A restless soul, typically caught in between 2 divergent things. Sometimes freelance writer, occasional photographer, wide eyed observer of humanity, often a chronicler of recent and contemporary events, and frequent storyteller.
Sea Turtle Crossing
Glad I Packed The Camera The first thing I make sure I pack before heading on a trip at this point in my life is always a camera. If I am going anywhere out of the ordinary or new to me, bringing my camera is of the highest priority, there may well be exquisite stories to tell. I love a story told only in words more than most people do, in fact, I spend a good deal of my life doing just that, but words alone often fail to convey specificity of color, texture, and lighting as well as a photograph can, as is the case with the photo above, one that brings me so much joy to this day. The Green Sea Turtles pictured are an endangered species and seeing so many adolescents in one frame, let alone a lifetime, is truly a treat and the photograph is one that helps seal a specific memory for me. The experience of reviewing my photos at the end of the day this scene was captured brought me to thinking about sea turtle conservation in a way that few people thought of sea turtle conservation at the time I took the photo in 2009 (obviously now if you have a plastic straw at a restaurant, someone slapping it out of your hand, letting you know it will end up stuck in a sea turtle's nose is a real possibility, but the world was different then). It got me to research the Cayman Turtle Centre, and to decide to donate to different hatch release programs, but still respect much of the work of the Centre.
Early Morning Mist On A Mirrored Pond
If you want to get a dawn shot in northern Vermont close to the summer solstice, you have to get up early. This shot taken minutes before 6 AM on the 14th of June illustrates that point. The thick mists that can attend an early morning pre-dawn fishing trip or Kayak paddle are still crisply visible, the sun is already starting to climb for the day, not yet high enough to lend its light to the trees and hills in the background of the photo. Instead, it casts them as back-lit silhouettes, standing behind a mirrored pond that is already showing its color but still clinging to early morning mists that attend the march from night to day. The sun is just high enough to paint the sky a bright blue and reveal puffy clouds which will all appear white as the sun reaches a high enough point in the sky. As with most outdoor shots with limited processing, this photo tells a story of lighting in a natural world. A sun behind clouds sets them aglow and casts its light at the precise angle to make the pond's surface a near perfect mirror.
Why My Morning Coffee Is Mindfulness Meditation
Mindfulness meditation is an art that has been interpreted and exercised many different ways over the last 1500+ years. Its goal is to ultimately reduce the noise in ones head and reduce the control racing thoughts have on a moment by blocking out outside thoughts and focusing on the experience of the moment. Some would put it more simply as to be in control of ones own thoughts, even if for only a few moments. I define it as creating a space in ones own head to think and understand/ acknowledge all that is going on in ones own body and mind, while having some level of control over what is happening. It definitely takes practice and often requires a level of daily commitment, but does not require one to do 2 hours of morning yoga or observe a week of silence every couple months or even sit cross legged on the floor, with eyes closed and while chanting to practice mindfulness meditation. For me, my daily mindfulness exercise is different than all of that. My daily mindfulness exercise involves something hot, black, and full of caffeine that in my mind is sacrilege to pollute with cream or milk or nut beverage or even sugar. I am referring of course to my morning cup of coffee.
March, March By The Chicks
We are only half-way through this year, but it is safe to say that history will remember this year in America for at least 2 major reasons (if not others to come). First, Covid-19, for all the reasons imaginable including government responses, economic repercussions, businesses shutting down, lock ins, and most significantly the deaths and illnesses. Secondly, the upwell in protest, both those surrounding racial injustice and inequity sparked by the killing of George Floyd in police custody and those sparked by other concerns that seem less important at this moment but seemed important to the people participating in them. It would be fitting then that the Anthem of the summer should be a protest song with a driving beat, strong lyrics, harmonies that rouse the spirit and a message of not backing down in face of adversity and opposition. At this moment, halfway through the year, March, March by The Chicks seems to be that song.
9 Year Later, And Still Not Over It
The wrench and anguish of an abruptly dissolved relationship can be enough to cause many people to crumple up into a ball and hide for months from the world, others it can make explode into fits of rage of rage and violence, others still have this chronic compulsion to find a new relationship as soon as their old one ends. All are relatively normal ways to deal with the death of a a particular relationship. In the case of a divorce, that relationship carries many additional complications often including kids and assets and child support and alimony, dividing up of shared friend groups and dividing up personal items, finding a new place to live, learning to acknowledge the failures that lead to divorce, and gaining a certain stigma, even if it is self impose. Being married young and filing divorce within 4 years leaves a lot of life to live out as a failure in love.
The Moroccan Passport
Summer 2020 for many people will be one that will be typified by continued travel restrictions, more time than usual spent at home, routines continuing to grow stale, and a general desire for a bit more excitement. Enter the Moroccan Passport. Inspired by the strong, hot, sometimes overly sweet and often bitter, strong minted green tea served with most meals, often between meals, and as a show of welcoming hospitality in Morocco, a Moroccan Passport is a much gentler, refreshing, iced mocktail with a balanced sweetness, just a touch of citrus, and brings a light flavor of date that those who hate dates will love.
"Talking To Stanger" By Malcolm Gladwell, A Book For The Moment
"Talking To Strangers", a book for the moment Malcolm Gladwell has become known to explore topics, both gravely serious and as well as more light and entertaining, right before or at the time that they become resurgent in society. In some cases it appears it is his books that may make them popular, in others he just so happens to explore them and release a book at exactly the time society is ready for it. Having brought to popular culture many individual stories that are not always well popularized, then knitting them together into well constructed larger concepts that can shift the thinking of many, or a majority of society, is something to Malcolm Gladwell has become known for. Gladwell has again successfully devised, researched, and released such a book in time for it to be truly needed. At a moment where the United States wrestles with questions of how can we better understand policing practices, with some people are questioning if there is a problem and others believe that the future of policing requires getting rid of everyone who is currently an officer, "Talking To Strangers" is a great book to focus that thinking.
Great Blue Heron On Assateague
A Quick Aside A Brief Aside Assateague Island, which is divided in two by the Maryland/ Virginia state line, is home to two very famous herds of "wild" ponies. These ponies have been featured in books, movies, and famous photography for decades. On the Virginia side of the border, these ponies are occasionally supplemented in nutrition and given wormer and vaccinations as well as having their hooves trimmed. Once a year, the Chincoteague ponies (the ones on the Virginia side of the Island) are rounded up and many of the foals are auctioned off in the famous Chincoteague Island Pony Auction to benefit the Chincoteague Fire Department. On the Maryland side of the island, the ponies are typically referred to as Assateague Horses (but are largely the same as the Chincoteague Pony) and considered to wild and therefore have even less intervention/ interaction/ care given to them than the ponies on the Virginia side. On both sides of the island, the opportunity to see those ponies brings people from throughout the United States and around the world. The Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is one of the more accessible wildlife refuges in the country which helps make it one of the most visited, but there is incredible access to wildlife afforded to those that visit in most any time of year.