Let Her Be

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Grandma said, “Let her be.” I heard this, from the time I was very small, it gave me permission. The messages to be good, to be quiet, to settle down, to stop it, and to not do that were also heard but the most important message was to let her be. This message was directed at parents who were working hard to raise me to be a responsible and good person, and mostly I have been. But I seem to be listening mostly to Grandma these days.

Let her be. What a strong message. Be. Feels as strong as God telling us “I am.” These messages can’t be more concise or clearer. They ring like crystal.

I spent some time reading Freeman Patterson last night, his book Embracing Creation about the art of photography. I am intrigued with his thoughts about how what we choose to photograph can be used to better understand who we are and what we desire from our lives. He writes about those special places that feel like home – not structures but places in the world where we feel ageless. Where we are a child, an adult, and also very old. Places that are timeless.

Docks on small inland lakes have made their way into many of my photographs. This dock was taken yesterday morning, at the boat launch at Portage Lake; Grandma lived on the other side of this small lake. My favorite place to be was lying on my tummy on the dock in early morning. The diamonds sparkling on the calm water as minnows tickled my fingers that dangle oh-so-still in the water. The warmth of the sun is welcome in the lingering coolness of the night. In these minutes my eight-year-old body is ageless, I have the curiosity and innocence of childhood and the wisdom of age. I am one with the world, and the world is good. My 70-year-old body is still ageless as I feel myself on this dock. I can be.

Aging is strange. I know I don’t have long to live, maybe 10 to 15 years. This length of time felt so long when my body was young and I was growing, developing. Now that my body is declining I don’t long for the future, at least not the future as we measure time in years. I wonder if my activities of today could be my best moments? I realize that my future is uncertain.

Does choosing to photograph this dock, does the echo of Grandma’s words in the shadows of my mind mean that I am yearning for something?  Maybe I am yearning to be. Maybe I am yearning to be as I am, as I am 70, instead of as I was in some past time. Lately I have been finding joy in being as I fold laundry, make the bed, can tomatoes, read, blog, garden. How wonderful it is to savor what I am doing instead of fretting about all there is to do and whether my body will let me do it. What joy it is to be, alive in this moment. Yes, Let Her Be.

Trestle Revisited

Friend Julie and I went on our weekly photo shoot with our primary aim being a visit to the trestle, sans mosquitoes. I did a post about our first visit here.

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Our goal was to be able to spend some time exploring around the trestle and to take more photos. Julie was able to do this and posted a great story and photos here. I, unfortunately, had developed very severe foot pain throughout the morning and couldn’t move away from the car. I wish I could say, with honesty, that I overcame the pain to do what I needed to do to get the shots. I did get out of the car, hobbled the few feet to the trestle, and took some shots balancing on my right leg. I also learned I can use my car to get myself in position to frame my shots.

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In the following days as I was editing my photos, I was disappointed that I had not been able to move around to frame that magic photograph that would knock your socks off. Then I picked up Freeman Patterson’s Photography of Natural Things to reread. He got me thinking about the photos I did take – which one were worth keeping and which ones to delete. His books seem to have a lot to offer as I am developing my style. His thoughts about the importance of understanding the ecosystem of nature, that everything in the environment is interconnected, helped view my photographs differently. Patterson helped me think of how this unique setting impacts on how I think about the trestle. The trestle would be very different in any other setting. I decided on these two images because I want to show the mystical way the trestle and nature are becoming one and how this setting makes the trestle special.

I’ll look forward to going back next year to record changes that take place over the winter.