Catch The Moment

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

Soft clouds skim the mountains and the scent of the pending rain fills the air. The birds have settled down in the thick underbrush to take cover from the change in weather. During a lull in the wind I ventured out with my camera to see what I might find before the rain begins. The first thing I spotted was my Azalea that was planted by the previous owner. The delicate white flowers bruise very easily and if I’m going to get a shot before they are battered by the storm and turn brown now is the time.

As I’m admiring the bloom from different angles I can’t help think about how pure they look. The white flowers on the field of white felt very fresh and clean. I spent all winter hoping for a chance to capture something with this same feeling of purity but the mild winter here means mostly rain and mud. But the Azalea more than made up for the lost opportunity.

With the rain scent in the air and the white flowers I was feeling very renewed. Soon I heard the lonely cry of a Mourning Dove and I knew that my opportunity for photographing the unspoiled flowers wouldn’t last much longer. Before I knew it I was feeling the sprinkles of the rain hitting the back of my neck. The flowers will be here for a few more days but they will be bruised and my best opportunity has come to a close.

I put my lens cap back on and hovered over the camera body to keep it dry as I stepped back into the house. The lesson that I learned from this experience was to appreciate the moments as they come. The flowers are mine and they bloom every year but I’m not always able to catch them before the hard rains come and the moment is lost. My generation came up with Carpe Diem, Seize The Day and the phrase is now well known. But what is unsaid is that a day is made up of a collection of moments. If we could really seize the moment as it comes then the day will be ours.

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A Little Bird Told Me…

Stepping softly on the edge of forest trail I came to large patch of bramble briars. The smell of the oak and hickory mingled with the scent of a fireplace warning the cabin in the valley below. It was hunting season and I had been in the woods since dawn. I found a fallen log and laid my rifle across my lap as I sat down for lunch. I was down to the crust of my sandwich when a noticed a tiny set eyes watching me from inside the bramble. I carefully observed the tiny spectator as he started fluttered from cane to cane searching for insects. I whispered to him that today wasn’t a good hunt for anyone and tossed the crust of bread on the forest floor at the root of the bramble. He paused for a moment and flew away with the bread. A few minutes later he returned with his mate. They landed at my feet and to my surprise they spoke. “Your kindness in sharing your meal has given us food for the day. So as a way of saying thank you we will share the secrets that we learned while flying to and fro”.

And here’s a few things that I learned from them.

1. The easiest lie to believe is the one that you want to be true. Nobody baits a snare with stones.

2. You’re free to fly to wherever you want to go but be sure that it’s a place where you want to be.

3. Take the opportunity to sing and spread joy every chance you get because the blessings you give come back to you in the end.

4. Anyone who loves you is family.

5. The early bird gets the worm but he has to scratch for it.

6. You’ll never learn to fly until you stop being afraid to fall.

7. Gossip and News are two different things. Learn how to tell the difference.

8. You can’t un-tweet. (See number 7 )

9. Some things just don’t belong in the nest. Get rid of anything harmful.

10. Birds of a feather will flock together so spend time with friends .

And then they just flew back into the bramble bush and disappeared. I never saw them again. However, ever since that day when I hear the birds singing in the morning there are two who seem to chirp a little happier than the rest.

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Tonight’s Feature Images (Titled the love birds ) are available for purchase as either individuals or as a set. Just message me for details about how to purchase.

What Was The Question?

Tonight’s image is an old mile marker that’s found along an abandoned road near the Meadow River in West Virginia. Apparently it marks mile number 42.

Fans of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Universe have already begun to snicker. For the rest of the world here’s why. In the book and subsequent movies a large supercomputer named Deep Thought was built to answer the ultimate question of “What is the meaning of life, God, the universe and everything?” After billions of years Deep Thought came up with the answer 42. The irony was that the people who built the computer were long dead and by the time the answer came nobody could remember the question or why it was asked. Now, to be honest I have never read the book and was only present while the movie was playing. As such, I’m only familiar with the trivia. But when I heard the story I began to appreciate implication.

We as humans seem to be hardwired to want to skip learning experience and go straight to mastery of just about everything. We want the “cheat codes”. So much so that we often put more efforts into gaining the cheat than we do experiencing the win. In the Hitchhiker’s Guide the scientists and priests who spent all that time looking for the meaning of life did so at the expense of living life to its fullest. This is the folly of trying to win at all costs. It’s the struggle that makes the victory sweet. If you skip the struggle then the victory is hollow and you never really get to experience it fully. What’s more is that you tend to be so focused on the goal that the importance of the original purpose is lost.

Maybe I’m making that very mistake myself in trying to make my point. Let me close by simply saying that life is an adventure. One that you’ll miss if you try to skip ahead.

Oh and the answer to the question asked by Douglas Adams? Well, I have an opinion of course. The meaning of life, God, the universe and everything is that we were created by God to know the love of our creator. That’s it. It’s that simple. No need for advanced AI or billions of years waiting for an answer that’s as vague as the question. Just talk to him and listen for answers.

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Keeping A Positive Thought.

Most of us are familiar with The Little Engine That Could. However, it occurs to me that some of my international friends may not have been told the story as a child so here is a summery.

The little train engine was loaded heavy and faced a long stretch of tracks up a steep mountain. The climb was hard but he kept repeating “I think I can. I think I can.” Over and over until he was over the top. It’s a preschool classic tale about the power of positive thinking. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that the Heart’s thoughts forms us into what we are as a person. In other words, how we identify ourselves determines how we behave. Do we see ourselves as the happy one? The fun one? The smart one? Maybe we see ourselves as the one who has a good heart but is always being taken advantage of. Whatever it is it’s that self identity that influences what we will do in any given situation. Even if the choice is being made subconsciously we are still making a choice. What forms that self identity can be pretty complicated but as I understand it we get a lot of this from the opinions of others. I once witnessed one of the cruelest pranks known to mankind when working in a prefab housing factory. The short version is that multiple people who was in on the prank simply asked this person if he was feeling okay. No suggestion of what might have caused the question was to be made. After several inquiries the otherwise healthy young man left early claiming he felt ill. The opinions of the group had so much influence on his opinion of himself that he manifested symptoms of illness. The next day he was told by several people that he looked well and that his recovery was amazing and he had one the most productive days ever! It was all done by manipulating his opinion of himself. And that brings me back to The Little Engine That Could. By repeating to himself that positive thought over and over he brought out the best that was inside himself and overcame the obstacle before him.

I try to keep these two stories in mind when I’m feeling down. One of them I learned as a child and the other I witnessed first hand. The lesson I learned was that positive thoughts can improve my quality of life. Also, with the rise of social media we’re more likely to encounter people like the coworkers who made a person sick simply with the power of suggestion. Keep that in mind when listening to the negative opinions yourself and others that might be floating around out there and never hesitant to give a kind word to someone who might need it to get through the day.