Off The Beaten Path – PhotoBlogging In The Woods

I can go into the woods.

I can walk the paths before me, wander under a canopy of beauty.

And lose myself in the mountains. Experience long moments of solitutude.

Intentional in my aloneness. Choose to separate self.

Restore my soul. Surround  myself with  a symphony of birdsong. By design.

A canvas of greens and earth-toned brown beauty warm my soul like a woolen blanket.

Beside a stream. Life-giving water gurggles. Soul-restoring haven by the rushing. I can stand.

And like Robert Frost, name them, the woods lovely, dark and deep.

A place to rest in the lovely and the dark.

Where light shines though the Rhododendon blossom like a call, the other side of this refuge holds hope.  A promise in light.

And the water heals, the sound, the smell, the cool, and all that it gives. All of my senses capture the gift of the stream.

But I was meant for relationship. And I was created for community.

He calls me back into the arms of relationship. Into the community that is my world. The intimate one and the larger one of which I am a member.

And there is love.

And there is hurt.

And joy.

And brokenness.

And woundedness.

And disappointment.

And hope.

And healing.

There is every emotion that we were designed and created to experience.

In relationships with each other.

So I draw on the woods. I take from the tree-barked harbor. I leave the sanctuary of the solitutde.

And I live my life in relationships. I seek to build, restore, re-fresh, re-new, and re-love, again.

Each one.

Each precious, tender, sacred one.

And not in my strength alone, but in that of Creator God, maker of Heaven and Earth.

But those woods that Robert Frost knew so well, will call and I will go, again.


I lift up my eyes to the mountains-

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

The Maker of heaven and earth.- Psalm 121

“The woods are lovely, dark, and deep. But I have promises to keep, And miles to go before I sleep, And miles to go before I sleep.” by Robert Frost “Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening”

Moving At A Snails Pace (Photo Blogging)

Oh the best laid plans. 

To go one way and then you find yourself heading another way entirely.

Spontaneously slow walking and talking, at a snail’s pace really.

Uncovering the unexpected. And stopping. Often. 

To ponder on the stumbled on wonder.

To view the world with a shift in your life lense. The one through which you view things in the daily ordinary.

But the summertime lense can bring a cool green change in perspective.

Cut flowers from the yard, petals on the path, shadows through the gate they lay down and ask to be stumbled upon.

When you find yourself moving at a snail’s pace. Because you walk in the shadow of a generation before. And you know you have this one glorious day.

And the gift comes in taking the path marked by another one. Whose pace is not your own.

And isn’t that what love does? It shifts gears and changes pace and waits on others.

It is patient and it is kind. And I think sometimes it moves slow and steady, at a snail’s pace. And the only rushing sound is that of the waterfall. I am learning to love like this. Slow and patient. Unrushed.

But I am slow at learning to love, like this. And oh it is so slow and hard, this new kind of love.

But that Joy comes in the unrushed dog days of summer in the shadow of another generation is a good lesson to learn. Summer teaches with her slow warm hand. She turns the head and opens the heart to learn anew.And shows  in the  slow light of  a June day how to love to the beat of another’s pace and stride. To love the other’s ways. To bend down in love to another’s needs.

Even if I learn it at a slow snail’s pace, it is that I learn it at all, in the days remaining that is important. 

And the light creeps through and shines like the Hope that I have to learn it well and to learn it  for good. The good that is lasting and the good that is slow
and patient and kind.

We are three generations watching in love at how we care for and love another. Three women with a pace and stride unlike the other’s, learning to bend in love. Slow loving the other.

Slowing down for love on these dog days of summer. 


Linking with Ann today at A Holy Experience dot com

When The Past, The Present and The Future Collide

It is all right there. In one place at one time.

We go there.

To 1908 and 1944 in old photographs, sepia with pink, black and white, more sepia.

And read the beautiful cursive notes, unlike today’s. Marked by an unknown family member. Written in connective lettering now worn, now requiring translation. Unknown penmanship, but a message that is familiar. Words about this place.

Room by room scribblings of her thoughts remark on ownership, “my room.” A photograph tells of pride of place and of the outer beauty, rhododendron are a symbol of early summer.

They are the great equalizer between generations. A flower. A tree. A beacon. A landmark pointing to time and place.

The past, the present, and the future are on a collision course right here, right now. And I stand in the middle of the bitter sweet swirling storm of the three sources of power.

We read the written and attempt to decipher the unwritten. The author who penned the copious thoughtful notes. The photographs record sweet detail of the day.

And later we go to shop in town. The questions that the mind poses when memory blurs the lines. And questions repeat and stories are retold.

And she forgets the recent but remembers the past. And the neighbor’s name too.

I walk with my camera to record the present that looks amazingly like the past. The pictures we have reviewed over the breakfast table for the first half of the century. She too took photographs of the rhododendron and of the house.

My camera and my eye are drawn to similar beauty. Similar landmarks of this place.

And the spring which bears my name carries cool water from the earth delivering it out and down to cool generation after generation, hot from the summer treks up the mountain she calls home.

They come with jugs from far away. I know because she tells me time and time again. The memory, the short term one, is struggling so.

These defining moments of age and disease, they may define me. And I prepare in my heart for this.

Just as generations have shared the spring, the house, and the rhododendron, I may share in this inability over time to remember the beauty and the detail. And the words and phrases.

But today….

Today I photograph. And I load up with as much good and beauty as I can.

I dig deep for patience to hear the repetition of the familiar of story over and over and over again.

But isn’t that what we do with those stories and memories we love.

We tell them over to generation after generation.

And what do we do with those things that may come our way from past generations. And when generations before had memory loss in life so you may too. But you just don’t know. But you are certain that He loves you so and He has a plan.

And that anything that comes your way, any pieces and parts of life that start to tear and break away from the current normal –you can face and you can bear. You will meet and face it all head on. Forgetting the neighbors name and the rest. And you will be brave, in Him. And you will borrow Hope from Him.

Because of His Grace and His Love and His Mercy, it all becomes more than OK. It becomes, we can do this melange of life, this mix of past and present and future together.

We can dance through and around and above all that comes our way in the arms of The One Who Made Me.

And like the spring which flows from the rocks which bears my name from generation to generation, always flowing fresh and life-giving, so He pours out and into us when all collides and His Hope springs eternal.

And the future, mixed with the past, mixed with the present is all glorious because of Him.

Simply counting gifts with Ann at A Holy Experience dot com.

Gifts for the counting…
*This mountain home built by my family in 1908
*Time with my daughter and her “old” friend…hearing them laugh and giggle on the long drive up. Learning from them how to laugh at the simple things.
*Father’s day with my father
*Time with my mother talking about the past and reviewing old family photographs. A joy. A treasure
*Writing a bucket list for our time in the Blue Ridge Mountains so that we make memories and savor our time here.
*Hearing a stream flowing constantly outside of my bedroom window here. One of my favorite things in all the world is a stream flowing and the sound it makes bumping over the rocks.
*The rain on the roof last night and cool mountain air.
*Plans to pick wild raspberries with The Patient One and go to Mount Mitchell this weekend
*8 lab puppies who are growing and who all have good homes.
*Time with my man/child just enjoying each other and doing projects around the house. More and more it is all about the simple.