We receive gifts scattered through out the many days of our lives, gifts of singular moments. Moments which, despite the clichéd nature of the phrase, are "once in a lifetime."
I want to show you a gift I was given. But first, a bit of a background story:
Joe, Gryphon, Sunny, and I were out in the boat exploring the river. Tooling around in our old jon boat is something we do often, of course, since the front yard of the river house literally ends with the Allegheny River in the same way other front yards end at a road. I almost always take my camera bag with me. For this river adventure, Gryphon was using my Canon SX10-IS, and I had my Canon Rebel XS.
Shooting has a way of bringing me more fully into the moment, of narrowing the focus of my awareness into what is right there around me. Shooting grounds me, brings me more fully present. There are no to-do lists running through my head when I have a camera in my hand. I am looking; I am seeing. I am completely here in that exact moment in time, in that exact location in space. Being present is a key part of being whole, being spiritual, of being able to hear the divine that exists in each of us, in the world around us. Photography as a path to being present is one of those gifts I feel a powerful obligation to share.
You might have noticed I collect "found hearts" - images of objects, scenes where I find hearts hidden in plain sight. My "found hearts" are secret messages reminding me I am loved, reminding me to love.
Be the change you wish to see in the world.
"Gandhi said “If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. ... We need not wait to see what others do.”
(Brian Morton, The New York Times, Aug. 29, 2011)
My "found hearts" remind me to change my own nature, to risk, to fear, to love and be loved.
Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. John Lubbock
The real gift, that day, wasn't the astonishing sight of a heart-shaped cloud drifting across the sky. The gift was having Gryphon, Sunny, and Joe with me in the boat. The gift was seeing their bright smiles, hearing the joyful laughter bursting out spontaneously, and sharing that exact moment to remember for ever, creating a memory, a treasure to be pulled out of a pocket and rolled around in our fingers whenever we need.