Exploring

I love to go for little walks around our fields (we live on around 9 acres of land) and find little flowers or insects or random things to take pictures of. The more I go out, the more I find. I have been especially happy to still find little wild daisies here and there, though I’m certain they’ll be dying away soon since we’ve finally gotten cold weather in Tennessee.

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My old little kitty cat loves to come roam with me, even as her bones get stiff and she explores on her own less and less. She’s around 14 years old now, and has lived outside her entire life (I’d bring her in, but it gives her too much anxiety, so we just make sure she has safe places to sleep outside). She’s my little love.

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Anxiety

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Anxiety has been hard and cruel to me, lately. I’m struggling to feel wanted, worthwhile, and useful. But I refuse to let my anxiety hide the beauty around me for too long because I never want to forget that I am alive, even when I don’t feel like I am or like I want to be.

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So here I am, reaffirming to myself that I am alive. I am trying, and it doesn’t matter if where I end up is not as far as where someone else ended up. My life is not their life, and my path is only created and set out for my own happiness. So if success to me means going outside with my camera for the first time in a long time, then so be it. It doesn’t make anyone else’s success any more or any less, it just means we’re all happy with where we are, hopefully. But this is life, and we’re human, and it won’t ever be perfect or understandable or simple.

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All I can hope for is that every time I find myself falling, I can remember that happiness will be found again, soon.

Eastern Lubber Grasshopper

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One way I’ve found to get over a fear of insects is to appreciate their beauty and learn more about them.

I found out this little (not so little by grasshopper standards) guy is an Eastern Lubber Grasshopper, and he can’t fly. Instead he hops clumsily over grass. He is also very stinky when scared, releasing an irritating and yucky spray, and will hiss quite loudly – I’m very glad he didn’t hiss at me or my camera. They’re common in the southeast, where I live.

I’ve never noticed a bright yellow grasshopper before, especially one quite so large, and I ran to get my camera when I noticed him outside. There’s a smaller one in our kitchen at the moment, mostly black with a yellow stripe, and I think we will just leave him to his own devices, as long as my dog doesn’t try to get a hold of him.

Where one day I would have been terrified of this relatively giant bug, today I appreciate just how gorgeous they are.

Little Friend

IMG_1608Found this little praying mantis on one of our tomatoes while in search of ripe ones, today. He was keeping a very close eye on me to make sure my big hands didn’t smoosh his little body.

Yesterday, I found a slug happily snacking on a tomato.

As far as I’m concerned, there’s plenty for all of us.

We have kept these plants mostly insecticide free (my parents can be stubborn sometimes) and they’ve ended up being our most fruitful vines, ever.

And I sure do love finding little friends like this! He even stayed put for me to fetch my camera and snap a few photos.

I hope he enjoys the tomato.

Take a Hike

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Had a lovely hike today at a local state park, and thoroughly enjoyed myself. I don’t find myself hiking or enjoying the outdoors nearly as much as I used to, other than while camping.

It was nice to have a little weekend refresh. Granted, I was listening to music most of the time, but it still felt like a good way to spend my Sunday afternoon and I wasn’t listening to the incessant buzzing of mosquitoes or the gunshots from the nearby trap shooting range.

The headphones didn’t keep me from enjoying this creepy little swamp though (it actually felt like the beginning of a really bad horror movie), and I believe it was inhabited by turtles if the amount of bubbles I saw was a good indicator.

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I also looked up near the end of the trail to see a beautiful doe staring right at me. She was quite in the mood for a photoshoot because she barely moved as I took her photo from different angles as the trail winded around where she was standing. I don’t think this was her first encounter with a human with a camera.

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It was beautiful and I’m glad I went, even though I almost changed my mind last minute – it was hot and I wasn’t sure I was up to it, but it cooled off instantly in the woods.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more.”
– Lord Byron

Camping

I spent the weekend camping with my family, enjoying the cooler weather. It was breathtakingly beautiful and a wonderful experience, one we’ve now experienced 3 times this summer, at 3 different parks, when we’re usually lucky to have one trip a year. There was wildlife;

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There was a warm, glistening lake with fish in the swimming area during the early morning hours;

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There were insects and butterflies abundant (though I managed to avoid the biting types);

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And there was a beautiful old church, which happened to be the very first church built in my own denomination;

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It was soul refreshing and tiring all at the same time, and I wouldn’t trade the time I get to spend outdoors for anything. Even if you aren’t religious or spiritual, there is something out in those woods, and all the rest, that will speak to you, and I urge everyone to take time, every now and then, to go listen for it.

Small Wonders

I don’t have much to say today. I just want to admire the small wonders the world has to offer to me.

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A butterfly landing on my window (I will admit, I took this picture yesterday and forgot to edit it, but just look at that little guy). Looking at my butterfly field guide, I’m fairly certain this friend is a hackberry emperor.

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A cucumber growing in our garden (and the tiny little dew drops still clinging to the grass).

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A rose, hiding from the morning light starting to peek over the garage.

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And this glass that’s been sitting out back, collecting the dew and fresh mown grass, giving a very mysterious view of the tiny tree (weed) growing in behind it.

Sometimes we take for granted the beauty right here. We go hiking, we travel, we move, but there are beautiful things all around us if we just take the time to see them. It’s not always about finding mountain-top views; sometimes, the simplest bits of nature can mean the most.

Being a Photographer

Being a photographer is sometimes a daunting task. There’s a lot of questions that come with the territory and a lot of doubt that sneaks in along the way.

Should I try to start a business? Can I take portraits as well as that other photographer in town? Am I even good enough to call myself a photographer? If I started a blog, would anyone be interested in my photos or what I have to say about them?

At some point, you have to simply let go of the doubt and do what it is that you love.

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So why am I typing all this here?

Because I am letting go and doing what I love to do – which is photography and writing, if we haven’t properly established that.

I learned it isn’t about how many people read what I write or see what I take pictures of; it’s just about putting my passion into something and seeing myself live life. That’s what photos really are, right? Proof that I’m living. Proof that I’m seeing the world for what it is. Proof that I appreciate everything there is to capture inside my camera.

And being a photographer means you really do see the world differently. And at times, you are seen by others differently, too (I’m pretty sure my neighbors were judging me pretty hard for being on hands and knees taking pictures of these flowers in the front yard). Everyone is going to see the world a little differently, and I believe that in itself means there is room in the world, and on the internet, for an innumerable amount of photographers.

So here I am, world.

Enjoy.

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(Here’s a bonus photo of the sunset coming through my blinds, just a bit. I had to capture that light, somehow, ok. I told you, photographers see things differently.)