Complicated Or Complex

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “High Water Zen” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Thunder rolls in the distance as the early storms of late Spring and early Summer pass through Appalachia. The smell of ozone mixed with humus fills the air and the birds come out of hiding to sing and catch the insects that hover over the puddles. Cathedral Falls is full and swollen as Cane Branch races into the river.

The parking is tight here so I carefully back the big blue truck into a slot and step out with my gear. As is my habit I ignore the cascade at first so that I can focus on the more subtle scene of the creek bed. I have always been fascinated by the flowing water. I become transfixed by the patterns of curls and swirls that form as the water meets obstructions in its path. I have mentioned before that as a kid I would toss leaves and sticks into the water and have “boat races” down the creek. The trick is to find just the right spot to toss it in so that it doesn’t hit a rock and be stuck or sucked under.

Normally, when we think of an image that has that “Zen quality” to it we think of still, flat water without a ripple or in the very least concentric rings emanating from a single point. The symbolism is that of order and control. But life isn’t really that tame. It’s wild and free like water flows from the mountains. Like the stream in the feature image life has complexity because it adapts. It’s flow isn’t complicated. It’s complex. Complicated makes me think more of a tangled set if problems where as complex makes me think of a set of adaptable solutions that behave in predictable ways.

The feature image also shows stationary points amid the flow. These represent anchor points in life. Things like our faith help us to to step outside of the flow to gain perspective and decide where to step back into the flow.

As my eyes move along the water back up to the cascade pick a few spots to be my anchor points and I realized that the perspective is the important difference between complicated and complex. Same current that threatens to sweep us away also carries us to the next anchor point.

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Crossroads And Transition

Where do you go in your dreams? Are you at home or in some distant world that is alien to your waking self? Are you ever at a crossroads? I’ve read that dreaming about a bridge is symbolic of transition. Dreams about a crossroads is symbolic of making a decision. Do we take the iron ribbon that pulls us straight forward or travel up the mountain and find our way to the bridge? What if there’s a third choice? A pathway that’s not obvious. If you look closely at the road into the mountains there’s a sign that indicates it’s the wrong way. But the railway is built for travel by train and since I’m in the Big Blue Truck that route is also an invalid choice. But, just out of frame is another bridge.

The Low Road And The High Road

The real world likes to present us with false choices. We can see where we want to be but there seems to be no way to get there. It’s in these time that we need to step back and change our perspective. It’s very likely that the third option is just outside of our field of vision.

Hello Friends and thank you for your support of my page. If you have enjoyed the photos or the writings please let me know by commenting and sharing my work on your social media. I also want to invite you to Follow Lloyds Lens Photography on Facebook. Recently, I’ve been made aware that many of my posts on Facebook are being buried in the feed. So, if you don’t want to miss a post then you can sign up for email alerts on my website at the bottom of theWelcome Page.

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Crossroads In The Gorge” and is available for purchase by contacting me on Facebook or by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contactinformation. EVER)

Tonight’s bonus Image is titled “The Low Road And The High Road ” and is also available for purchase.

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

I’m also available for portraits by appointment. Use the Contact Form or message me on Facebook for details.

Hangups,Errors a And Blunders. The Mistakes We Are Trained To Make.

Nobody is born being an expert. We might all have different aptitudes for various skills but it’s practice that makes perfect. Even if we achieve the skill level of “expert” that doesn’t mean that we are free from simple human error. Suddenly being faced with the undeniable truth that you’ve made a royal screwup is God’s way of keeping us humble. In other words, oopsies are the great leveling force of the universe. Remember, it was experts that built the Titanic and amateurs that built the Ark.

When I saw the collection of lost fishing tackle snagged in the overhead power lines my first thought was that someone’s kids had been on their first fishing trip. This inspired the meme below.

But after some thought I began to consider the phenomenon of “muscle memory”. If you are trained to cast a line with a high arc you might not think to adjust your cast while standing under the power lines. Your reflexes would kick in and your body would react out of pure instinct. You would do the right thing but at the wrong time. This kind of mistake happens to all of us and it happens more often than we care to admit. It also happens during the thought process and when reacting to something that someone else has said or done. I think that’s why it’s important to be quick to forgive. Jesus said to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. While there’s different interpretations of what was being implied in this statement I believe that at least in part Jesus was pointing out that errors in actions often include errors in judgment and nobody is immune from this. The experts in the law were reacting out of reflex without examining the circumstances. It’s the same kind of mistake we all make every day.

Stepping Out Of The Comfort Zone

It’s not easy to step out onto the edge. There’s something about that place if transition from one state of being to the next that really gets our attention. We get butterflies in our stomachs and our knees begin to tremble. We can feel our hearts pounding as adrenaline surges through our veins. That’s the feeling I would have during a repelling exercise or leaping from the tall cliffs into the water. In my young mind I knew that this is what it felt like to fly. Fear, excitement and recklessness all come together to form the experience. When I was a kid I had the opportunity to spend some one on one time with some of the Blue Angels flight team and I like the way one of the pilots described this feeling. He said that “There’s no difference between the thrill of flying and the fear of falling.” His point was that it’s in overcoming your desire to remain comfortable with your circumstances that we become more than we was yesterday.

It doesn’t have to be piloting the latest and hottest high performance jet at beyond the speed of sound. It doesn’t even have to be leaping into water or sliding down a cliff on a rope. (In fact especially not the cliff in the feature image. There’s no water under the rocks here and it’s not a legal place to repell from.) It could be as simple as deciding to strike up a conversation with that person who you’re interested in or starting a blog where you share your deepest thoughts with the world. Whatever it is know that when you overcome that shaky feeling that this is what it’s like to fly.

Bridges, Music and Life

Life is a lot like music. The musical scale contains only twelve basic notes. And yet, those twelve notes have spawned every song known to mankind. Life also has its basic elements and rhythm. While I’m not a musician myself my understand is that it’s the bridge that ties it all together. As life changes from one phase to the next we look for a bridge to facilitate the transition. Some bridges are shorter than others but all of them are temporary. How bad would your favorite song be if it was all bridge? We’d miss the best part of the song. Life’s bridges may not be the best part of life but they do take us to those places. We just need keep moving forward.

The Forbidden Doorway

Not every open doorway should be explored. Too often we fail to recognize the difference between can we and should we. The old saying is that “God doesn’t close one door without opening another.” I’ve found this to be true but I’ve also learned that Satan also opens doors. Sometimes it takes a lot of prayers to figure out which is which. And, always trust that gut feeling that tells you that something doesn’t seem right. Especially when you can’t see what waits in the shadows just beyond the threshold.

About tonight’s Feature image. Up until recently I thought this abandoned building was a train station but I have learned that it’s actually an abandoned bowling alley. We live at the northernmost range where Kudzu can grow. Every summer the kudzu completely swallows not just the building and every winter it all but vanishes.

The Best Laid Plans

Patiently she sat in the meadow waiting for her turn. She dreamed of the day that her opportunity would come. She made lists and organized. Everything was ready. She only needed a chance. She wrote herself letters and kept them in a journal. Each on starting with the words “To my future self…” She kept all her plans stacked neatly in a box so that everything would be perfect once her opportunity arrived. She never got stressed out by the wait. She kept faith. Each morning she walked to the little meadow by the road and waited. She was there as sun rose and when the sun set on the opposite horizon. Sometimes the wind would come and she had to hold on so tightly to her little box of plans that her knuckles would turn white but she was fierce and prevailed against the wind. Other days the rain fell so hard that the meadow seemed to become a lake but still she would not be defeated. She held her little box of plans high above her head so they would not be washed away. When the snow and ice came the fire in her heart blazed brightly and once more her little box of plans remained secure. Nothing could rob her of her dreams. She was strong and beautiful and determined. She only lacked one crucial element. The opportunity she waited on never came to this meadow. And she waits there still.

We can have the best laid plans.

We can have the heart of a lion.

We can have all the faith in world.

And, we can have too much patience when waiting for an opportunity instead of traveling beyond our comfort zone and creating the opportunity ourselves.

Living is an action word. It might be difficult to know which action is the right one but inaction is the wrong state of being. Sure, timing is important. But time is also fleeting. Don’t wait too long. Do something every day to achieve at least a little piece of your goal. That’s how progress is made.