Adventures in Imperfection

Capturing a Light that Leaves Too Soon

For three seconds on the shortest of days, this morning’s sky held the hue of a painter’s palate smeared in pink, mauve, orange, and purple. In the periphery from my desk, I could see what looked like a sky on fire brushed with splashes of native grass and high line wires.

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From four summers ago

I need my camera were the words, and then moments later, it’s already too late. The light has changed. 

Had I made the trek sooner, I’d have captured a sky awash in winter solstice. But, I didn’t. Instead I had thrown another load in the washer. Cleaned up the kitchen. Scolded the dog. Searched for the hole the cat escaped from (again) and answered some work e-mails. Mindless, non-light capturing stuff.

My family recognizes what they call “camera face” –the look I get, and the posture I take when I find something to photograph. That fervor is almost always due to what I call finding “the perfect light.” That moment when nature glows and bestows magic upon the most ordinary of objects. Unblemished splendor that makes Photoshop unnecessary.

In hindsight, I realized that I didn’t need a camera to appreciate the beauty. Those colors weren’t going away in my mind any time soon.

I felt lucky to have witnessed it at all.

And, it set the stage for some morning reading and the poem that inspired me to jot down a few words. Words inspired by an early Christmas gift from an amazing friend, mentor, and budding culinary artist.

The Journey

~~by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

What does your new year hold for you? What things must you do? How will you capture the light before it leaves? Whether it is fences to mend, or bridges to burn…only you know what you need to do. And only you will know when it’s time.

Change is never easy, but it’s inevitable. Whether this holiday season finds you searching for new hope in 2017 or mourning losses from 2016, the message is the same – yours is the only life you could save. I hope you find ways to commandeer the light, and carry it on to your new year.

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*****

A quick shout to Angie whose wieldy words beckoned me to write a few of my own.

 

91 thoughts on “Capturing a Light that Leaves Too Soon

    1. Ann! Hello lovely!
      I have been away from your site for far too long. I just read about your ankle. Are you recovering okay?
      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and read my ramblings. I keep you in my thoughts and prayers.
      Wishing you happiness and love this holiday season. xoxox

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    1. OOO!! I love that you have ideas! I can’t wait to read.
      I’m guessing as you reflect on 2016, you may be wondering how you survived!
      And here you are…more brilliant and beautiful than ever.
      Thank you for your kind words – I told another reader that my goal this year is to learn how to properly use my camera. Most of the time I just reach for my outdated cell phone 😉
      Merry Christmas to you and your sweet family. Love you!!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love your annual selfie card! Can’t wait to get it.
        I see that you have published a post, too – I’ll be over in a bit to read. I love seeing Mended Musings in my inbox 🙂

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  1. Michelle, I imagine your face to look like my cat’s when she paws at the window to reach the birds:) Her name is Luna, which fits for you and your wakeful nights lately. Thanks for the link back, and the other great links to read! Have a restful break.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Okay – I am all goosebumply (another wieldy word?)
      Had I told you that I was a moon girl, or did you guess that all on your own? My hunch is the latter.
      Have a wonderful Christmas Angie! Thank you for the inspiration (living true to your blog name again!) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this post, Michelle. Your pics are incredible. I think life is always more joyful if we look for the light and try to capture as much of it as we can (even if only in our memories–our brains are miraculous file folders to capture the present to help us during future dark moments). Have a Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello dear friend! I love how you describe our brains like file folders. What a blessing to be able to reach back in and pull the memories out when we need them the most.
      I know that you have had an ultra hectic year. I hope December finds you healing, resting, and feeling like yourself again. Enjoy the holidays and know that you are in my daily thoughts and prayers ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Michelle. Sadly, now my father-in-law is having problems. He has a brain tumor and they just discovered it after he was taken off a cruise ship down in Australia with stroke symptoms. We’re trying to get him back here ASAP (maybe on Christmas day) to get his surgery. Thanks for your prayers. He will need them.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Those photographs…wow. The first one literally made me suck my breath in. Perfect light is really something. I know that camera face and stance you talk about. I also understand your dilemma re: perfect light or laundry because truth is, we have a lot on our plates we have to get done. (Perfect light keeps coming, fortunately.) I love the poem you shared too. I understand it a little more each year. Beautiful post to round out the year.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Kristen. I truly need to learn how to work my camera – the iPhone can only do so much.
      I love what you said about the perfect light keeps coming. Each morning and each night, I keep my eyes peeled for the twilight.
      The post I read from you this morning has stayed with me all day – I love it when that happens ❤

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      1. I was going to ask what you shoot on. Are these all iPhone photos? Is your other camera digital? I love the idea of an SLR but would need to learn how to use one. The iPhone 7 Plus has some nice photo features but I was afraid it would be too big for my pocket so went with the regular.

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      2. I think all but one (the hands) are from an iPhone 5. I’ve had an SLR for over 10 years and know the basics and presets – I know nothing about manual shooting and am teaching myself photoshop stuff. I wish wish I had a macro lens…those close-ups are my favorite shots. But another thing happened on the downhill slide to turning 50 – my eyes are not good!!

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    1. Ah yay!! Thank you for reading, Tammy. Sometimes, I feel a little “out there” when I venture into poetry. To know that it resonated with an awesome woman and friend like you…it makes it worth all the nerves when I hit the “publish” button. Thank you for your friendship ❤️

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  4. That poem…..
    that was life changing for me 6 years ago. And it was the start of my first WOTY…YES.
    I cannot get enough of it…”determined to save the only life you can save”…very resonate, once again for me now and already art of my started WOTY post.

    The pictures are beautiful, you have such a gift. But I resonate with the memory, that you will always have. You captured the moment in a place it will always stay, and the beauty of it will never really compare to a photo.

    love you…happy, happy

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It punched me in the gut, Mish.
      With all the Mary Oliver you and Christy share with me, I can’t believe I hadn’t seen it before.
      Or…maybe I had and just didn’t realize it. Perhaps, today, I was finally ready for it.
      You know how much I love your WOTY! I also treasure this sentence: “But I resonate with the memory, that you will always have. You captured the moment in a place it will always stay, and the beauty of it will never really compare to a photo.”
      How often have we taken a photo and thought, “Ah! It just didn’t do the moment justice.” Thank goodness for memories. I know you understand. xo

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Very beautiful Michelle, the shot above and the words from your heart. To finally come to that realisation is all a wonder in itself. When we finally do ‘see’ us, in all this mayhem down here, that awareness is born, and the real journey begins 😀
    Thank you for a year of wonders, and the gift of your words on here, they will always be held with the love they were given ❤
    Merry Christmas to you and all of your family (cats and dogs included 😀 ), and may your new year be as lovely as the last 😀 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Mark,
      Thank you for always being such a wonderful supporter and inspiration. You have taught me so much along way-keeping my eyes open has been the best one yet.
      Merry Christmas to you and your friends and family. Looking forward to learning more from you next year, too. Namaste

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the way you capture the light in photographs. You capture the light, in general, in many more ways than just that, though ❤ I hope you have a gorgeous last few days before Christmas, and a very merry time celebrating xoxox

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Lizzi,
      Can you feel me thinking about you and sending you virtual glitterbombs.
      You have had quite the year, and I just know that 2017 will be filled with love, adventure, and attained goals. Am I a fortune teller? No…not at all. I just know that your positive spirit and inner light will make it all happen.
      Merry Christmas, sweet Lizzi! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope so, MM ❤ If only positivity and inner light would work their magic on red tape and bureaucracy! BUT. I am determined to learn to find joy and happiness wherever I am – I know that my demons will go with me, and likewise I can learn the reverse. So. There's that 🙂

        And YES I feel surrounded by firework clouds of glitter and love ❤ I hope your 2017 is beautiful. I'm glad I'll get to read all about it *HUGS*

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awww…how wonderful to come find your words after a short WP hiatus. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and are getting ready for a fabulous year. Shall we call it the year of Lizzi??? I see great things for you, my friend. xoxoxo

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I hope hope HOPE you’re right! Goodness me. I don’t suppose you know any scholarships to the US in diabetic nursing? *sigh* I just don’t see how it’s all going to unfold at all at all!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Whats short to you is long to us… the days. We had Summer Solstice yesterday… the longest day. Summer in Queensland. Your red is like our red, red is red; have a look.
    I see things you cannot.

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    1. The yin and the yang – two sides of a coin. Fascinating comment – thank you for taking the time to read and comment.
      Quick question: is the Buckley in your e-mail a family name? I know a Buckley family whose roots originate in New Zealand 🙂

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      1. Onya (Oz’e slang 4;good on ya/you)… No, Scottish and Oz roots, no Kiwi’s that I know off… Smile, but ya never know with them sneaky Kiwi’s across the ‘ditch’ …(Tasman Sea)

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      2. Onya (Oz’e slang 4;good on ya/you)… No, Scottish and Oz roots, no Kiwi’s that I know off… Smile, but ya never know with them sneaky Kiwi’s across the ‘ditch’ …(Tasman Sea) Never thought of the yin and yang or the coin, good one.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I used macro mode a lot when we sold on ebay (ok, not art but still important). I recently upgraded from a 5 to a 7 and the camera is better in low light. The plus has a portrait mode that I really wanted…believe there’s an app that simulates the same effect and it will probably be standard in the next model of iphones. Bottom line is I’ve taken far more pictures and captured some fun moments because I’m never without my phone 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My God, your photos are so beautiful. Thank you Terry for the morning inspiration. In 2017 I am going to help my son and his fiancée plan their wedding. I’m going to spend as much time as possible with my mother and my granddaughter, my joy, Penny. I am going to try and not sweat the small stuff. I’m going to look for more opportunities to write professionally. And I’m going to try not to work so hard. 😘

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are an amazing inspiration to me, Joanne. Planning the wedding sounds like a joy, and I know how Penny is the love of your life. Best wishes on finding that writing lifestyle – keep me posted on the journey, because I’m interested in the same 🙂
      Happy New Year!!

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  10. Because you are awesome… I saved this email for last. I had almost 300 to clean out of my blog email box and I have slowly been doing that over that last few days. This is the very last one I opened! 😀 Alas, the kids are not quite moved. 95% of the boxes were packed before I drove the 10 hours home on Sat.. arriving at 8:30 Christmas eve to be home with my honey. We stayed at home and did nothing all day! (well I unpacked and did 4 loads of laundry) but I didn’t care. I didn’t have to go anywhere or cook anything!
    I have a lot to look forward to in 2017. I will graduate with my Associates Degree and start on my final journey to finish my Bachelor’s. My kids will hopefully and prayerfully be independent for the first time in 8 years and we will finally be able to make it to Australia to see our friends next Christmas. I hope to get started on a book… any book, some book… I don’t know! I just want to get some writing done! I’m so ready to put 2016 behind me. There has been much sadness and pain and death and it started on New Year’s Day 😦 It has GOT to be a better year!
    I love The Journey.. it spoke to me! Love you lots girl! Have a wonderful and prosperous new year! 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love you right back, C/K. I’m right there with you on putting 2016 behind. I have a hopeful feeling for 2017, and reading all that you want to do cements that feeling for me.
      Keep up the amazing work that you’re doing – you inspire me every day! xoxoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. More sad news since my comment… the death has got to stop! Oh My G! First Carrie Fisher, then her mom? Wow.. so sad! 😦 Come ON 2017!
        I’m reading an interesting book I thought I would ask you about… Have you ever read “The Alchemist” or any books by Paulo Coelho? I am reading it right now and it is incredible. I am going to read some of his other stuff also. One of my dearest friends is from Brazil and she told me “You will feel SO good after you read that book!” I am half way through it. It is a very easy read and could be done in one or two sittings if you have time. I have been reading it before I go to sleep at night. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend it! It lines up with all of the things we talk about! 🙂 ❤

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  11. Love the photos as usual – amazing. You’re a triple threat – photographer, writer, poet. I love the idea of weaving this idea of capturing the light, in all manners and ways, as a metaphor. I have had those moments where I scramble for my phone to take a picture, where the light is fading or something is shifting, and realize that I am about to miss it, or the phone camera doesn’t do it justice…and then instead of getting upset (which I used to do a lot), I now just take it in. I just learn to take in the moment without having to record every single moment. And it’s liberating. Sure I like to take photos, but I like the idea of sitting in the space rather than trying to document it. And this goes for all parts of my life – I need to sit with them and observe and absorb them rather than to try to dash off to the next moment.

    Thanks for this – love it.

    Happy New Year and blessings
    Paul

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dear, Poet Paul. How I have missed you:) I love your notion of “sitting in the space” rather than trying to document it. I am more and more of that mindset and it’s paying off. Happy New Year and blessings to you, too!!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Just hopped over here for a visit after Eli @ Coach Daddy featured this post link. And I can see why he choose this one, because it resonates with me, too, and for two reasons.

    First, I love the overall theme of appreciating the “gem moments” that nature has to offer. It’s so easy to forget to look out the window and notice the sunrise or sunset, the flowers about to bloom in the backyard, the birds at the bird feeder, and so on. Each one is magical all on its own, and a memory worth cherishing. I’ve actually caught a couple spectacular sunsets recently (as well as a just-hatched baby robin in a neighbor’s outdoor wreath on Easter – so cute!) and been meaning to capture them all in poems. So your post reminded me that I should set aside time to do that soon.

    Speaking of poetry – Mary Oliver! I adore her words. In fact, I’ve in the middle of reading her most recent poetry collection “Felicity.” I don’t think I’ve read “The Journey” before today, but… gosh, it might just be another of my new favorites of hers.

    Thanks for sharing your words and photos, Michelle. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sara! Thank you so much for being here ❤️ A friend of Eli’s is a friend of mine 🙂
      Love love your baby robin story – those are the special treats life gives us.
      It sounds like you’re a poet. What a wonderful set of talents – complete stories in shortened passages. I love Mary Oliver – I am so glad it resonated with you.
      I’m hopping over to check you out.
      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I am a poet. 🙂 Or, rather, I’ve published several poems in online and print journals, but now I’m focusing more on longer works in speculative fiction (mainly fantasy). But I do still read poetry, and lately I’ve felt a growing desire to dabble in it again.

        Liked by 1 person

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