the art of doing meditative nature photography

Choosing a New Path in Life

Choosing a new path in life sometimes involves climbing mountains,
getting a little dirty, breaking a sweat, and
finding yourself lost in the magnificent forest of “new possibilities”
Follow your heart and walk on…

This blog represents a new path for me…

I walk it in the hopes that many others not only follow me, but find their own amazing, inspiring trails…

Life is a winding adventure, replete with myriads of twists and turns, hills and valleys, fabulous sights and stretches of drudgery. But it’s a grand journey. And the path we choose to follow reflects who we really are. I can be the shiest, quietest person in the room, or the biggest squirrely spaz you ever met. I have a tremendously intellectual serene side (I am a trained philosopher, after all), complemented with an insatiable curiosity and love of exploration. So it’s not surprising that the paths I wander reflect all of that.

In my outings in nature I experience hushed soft whispers from forests so quiet that all I hear is the wind in the trees. But I also feel my heart race at the sound of a raven calling as it soars overhead. I felt my heart pound the day I heard a mountain lion growl.

At times I’m nearly running down the trail, giggling as I follow a flock of feathered-something- or-others. At times I’m completely startled to round a corner and find a deer on the trail, or a chipmunk hurriedly crossing my path.

And then there are the moments when time stands still. Like the moment the fledgling nuthatch landed in front of me, only to become so tired it began to drift off to sleep. Inches from my lens, I breathed with it in the moment, click…click…click… mindlessly I just clicked away as I stared through the lens at this darling little creature snoozing before me. One click finally woke it up with a start. I smiled, and breathed slowly. So still, so completely, hopelessly, in this moment. This one sweet little moment when the nuthatch let me share in its nap.

(Click on any of my photographs to see an enlarged image)

That’s why I love nature photography. That’s why I’m out on the trails. To make friends with baby nuthatches, listen to whispering trees, and take photographs to remember those delicious moments in time, learn from them, and share them with you.

But it’s all new for me! I’ve never blogged before. This is a new fork in the trail. Publishing the book was a towering mountain to climb. I broke a sweat. I even panicked a few times. I dared to look down and thought “What on earth am I doing?” But then I looked back up. I looked ahead. And I saw the vast forest of “new possibilities”. It beckoned.

So I followed my heart and walked on…

You might be wondering, “So what did the camera add to this experience? Couldn’t you have just looked at the bird?”

The camera, as it almost always does, added dimensions. On the one hand it zoomed me in. I was nowhere but right there, right then. When you zoom in, several things happen all at once. On the one hand it blocks out. Try this. Put your hands up, cupped around your eyes, narrowing your field of vision to a “tunnel” in front of you. That’s blocking out the extraneous. That’s focusing you in on something more specific than your peripheral, easily-distracted normal viewing mode allows. You’re just hovering, you and your subject, in a moment of timelessness.

The camera also brings you in to something else’s perspective and scale.  Tightened in on just the nuthatch, I was seeing the world the way he does, from his vantage point, on his scale of things. That sensation takes you out of yourself and into another being’s shoes, or paws, or feet. Your everyday concerns drop away. You’re in the bird’s world right now. Your perspective has changed. Life looks very different when you’re standing in the feet of a tiny young nuthatch. His world is so different from yours. He’s not stuck in rush hour traffic or worried about next month’s bills.  So, breathing in to this timelss moment…at least for right now, neither are you.

It’s very mindful. Something holds your attention. The camera blocks everything else out. You focus on the here and now. Time seems to change. You seem to change. And your troubles melt away.

So go get out there. Breathe in to the experience. Listen. Look. Feel.

Find your forest of new possibilities. Find some dreams to dream about and some epic scenery to inspire you to new heights. Let go. Let time stand still. If you just look, you’ll see the forest of new possibilities, too. Because that’s what happens when you clear your mind, regain your balance, and open up again. A little time away from “regular life” breathes a new life into your journey.

And if you can’t get out there today, or this week?

I’m here for you… me & my camera. Ready to share what we find.

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