Choices & Free Will

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

The network of steel ribbons lays out before me with all of its switches and crossovers. Just beyond the tracks route 60 runs in parallel with it’s two simple lanes. The warm humid air after the storm carries the scent of creosote from crossties. And just beyond all of the intersections is the local foundry.

As I look out over the scene I’m struck by the thought of how both pathways lead to the same destination but only one allows for free will.

The railway with all its complex switches requires someone externally to help the trains switch tracks. ( perhaps more modern trains allow the engineer more control but in general the switches are external. ) In contrast, the highway traveler has more control over his/her route. Even though they have to follow certain rules and regulations about how the vehicle is operated they can change routes on a whim. The highway traveler can even perform a U turn and return home.

The concept of free will is an important part of human nature. Free will is often referred to as the first gift from God. No sooner did God breathe life into Adam that he was given a mind of his own complete with his own desires. Some people would say that it was free will that got Adam into trouble but it was free will that made him special in creation. Not even the angels were given the ability to choose.

There’s definitely a lot of choices to make on this earth. Even if a person takes the more controlled path like the train tracks it was still a choice that they made.

One last observation before I close. The area here in the feature image is a place where the trains are often parked for the night. This is the place where people can choose to leave the train tracks and get onto the highway. Or (if this were not a freight train) they can leave the highway and board the trains. Which makes me think that there’s always going to be an opportunity to change the pathway and change your life.

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Time Uncluttered

The Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu is accredited with saying that “Nature does not hurry yet everything is accomplished”. In our high maintenance society of modern day planet earth we seem to be constantly on the go. Our lives are constantly governed by the ticking of a clock. Or in my case the prompting of my Google assistant reminding me to check the laundry or change the furnace filter. My smartwatch is constantly buzzing in sync with my phone to remind of one minor task or another. All of this perfectly timed organization allows for us to keep all the balls in the air. But is there an important difference between a full life and a busy life? Lao Tzu’s observation leaves it open to imply that we might be missing something if we are constantly being hurried. Yes Google will help you keep on top of all the important things but only if you remember to set the reminder in the first place. Is it all just cyberneticly enhanced rushing?

I suppose that the answer is in making time for that sense of peace. Sometimes that means that the laundry in the dryer gets a little wrinkled. Sometimes it means that one of the balls that we’re juggling has to be tucked into a pocket for a little while as we enjoy the graceful spiral of a snail’s shell found on the edge of a trail that we really hadn’t planned on walking that day.

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

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Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Time Unclutteredand is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. ( just click on the the bell below)

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4X6 is $5.00

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Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

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

Solitude And Focus

There are times when a person just needs a little solitude. When the world around you is full of flashing signs and blaring music and distractions of every kind. We all have those moments when the mental clutter just needs to be pushed back and space needs to be given for focusing on one thing at a time. We need to just let our minds drift for a little while like a bird on the lake. He’s not trapped in the water. He can leave at time of his choosing. He can paddle around and go to any part of the water or land that he wants. He’s not overtaken by winds or currents but instead he rides them. He works in harmony with creation and achieves what is needed. And he rests when it’s time. He is at peace with his environment as God intended. Solitude isn’t really about being antisocial or introverted. It’s about focus. It’s intended to be a limited time for mental and emotional recharge. We exercise our bodies to grow stronger and have more endurance but any successful athletes will tell you that it’s during the resting cycle that the strength manifests. Our minds and spirits are the same way. We need a resting state to fully benefit from the stimulation we experience in daily life.

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

Ring this bell for 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

Visit My Website

Tonight’s Feature Image is titled “Quiet Contemplation” and is available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website. (Note, I do not share or sale contact information.EVER)

4X6 is $5.00

5X7 is $10.00

8X10 is $15.00

Some cropping may be necessary for certain sizes.

Ring this bell to order prints or schedule portraits

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

The Hotrod

You climb in and slip behind the wheel. The key is already in the ignition and the engine roars to life. The ground shakes in time with the pulsating pistons. The sheer power rumbles throughout your body. One hand on the wheel and one on the stick as you feather the gas pedal and drag the clutch.
A young girl steps out between the two cars and shakes the bandana from her hair. You glance at your opponent only long enough to make eye contact and then back to the bandana raised high in air.
Three. Tighten your grip on the wheel
Two. Find that sweet spot in the clutch and rev the engine.
One. Release the clutch and give it all she’s got.
Thick clouds of smoke roll out from the tires and the smell of hot rubber saturates the air. The inertia holds you tightly in the seat and you become as much machine as you are human. The wind whips through your hair as you check the mirrors. The car in the mirror fades into a tiny dots as the motor winds out to full power. You have already passed the finish line.
You allow the car to coast a little before brakes are applied. You turn the car around and meet your opponent still coming the other way. The sportsman like thing to do is congratulate him on a race well run and wish him better luck next time however you’ve beaten him so bad that it would be like rubbing salt in an open wound.
He avoids eye contact and it’s just as well. Back at the starting line the crowd cheers as you exit the vehicle and collect your prize. A single kiss from the girl with the bandana.

Stepping Through A Gateway Into A New World

I grew up watching old black and white reruns of the Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. A lot of the plot was always an analogy of the cold war but there was often the idea of an alternate reality. A world that almost identical to our own only with a few key differences. Tonight I’m wondering “what if I had chosen to do X instead of Y”? Our lives are a collection of the small choices that we make on a regular basis. So what if A gateway opened in front of you? On the other side of the reality you could see all the maybes that were the options that you didn’t choose. Would you step through? Would you really want to know what you missed? And what if by choosing to do things differently you changed the here and now? Would you have the life you really wanted? And what if I told you that every grain of sand that slips through the hour glass of our lives was it’s own little gateway to change? What if you discovered you didn’t have to change everything all at once in order to effect the outcome? What if by changing where and how the next grain of sand falls just a little we could effect the overall impact on our lives and that those changes compound into a big difference?

What does it take to make these changes? I guess it’s going to depend on what you want to change. For most of us the goal is to enhance the life we have instead of trying to replace it all together. We want to learn a new skill but don’t want to pay for a class until we see if we enjoy it. So the answer is look online and I’ll bet you can find someone on YouTube or other platforms teaching for free. If the goal is to get in shape or improve overall health the answer could be a pleasant stroll at some point in day. The hard one is a change in attitude. You have to consciously decide to alter your reactions over and over throughout the whole day. But eventually something happens and the change gets easier until you’re a new person.

We don’t need Rod Sterling to open up a magical vortex into the brave new world in order change our reality. All we need to take the opportunity as it arises and commit to the action.

Forging Yesterday

It’s said that photographers work with two main elements. Light and Time. I suppose that’s why so many of my writings emphasizes the observation of time. Tonight I’m looking at another version of my favorite old barn and I began to think about how quickly all of our tomorrows become yesterdays. It seems that I was just blogging about how much I was looking forward to Springtime and this morning I saw the leaves falling on my lawn. When I was a kid summer seemed to last a lifetime and today I blink my eyes and it’s almost gone. Sure we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather but the light is fading fast. A few years ago I was in a gym and one of the other men in the locker room made the same observation about how fast the summer went by. His friend answered that when they were only six years old summer was 1/6 of their lives. Now they’re sixty years old and summer was only 1/60 of their lives. The passage of time was relative to the age of the observer.

We live in the moment but moments pass so quickly and we are left with a collection of yesterdays. We can plan what we want tomorrow to become but we only have now to bend time and forge the now into a yesterday worth collecting. Mistakes will be made. It’s inevitable. Many of us are trying so hard to go back and fix the errors that we are losing the now and the opportunity for a new and better yesterday. You see, the old cliche about building a better tomorrow is just that. A cliche. All we can really do is use our now in the best way possible and hope that when we are finished with it that it matures into a better yesterday. A yesterday that is captured by the lens of memory and added to a fine collection which can be shared with those we love.

The Primeval Adventures Of My Youth.

The deep forests are an easy place to get lost. You start out on a dirt road and you just keep walking when you run out of gravel. Eventually the mud transitions into leaf litter. The moss grows thick and the gnarled undergrowth fills every available space. Just beyond these trees are the cliffs I used to play on as a kid. There’s a rocky ledge with a large overhang that one can sit on and observe the forest floor below. I’m guessing that it’s only about twenty or maybe thirty feet in hight but to a young man in his early teens it may as well had been the edge of the world. I would get all garbed up to the point where it looked like I was going on a major expedition down the Amazon. I carried a large Bowie Knife on my belt for survival. The only thing I ever used it for was to mark trees by cutting out a patch of the outer bark and being careful not to damage the live bark underneath. (If done right it in no way harms the tree). I would sometimes take a slingshot along. ( called a catapult by many of my international friends). I would try to pick off individual leaves with a small stone. The stones are not nice and consistent like the fancy ammo in the stores today. That made hitting anything consistently quite a challenge. Sometimes I would pick up acorns or hickory nuts for slingshot ammo which was better for accuracy but didn’t really impart much impact to the target. I’d bet that if I made my way to the ledge today I’d find a pile of small stones in the back of ledge waiting to be used during the zombie apocalypse. Other days I would trek down into the valley below. I would pick out a sapling to craft into spear. There was a particular rotten stump below the cliff that was just the right consistency to allow the spear to stick. I was actually better at throwing the spear than I was with the slingshot.

The road in the feature image was one of my favorite childhood memories and a way of escape from the mundane world and a gateway to a primeval adventure.