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Walking in Beauty

by Elizabeth Schools 2 months ago in camera

by Elizabeth Schools

The world was once blurry to me, but now I walk in beauty.

During those cumbersome middle school years, I used to sit in the back of the classroom; that is, until one fateful day, I realized I needed glasses.

Now, there is nothing wrong with glasses of course, but the young, very insecure version of me was convinced that they would look atrocious, and I did everything I could to avoid getting them.

Still, I failed the annual vision test, and I reluctantly went with my dad to purchase some eyewear. My dad was also forced into the situation while my mom was at work. I remember trying them on, asking for his honest opinions, but he didn't care - he just let me know which ones insurance covered.

The ugly ones, I thought.

When I look back, even as a slightly more secure adult, I still agree with my younger self. They were unsightly.

I only wore them when absolutely needed, and the rest of the time, I squinted a lot, ultimately living in a distorted, blurry world. Still, I could see up close, and my vision was not bad enough to interfere with most activities. I continued to live in this murky world up until I graduated college. Truthfully, I didn't know what I was missing out on at the time. The world was like an impressionist painting to me, which was still magical, just a blurred shadow of reality.

When I became a teacher, I realized I needed to see the features of my students' faces in order to teach well.

I finally had my own money and own insurance, so I purchased some contacts (I was still convinced I wouldn't look good in glasses).

While my vision was never that bad to begin with, the change was revolutionary in my life. I saw details I never saw before.

I saw landscapes differently. I saw myself differently. I saw the whole world for once, as it really was, or at least, more accurately.

Around this time, I took up photography. Now it is important to note that at the time I lived in a Southwest community that some looked down upon in some ways. This community is wonderful, but there are many social problems there.

Maybe I could change people's perspectives, I thought, just like mine was changed.

Lonely, desert roads.

I started my own Facebook page for this city and began posting photos of the amazing landscapes, events, and people I saw. It grew quickly over the years, receiving thousands of likes.

Still, the likes were not what was important to me. Rather, the messages I received kept me going, often letting me know that I opened their eyes to the beauty they never saw before. I have since moved from that desert city, but I continue my journey as a photographer, seeing the beauty in everything, even unlikely things. I still get the same thrill when people write comments under my photos and say something along the lines of, "I never saw it that way."

The road less traveled.

In fact, where I lived and taught at the time, the Navajo people introduced me to the spiritual concept and tradition of "Walking in Beauty." The students and parents I worked with taught me that one should walk in beauty all of the time and see it in every direction - before, behind, above, and around us, no matter where we happen to be. With my camera in my hand, these words are always on my mind.

Interestingly, I finally did end up buying a pair of glasses, and I came to the conclusion that this action in itself was symbolic. I finally saw the beauty in myself, with or without glasses.

And, now, my camera goes everywhere with me as I walk in beauty. I share my new, clearer vision with the world around me. No longer living in a blurred world, I appreciate every detail I see through the lens of my camera.

A Southwest sunset is like a snowflake. Each one is beautiful and unique.

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Elizabeth Schools

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