Rising above again

I confess that I have trouble taking myself seriously as a photographer.

My body quakes whenever I venture from an automatic setting to manual.

Could it be all that camera terminology? I can’t help but wonder every time I pull out my instruction book.

Though more likely it’s my fear of technology.

Heck, I don’t even have a Smart Phone as I doubt I’ll ever figure out how to use it.

It seems I’ve missed ten tech upgrades during the last ten years while I was busy caregiving.

But I’m tenacious in my quest to keep trying, and to overcome those fears.

So Friday morning I was very anxious to capture the gulls flying overhead as I stood on a sandy beach.

It’s a special spot.

My mother-in-law and husband’s remains lie just beyond.

Moving in for the shot, I was ready to change my setting to manual until I suddenly found myself moving.

Sinking actually.

In what seemed like an instant, I was standing in a thick mix of sand and cool water rising above my ankles.

I quickly made my retreat.

Still I was able to snap one quick picture in transit.

I wasn’t leaving without it.

Maybe I’m a budding photographer after all.

Or more importantly, one now even more determined to rise above her photo fears.

Oh, and definitely any soggy sand bars.

Lets go crazy!

Yesterday Mother Nature stripped the lake clean, neatly folding up the last sheets of ice from winter.

This morning an assortment of sun worshipers suddenly assembled on the beach, each admiring the annual return of sparkling blue waters just beyond.

As our faces warmed, I noticed our smiles did as well.

Suddenly I found myself softly singing an old Prince tune, adding my own seasonal twist.

“Dearly beloved
We’re gathered here today
To celebrate this thing called ‘spring’.”

As a fellow Minnesotan, I think the royal highness would have honored our passion.

Turning to leave while the sun continued to rise, I shouted a quick “lets go crazy,” to the crowd.

And they did, each springing into a shiny motor boat, then speeding off into the distance.

All as happy as clams.

Journeys of Bliss

What most consider a vacation hasn’t been part of my vocabulary this year.

But no problem.

It was my choice.

I learned when you take retirement from one job on a Friday and start a new one the Monday after, you just have other priorities.

Especially when you’re moving into a new home as well.

Still, I know that a little relaxation is good for the soul.

So I figured if I’ve downsized my job and my house, can’t I do a mini-retreat?

Knowing I’d have a work break late yesterday morning, I grabbed my camera.

The early hours were predicted to be warm and beautiful.

And also full of light before the wind and clouds descended.

When the time was right, I made the short drive down to the beach.

Climbing out of the car, I studied two workmen as they prepared the weary docks for a long winter’s nap.

The local ice fishermen will be replacing them soon.

Then I traveled barefoot in the sand, stopping to chat to restaurant workers hanging Christmas lights, and preparing for their last patio lunch seatings.

Moving further west, I searched for the perfect place to rest.

A place to renew.

And close my tired eyes.

It didn’t take long.

Two sparkling chairs caught my attention in the distance.

The light surrounding them beckoned me over.

I grabbed one chair.

My dreams took the other.


Its always been my perfect destination.

Riding the waves


I set my timer for an hour.

And then this unintentional hoarder bagged up 60 items in 60 minutes last Sunday.

Some things went straight to the trash bag, the good stuff to the one marked charity.

Most of the items were owned by other family members. My late parents, my late husband, my daughter, my granddaughter.

Every storm in recent years resulted in an urgent move for a family member. As a result, additional possessions quickly poured into my already packed 1300 foot rambler.

So I was feeling proud for the traction I was making until I opened a closet bursting with old photo albums.

I needed to stop to pick up dozens of loose, fading pictures that went twirling down to the floor.

The first one was of my late brother Scott and my husband on a cloudy San Diego beach.

Scott’s waiving at me, as if to grab my attention and directing me on to the photo above.

It’s a shot of my younger self, so full of joy and dancing on the same beach.

Underneath it I discover another picture. This time it’s a stormy beach in Maine.

And I’m wearing that same expression of pure joy.

I soon find joy’s in every ocean photo of me from the foggy beaches of Martha’s Vineyard to rain soaked sand dunes in Italy.

I choose to believe my brother was trying to send me a message. He knew me so well.

Perhaps it’s a reminder that every storm cloud in life carries the promise of even greater joy thereafter.

I’m going to hold on to that thought.

After looking at the beach photos, I switched my focus the rest of the day to decluttering my mind instead of the house

And I decided to book a flight to the ocean for November.

I’m hoping to find more storm clouds and high tides.

As it’s time for me to dance in the rain once again.