There’s a reason this blog is called Beautiful. Ugly. Me. The last few months have been undeniably difficult, but here’s the thing. They’ve been beautiful, too…and I missed it.
I was flipping back through some of the photos from the last few weeks and am in awe of what I found. I’m overwhelmed by the fact that the inanimate lens of my iPhone picked up what I failed to see.
So I’m taking a moment to step back and remind myself, and hopefully you, that goodness is available for those with eyes to see. That if I’m patient, I’ll stop sabotaging myself and find what I’ve been looking for all along.
I hang suspended
. Stretching away from my design
. Wrapped tight within myself—my natural tendency
. Clear shimmering, promising help
. But void.
. My neighbor slips down
. Bumping my tight skin, breaking the meniscus,
. Binding with me, pulling, stretching
And we dance to the ground.
Splash, jumping with the others
Filter through the dirt
This poem is in response to the Five Minute Friday prompt: Neighbor. The rules are: write for 5 minutes and no editing (although I can’t stop myself a little. I am an editor after all). And yes, I know it isn’t Friday anymore. I was up enjoying Lake Michigan and my family and purposefully left my laptop at home. But I did take pics. If you’d like to see some, head over to my Instagram account.
Like the little water droplet in the poem, I so often fight joining with other folks. But when I do allow myself, I find a whole new purpose.
So this fall I’m back to leading a neighborhood study and hanging with my writer’s group. But I’m also presenting at two writer’s conferences and volunteering downtown at a fabulous outreach that uses art to reach the homeless population. I’m nervous and excited as I dance into this new season. Hoping to be nourishment to my fellow neighbors.
The other day, I was out for a walk. Despite the bright sunshine, darkness hovered close, stalking the cracks and crevices of my mind. This nebulous shadow is nothing new. And I found myself fighting it, once again.
If you have never tried, doing battle with a substanceless thing is tiring work on a normal day. But I’d also just had surgery, and my daughter had hurt her knee…really hurt it.
So we were living with a mom who was recovering and a girl who’s broken—a gaping black hole on the MRI where her bright white ACL should be.
But as I walked, my crazy dog running circles around my legs, I started noticing the shadows, the sketches of blocked light.
I suddenly started seeing the light playing inside the shadow—the interplay an exquisite balance.
Most of you know that I had surgery a few weeks ago. My recovery is going well. But I’m beginning to lose patience with myself and I’m beginning to think I may never wear pants with an actual waistband again.
So I set myself a goal of walking outside every day and appreciating spring…because, let’s be honest, there’s something about spring. Since I generally share my week with you, I thought you might enjoy seeing my world in living color.
In case you’re wondering, the extreme close-up shots are taken with my iPhone 5S with an Olloclips 14x Macro lens. The rest are a combination of my phone and my Nikon D3200.
There are times when life gets too big, my vision too full of debris and clutter that threaten to trap me. And I must focus small to get through. The macro shot bringing life down to leaf-sized, manageable pieces. There’s just something about the tight focus.
So I bring you the beauty in the small, tiny veins of a brittle leaf, the light caught in the edges of an evergreen needle, and the rich brown rings on a fungus. May these humble images bring you a moment’s joy for the week.
From the moment my daughter was born, she was most content when not inside. As a baby, the best way to calm her colicky crying was to snuggle her in a bouncy seat under the maple tree or, when it got cold, take her for a ride in a sled.
During her early years, I spent hours in the woods trailing a toddler looking for critters under overturned logs, disguised behind leaves, and lurking in the water. We amazed at how they were created to adapt to their environment and needs.
I started photographing the animals we found and put them into a book for my girl…and those little books became board books published a few years back. (Check out the All About God’s Animal series over here.)
My girl is a tween now and doesn’t need me by her side as she builds tree forts and digs for fishing worms. And so it’s been a long, long time since I hunted the woods, beaches, and waterways for critters and nature to capture on film.
Until now. A few days ago, my girl asked me to go take pictures with her. The little dude was at soccer practice and the field is hemmed in with fields and trees—full of natural beauty, decay, and life all mixed together for us to explore. Continue reading “Worth a Thousand Words”→
Summer break is still new enough that we haven’t done too much complaining of boredom . . . yet. It’s open and we can sleep in and just breathe for a second. Paint, throw water balloons, read, . . . and go to the beach. Can’t forget the beach, where the sky breathes into the water, which slides into sand.
This unique place is one of our favorite destinations. If you’ve never made it to our neck of the woods, we have, arguably the best beaches in the world. Seriously Western Michigan’s white sandy, fresh water “ocean” coastline has often found it’s way into top mentions right alongside Hawaii, Florida, and the rest. So in honor of Lake Michigan, I give you:
It’s been hot. Stifling even, and summer hasn’t even started in earnest yet. The sun over head glaring down, burning away at this crust of earth. The moisture in the ground giving in, and rising up in choking humidity.
But today, today, we awoke to the grey of coming rain. The air heavy in anticipation.
When the drops come, they come heavy, wrapped in a symphony for the senses.