28 June 2012

Garden Dreams

Bird trellis in backyard flower garden, Magdalena, NM, June 2012
Memorial in the Mothers Day garden
When I wake up in the garden
Peaceful slumber wakes my eyes
The sun and moon are always present
There are no more crying people around.
Love fills all up inside me
Filling my heart with wishful dreams
No more sorrow fills my canvas
Along this lonely sea.
Ships fall off of the horizon
Bringing love, peace, and joy
No fire can ever harm us now
Only music fills the air...
-Susan Tedeschi

How wonderful to be able to walk a few steps and be closer to heaven. Five summers of determined, therapeutic work have transformed a diminutive herb garden in front and a few pockets of wildflowers and the struggling veggie garden in back into "The Gardens." They are full of beauty and good bugs and birds, they are peaceful, and they calm and restore my soul every time I look upon them.
Old stone frog in the front perennial garden, Magdalena, NM, June 2012

26 June 2012

Contemplating Shadows

Kelly mineshaft detail, Kelly, NM, June 2012
Hollow tree, Magdalena mountains, NM, June 2012
To contemplate is to look at shadows.
-Victor Hugo

Thanks to my cousin Jarrod for this quote; it has inspired some interesting photo explorations recently. Two recent hikes took me into the Magdalena mountains, where the hard summer midday light creates strong contrasts that overpower subtleties of form and tone. But it also creates stark shadows that I've always found compelling. Like most (all? I never did take art history or art appreciation courses in college) visual art forms, photography is about light and form, which means it is also about shadows. Shadows reveal the contours of things, and of the hollows they leave behind. Shadows simplify and reduce, or stretch and distort, revealing the complex interplay between things and light. Shadows hide, conceal, shelter, and also imply the essence of both forms and those who view and interpret them.
Kelly mineshaft detail, Kelly, NM, June 2012

25 June 2012

"Hope is the thing with feathers..."

Evening at the ranch, Magdalena, NM, June 2012
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
-Emily Dickinson (still my favorite poet)

A bird's song can stop a mind from writhing in darkness, and hope can keep a person moving forward despite setbacks and obstacles and doubt and fear. Ten days ago I finished my Masters program in marital/family therapy, three years and nine months after setting out on what seemed like a last-ditch effort to rebuild a life worth living. It was hard work, but the structure provided a sort of scaffolding and every success an essential block in a new foundation. I pause now to catch my breath and enjoy the summer with my kids, and to prepare for the next phase: living what was in the beginning a sketched-out dream sustained mostly, and sometimes only, by hope. I could not have done this alone and have so many people to thank for encouraging and supporting me along the way....

05 June 2012

Dragonfly Medicine

Waterfront diner: Blue dragonfly consuming a moth, Magdalena, NM, June 2012
I almost didn't take my camera out when I went with Dad and the dogs for a walk on the property... Silly me. The well-fed pond is gradually filling in, and today I was thrilled to see dragonflies flitting along the water's surface. Amazing. I was so glad to have my 75-300mm zoom lens with me; no tripod, which would have helped me get clearer shots, but these still make me happy.

Dragonfly dance, Magdalena, NM, June 2012
Dad and Doc rigged up a pipe from the well to start filling in an old dirt tank last winter, mainly for the horses but also for area wildlife and, of course, for the dogs to wallow in. The pond has indeed brought in more wildlife, especially birds (and, consequently, hawks). Doc added some minnows a few weeks ago to help keep the algae under control, but the rest of the critters have come in all on their own. A bit more plant life along the edges and we should be seeing much more wildlife soon -- frogs, perhaps? I sure hope so...

...and the circle of life continues...