, the kind you get at the roadside stand, I didn’t turn down the glass he offered.
It tasted amazing and in the darkness of midnight I didn’t notice what was a beautiful amber beer in the glass until I got to Dan’s house and wondered how I was going to drive to mine. Hard cider has way more punch that just cider.
So, I sipped on the cider last night with beautiful memories of my departed friend. Still love and miss him daily.
Going through the most recent of my adventure pictures, I am reminded of a quote by Ansel Adams, “I tried to keep both arts alive, but the camera won. I found that while the camera does not express the soul, perhaps a photograph does!” I started to delete this photo, it wasn’t what I wanted. I had taken more than one of the path and the others were focused different, the subject was different in every shot. The longer I studied this one the more it resonated in my own heart and soul.
It was as if nature was showing me things my heart already knew. It is often the feeling that you have fallen, that you are stagnate, standing at a cross roads and unsure of which fork in the road to take. Life never stops, the only time you are not in some kind of motion in this world is when you are dead.
Sometimes I lose my path, my words, my focus feeling like I am stuck in the mud. Like the leaves that are in focus, there are so many things happening, weighing on my heart and mind that I get overwhelmed. I seek out nature and let the photographs speak for me. Even in taking nature photos, the photographer is still the composer. A photograph needs no words, no explanation, no support in is the heart and soul of the composer.
I have in the past year or so lost my words. I now understand professors telling me that I don’t put my heart into writing, I rarely share the deep emotions. I may in some way share the actions and the circumstances but sharing the true emotions isn’t there. I don’t share the disappointments, the fears, the anger or the even a small amount of the love I really feel. Instead, I take my camera out into nature to show my feelings. Often it happens without me even trying.