Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.
Emerging from tepals, I simply listen to the birds’ morning songs before the wakening and bustle of the world in which we both belong, before the sun itself beats its rays down; thank you, Lord, for the gradual transitions and living Psalms.
Across the street from the ocean, I reside, at my everyday disposal are the almighty tides, the aquahorizon with no opposite end that blends with the sky, no greater reminder of the bigger picture beyond this life, and it does indeed soul-energize, but I’ve always known the humility of how insignificant we are: I seek instead the intimate inner warmth I find crouched among the non-garden flowers inspecting the finest details neglected and trodden, and through my lens and art, I depict how they feed my heart, shared roots and seeds organically free yet universally tied, turning our faces peacefully to the shared light, the Higher Power who sculpted us both, all, with intention and without society-judged flaws, precision in individuality, every living piece lovingly kneaded, and when the rays find and kiss petals, this is the beauty that stills me breathless, to see in crafted detail the miracles of His Creation and how love was meant to prevail in every season.
Destination to nowhere, traversing on foot, no longer running away, just enjoying the non-route and what blooms from roots wildly seeded and the textures of the season and infinite skies ever shape-shifting like my thoughts and the way I get lost far away in them. Dusk hushes. Frogs belt out. Alert for bears and human predators, I turn toward home and the portal of color gradually closes. My feet return to pavement, having being lowered back to reality which, these days, is equally rewarding. Outside in the mornings and in the evenings, essential to my emotional well-being. I can’t imagine not being gifted this amazing, tranquil creation. Thank you, Lord, for the free and natural cure-all medication. In my backyard, beneath the stars, I continue my wandering contemplations…
How can the same patch of land be so ever-changing?
How many more potential bad days can Mother Nature keep preventing?
How is it that I am the only onebearing witness to so much magicon a daily basis?
How much longer can the toad’s eyekeep me entranced? And the intricate details in the anatomy of insects?
How much time has passed in that outside world while I sit among the birdsand squirrels?
How is it that nonhuman friendshave become so underrated? And introverts given such a hard timefor avoiding socialization?
My colleagues are ordering their second round of drinks. I confirm with the waiter, “Just water for me.” Torturous are the hours I prove I’m not an island! (What’s a few white lies to protect my safe-haven?)
A dragonfly stops by to wink at me, shows off how he can fly away so freely into the breeze…
The conversation continues. I do not join in. Release me back into the wild where I fit in…
When it comes to my photography, editing to me is not perfecting, so I suppose I should call it altering; it is transforming creatively the tone, literarily, though that often comes from color changes, cooling or warming, fading or imbuing, really a canvas with my technology as the brush, though you would be surprised with the media I use, an old iPhone about to give out and whatever standard editing app it came with.
My lab is my mind’s eye in reverse, creating what my soul wishes to express, I but a medium myself. I play until the aha moment, always knowing that is exactly what I was looking for. Each starting photo, a message itself I collect from nature. Sometimes it speaks as is, especially when it is lit. Sometimes it lends itself, whispers, “Do with me what you may, May Child; my metamorphism is in your trusted hands. Make me the more you believe I am.”
Sometimes I feel the nature challenges me in this way to keep going beyond and beyond, rebirthing new ways, not godlike, but godchildlike, spending my days attune to the spirit in the petals and breezes, in the rays and the blades, in the insect and the web. I create with images I creatively capture, crouched down and over the barely noticed, shrinking further than Alice into the macroworld, still infused with wonder, perhaps even more so. With each alteration, a new message, perhaps divinely inspired.
I do my duties in the world so I can retreat––into the yard, into myself, into the absence of voices except my inner one and the whispers from butterflies and the birdsong, and I listen and listen for The One as I visit my many companions of the natural realm. Often, I bring heaven down. To earth. Though I find enough evidence that it is already here. All about us. And as much as I avoid the humans, I know the greatest purpose here is to love one another. My purpose the same but from afar. Bringing light and hope to you is how I try to do my part.
The things we edit…
Often, in relation, we edit by removing blemishes, by cropping out all the real, showcasing our best fake versions of ourselves and our lives, for behind the cameras lie the whole truths. We compete. We turn the cameras around onto the shells of our selves, lose the nature and others, snapshots of ourselves as the universe’s center, lenses in reverse yet outward, for our inner selves are not the focus.
There are pieces of heaven in each of us. Because we were each made the way He intended. What we make of ourselves from what we were given: that is the welcomed art of continued collaborative creation. Excavate the light within. Keep painting with your truest inner discovered colors. We should never settle for being done when we are each and all continued masterpieces in progress. May we never fade permanently to sepia or still life; though both of these are essential to the process.
I still believe we can beautifully alter all of this…