Sunday

“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.”

~Erich Fromm

giraffe hide

The last three weeks have not left much time for fun, time with my husband or time for my photography practice. So on Sunday, when my love suggested an afternoon at the Sacramento Zoo, I answered with an eager “yes.”

Sacramento’s zoo is a modest place, but it doesn’t lack in opportunities to get rich, interesting photos. When we went last spring, I was reduced to the camera on my iPhone; this time around I was excited to have my Nikon and its family of different lenses to work with. My only problem in situations like this is the battle to silence my inner critic, and remind myself that photography and the skill it demands is a gradually acquired thing. So we went, and I hoped for the best, and promised to give myself a break if my results were less than stellar. Because really that isn’t what the afternoon was about. This time was meant for loving company, and a chance to see some of the world’s beautiful creatures.

flamingo

orangutan

African Bongo

boar

tigress

kangaroo

river otter

lioness

giraffe

giraffe

giraffe hide

giraffe

The four giraffes we saw were clearly the stars of the show. While I had to take most of my photos from a significant distance and through thick wire fencing or glass, the Sacramento Zoo’s giraffe habitat has a beautiful redwood viewing platform and the lower asphalt walkway is separated from these beauties by only a modest wall and low fence. A wonderful opportunity for even the most novice smart phone user to get beautiful, vibrant shots.

It was a fantastic afternoon~mild weather with pops of sunshine through thick, grey clouds, stunning animals and the man I love.

Perfection.

Enjoy your week, everyone.

Into The Light

I turned 41 last week.

I seem to become more thoughtful and reflective than usual when a birthday approaches, and this habit lingers in the weeks following. As this earthly time ticks away, going faster and faster with each precious year, my mind meanders through those questions:

Will I ever do this? Will I ever achieve that? Will these eyes ever see that far away place I have dreamed of since I was a child? 

Will the rest of my life be blessed with good, stable health? Or will it always be the same?

The leash of illness has felt awfully, painfully tight of late. In times like these all my heart longs to do is turn to something much bigger than myself; to lay my eyes upon miracles and unspeakable beauty, things that even the most poetic verse simply cannot touch.

So to celebrate, I spent a gorgeous late morning with my husband at Muir Woods. The California Redwood is something that truly needs to be seen in one’s lifetime; photography and brilliant words are not enough to capture their majesty. Hundreds of feet high, centuries and sometimes thousands of years old, sunlight shining through them as if the gracious hand of God is reaching down, they possess a calm and peace that cannot be described, it can only be felt as you stand, so diminutive at their feet.

I could hear the gentle, comforting rush of a creek. I could see a tiny fawn feeding within feet of its gorgeous mother. And I thought to myself that these very same things~water slipping over grey, cold rocks and a family of deer eating peacefully in the shadow of these giants~perhaps happened in this very same spot centuries and maybe even a thousand years ago. Before modern people and modern life.

Before us.

Before me. 

And these very same things will happen long after we are gone.

Muir Woods, California

California Redwood

Muir Woods, California

Fawn, Muir Woods CA

age of a fallen redwood

909 AD: A tree is born

1100 AD: Building of cliff dwellings begins~Mesa Verde, Colorado

1325 AD: Aztecs begin construction of Tenochtitlan, Mexico

1492 AD: Columbus sails to America

1607 AD: Jamestown, Virginia founded by English colonists

1776 AD: The Declaration of Independence

1849 AD: The California Gold Rush

1908 AD: Muir Woods National Monument established

1930 AD: Tree falls

Muir Woods, CA

Experiences like this always make me feel the same.

I am really, really glad that I was born.

And I’m really, really glad that I am here.

I cannot think of a greater gift.

The light will come and find you. You only need to bring the mind to rest. ~ Fay Hart

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