A former student of mine (from my first year of teaching) came to visit in early August. I had not seen her in 34 years. It was quite the reunion and re-connection. She wanted to go hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park. However, I also asked if she would like to experience the adventure of sunrise in the Tundra. She said “yes” and had the experience of a lifetime. It was an extraordinary sunrise at Rock Cut. As she moved closer to the rock formations, I was able to capture her silhouette against the fiery sunrise colors. Yes, the experience became a special gift and visit that she will never forget. I wish this gift for all my former students.
“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door
that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
May you all be blessed with the happiness of “new beginnings…”
Rocky Mountain National Park is celebrating 100 years of inspiration and nature at its best. Anyone who knows me is aware that I was drawn to RMNP and Colorado by John Denver’s music – specifically ROCKY MOUNTAIN HIGH.
“…Now he walks in quiet solitude the forest and the streams
Seeking grace in every step he takes
His sight has turned inside himself to try and understand
The serenity of a clear blue mountain lake
And the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it raining fire in the sky
You can talk to God and listen to the casual reply
Rocky mountain high…”
The land feels sacred as it conveys its life and flow through its images of peace and serenity. Isabella Bird described RMNP best with a quote from her book A LADY’S LIFE IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS – “Everything suggests a beyond.”
When troubles come and my heart burdened be
Then I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly
But when you come and I am filled with wonder
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity
You raise me up to walk on stormy seas
I am strong when I am on your shoulders
You raise me up to more than I can be…”
Like most people, I started with black and white photography. I developed my own film and printed my own black and white photographs in my make-shift darkroom. Of course, Ansel Adams was my hero.
Photography has evolved and a dark room is no longer necessary. These images were created as color digital photographs. I did a conversion of the colors to black, white and shades of grey with photoshop. It was a great reminder of the contrast created with various tones and shadows in a photograph. In a sense, the range of tones from black through the shades of grey to white are a collaboration – just like life. Sometimes our beliefs are so strong that we can only see an issue in terms of black or white. By not being open to perceive the tones of grey in an issue are missed opportunities for collaboration and negotiation. So, I acknowledge the peacemakers who have the wisdom to honor the shades of contrast during conflict or difficult decision-making.
All of us, at times, need to have the “courage of our convictions.” If an issue is worth fighting for, stand firm and allow your voice to be heard. Your authentic Self will validate your worth, your belief and your willingness to make a difference in our world and may be an inspiration for others. So, when you feel something is right and for the highest good … stand tall, believe in yourSelf and allow yourSelf to reflect the light of your integrity to support the cause. The challenge may seem like climbing a mountain upward leaving your breathless and exhausted. If so, experiencing your own courage during the process will be reward in itself.
This is my friend, Jack. I met him summer 2013 when we both took a photography class in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado. At age 90, Jack drove himself from Seattle, WA, and then proceeded to inspire, motivate and teach us all how to live life with his vivacious attitude, quest to learn and unbelievable stamina. One only needed to look at his face – a study in history, a study in character – to want to photograph him. So, I asked Jack if I could do some portraits of him and was very pleased with the above result. Needless to say, I sent him a beautiful matted print that he framed and it is proudly displayed in his home. Jack and I quickly became friends and photo exchange buddies after our 2013 photography excursion. We called each other every month or two to check in to see what photography pursuits were on our combined lists. It was clear to me that I was blessed to be in the presence of a person who loved life and lived it to its fullest. I marveled at his recent ski and bike stories and loved hearing his career fireman stories. I constantly wondered what kept me from grabbing life in full pursuit like Jack. I so love Jack that I wanted to share some of his photography work with you: a scene from Seattle, the Tetons and his passion – rodeo photography. So, if your life ever feels boring or without challenge, think of Jack living, seeing and being in the world with charm, grace and a desire to keep learning. I guess 91 is the new 40…
I am writing this story and sharing Jack’s photographs as a tribute to my wonderful friend. Sadly, Jack experienced an unfortunate fall a few weeks ago and passed away very suddenly. Consequently, I could not think of a better way to celebrate and honor my friend than with the words of this tribute and sharing of his special vision of the world. I want to thank Jack’s family for giving me permission to honor my friend in this way and I hope that Jack’s life inspires you to pursue your dreams and live life fully. I will miss my friend dearly. Peace to you, Jack. Here is one more photography display just for you.
As most of you know, I am a retired teacher. However, I have learned that teachers never really retire. They just evolve to another level of service and use their organizational skills for community and to improve the lives of others. Yes, it is a great profession. And, a teacher always lives by the calendar of the school year. So September, to me, still means school.
It is the beginning of the 2014 school year and I wanted to acknowledge all teachers and the teaching profession as you begin a new school year. You have one of the most difficult jobs and yet one of the most fulfilling jobs. The lives that you touch are the potential for the future of humanity. Unfortunately, teachers do not have immediate gratification to know how many lives they will affect. Sometimes, years later, you may reconnect or get invited to a wedding of a former student and you then realize: “Wow! I really did make a difference.”
This photograph was taken at Rock Cut in the tundra at Rocky Mountain National Park. It is almost 12,000 feet at this location and it is an uphill trek. Hiking uphill at this elevation with all my photography equipment trying to get in place to photograph sunrise was exhausting and a challenge – just like teaching. The experience was a little frantic and timing was critical – just like teaching. Even though I was prepared, I still had to be prepared for the unexpected – just like teaching. The clouds tried to resist the brilliant knowledge of a new day – just like teaching. In the end, the effort, the challenge and participating in the process of another day created was all worth it – just like teaching. Therefore, I hope this image inspires your efforts throughout the year.
Good luck to all teachers during this new school year and may you all stay safe.
This is beautiful Mt. Crested Butte after a storm and there is something very etheric and spiritual about this image. The brilliant light appears in the sky as the rainbow fades. Light, cresting the top of the mountain, beckons our attention. The wildflowers sparkle after their evening bath as their colors display a more saturated deep hue. The entire visual seems to convey the divine and divinity. Each day is not always sunny and a storm does brings new light and glory. It is like life. Each day may have its challenges, however, each experience brings forth a new depth to our character. Many years ago, I wrote: “When we accept the rain in our life as growth, we are sure to see a quiet development of our character.” I think these words are still true today. I acknowledge all those who face the storms of life with courage and, as a result, become better people. Your new-found courage allows you to reflect the light of your brilliant personality and convey a deep conviction for your truth. I honor you all…
After publishing the husky puppy photographs in recent posts, some friends asked for current photographs of my beloved Siberian Husky – Nikki. Well, here she is with her beautiful smile to share with all of you. She is my loyal companion and was really quite resilient during and after the September flood here in Lyons. In fact, I can say that she has been extraordinary with a new change in her behavior. As most know, we were displaced from our homes for two months. Once we returned, everything was changed: the landscape, homes and people’s lives. It seems as though Nikki sensed the change in her town and stress for everyone here. Consequently, she has created a new “job” for herself. She wants to walk on Main Street every day and greets everyone that she approaches. She looks at people, flashes her smile and then waits… Of course, people are enamored with her beauty and immediately stop, compliment her and start to pet her. Nikki cuddles with everyone that she meets and before the interaction is over, they are smiling too and I think Nikki realizes this as well. It seems as though she has become one with her soul purpose to bring comfort and joy to the lives of others with the pure essence of her personality. She is being compassionate, caring and a source of inspiration and peace even for a few moments in someone’s day. My Nikki is a role model for service to humanity … and, she does it with a smile!