Wednesday, October 8, 2008

God's bounty

Thursday, October 8, 2008

If you are a squirrel, this year you are living in God's bounty, at least around our place. And believe me, we have hundreds of squirrels here.

I went walking to take pictures today. I'll probably share one or two more of them over the next few days. There is so much beauty in such little things. I could show you a picture of this whole Walnut tree, and you would see hundreds of Walnuts, maybe over one thousand Walnuts, hanging there just for the taking. There are more than I have ever seen before. And the Walnut trees are all over the place.

We are given windows of opportunity. Sometimes things are difficult, but sometimes things are good. Right now, this is a window of opportunity in our neck of the woods. The weather is so nice and, while the fall foliage is not breathtakingly beautiful as it is some years, the flashes of color here and there are still almost unbelievable.

When I was in college, I was taken by that Carpe Diem poem which had a line something like, "The grave's a fine and private place, but none I think do there embrace." Of course I liked the line because it encouraged (dare I say it?) sexual kinds of things. But the line applies to living too. We need to embrace life, take beauty and blessings as they come, not let our tendency to focus on past failures or possible future problems take away the blessings of today.

For me, photography is a way of seeing. I see things through a camera viewfinder I would never see otherwise. And then when the pictures come up on the screen (oh, the joy of digital cameras!) I get to see the whole thing again.

None of my pictures have been Photoshopped. They may have been cropped, but they are otherwise the way I took them. Once in a while I use a little program that takes some of the noise out of them (what we used to call grain in the old days), but the scene itself has not been changed. That comes from having taught high school students photography back at the time when we still used film and darkrooms. I believe the picture should reflect what we see. I have no objection to the kind of art which does use special programs to change the picture, as long as it is clear what is being done. I know at least one lady who does that in a beautiful and striking way. But I just take pictures.

And that leads me to tomorrow's column. My photography leads me to an observation about writing. I'll talk about that tomorrow.


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