Category Archives: Personal

Mirror Lakes – Spearfish, South Dakota

I stumbled upon Mirror Lakes near Spearfish, South Dakota quite by accident when exploring the area for those perfect scenic backdrops. Having just finished working the night shift, I rushed to the hotel to pick-up Thade. When I arrived at the hotel, he was waiting impatiently and we jumped into the car and started riding.

img_0042I had turned off the main highway onto the gravel/rock roads that seem normal around here if you’re going up the mountains. I turned a few times from one road to another and then noticed a side road. The side road was the same gravelly type road, though much narrower than the one I previously was on.

Coming upon a concrete barricade, I pulled off the road and parked. Getting out, I noticed the sign prohibiting vehicles but open to foot traffic. I leashed Thade and we went through the barricade to find ourselves on a wooden bridge, a stream running underneath at a rapid pace.

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From there, I cannot begin to describe all we saw. There were hawks, turkeys, deer, a number of other types of birds, and miles of one-lane gravel road that is slowly being taken over by nature and small pathways.

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The dewdrops glistened on the plants and grass in the morning sun, prettier than even the most expensive diamonds.

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We followed the pathway for a bit before rounding the corner to look upon one of the lakes.

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Making our way to the water’s edge, we admired the crystal clearness of the water that allowed us to see the plants and fish; as well as the reflection.

img_0023-cr2 img_0022After a bit of relaxing, we once again went along the path only to hit a dead-end where the hill jutted toward the blue sky. I looked across to the other side and thought instead of going back, surely we could make it to the other side if we went ON the hill.

So, off we went, trudging along till we were walking the rim of the red hill wall. Finally, we chose a gully, washed out by rain and snow to go down and safely land on the other walkway. Thade looked at me as if I was a mad woman for making him hike up a hill and then down again. img_0210But he soon got over it when we came upon the other lake and enjoyed the view and the breeze of the morning air for a while.

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After two hours of walking and hiking, Thade and I decided it was time to return to the hotel for a meal and a nap. Since finding the lakes, I have been twice more. While there, I have not seen another human. It is very serene and a great place to meditate while watching the rising sun.

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What Makes a Good Sunset?

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Sunset, Pt St Joe Florida
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Sunset
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Cloudy sunset

I was talking with someone not long ago about what makes a good sunset. Some people think no clouds and just a setting sun is what makes it good; while others think clouds are a “must” to add dimension to the sunset. _MG_6001 IMG_6008

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Sunset, Shell Point Florida

What I have come to realize is, it really doesn’t matter what is included in the sunset. They all are beautiful and I am thankful for each and every one that I blessed to witness.

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Is It a Home or a House?

IMG_5482Recently, I was able to photograph a family’s home, or what was their home for a few years, in Alabama. This family is in the process of moving to another state due to a job transfer. The wife told me she loved the house the minute she saw it and it was hard to leave her home. I noted how she said house in the first part of that sentence and home in the last part. As I photographed the four bedroom, 2 bath, brick house, I thought about the differences between a house and a home; or at least what I thought made the difference.

After photographing the house and surrounding property, I asked the woman what she thought made it a home instead of a house. She told me, she had felt a comfort when she walked through the door for the first time.

649WestbrookShe said a peace enveloped her as she viewed the house and once they had moved in, the feeling had progressed and became stronger. The family had made the house theirs, by personalizing it…giving some of themselves, living, loving.

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She had learned to love her husband more there. They had raised their children there. She then said that they had not just lived there, but they had LOVED there…totally and unconditionally. She gave me many more reasons why the structure I had just photographed was a home instead of a house and I listened intently to her.

IMG_5473We talked about a lot of things while I was there, but the part about the structure being a house or a home has stuck with me. Our conversation has made me think of the beach house I had at one time, of how I felt at peace there. It didn’t matter what kind of day I had, when I was there I could relax, live, and love. One day, I am going to find a home again.IMG_5477

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Wasn’t It Just Yesterday?

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Isn’t it amazing how quickly time seems to pass? I can remember wanting to hurry up and get old enough to drive, old enough to move out of the house, old enough to leave the small town I lived in; so much wanting to rush time so this or that would happen and now, with age, I find myself wishing it would slow down just for a little while. I don’t really want it to stop, I just want it to slow down.

I mean when did I hit my 20-year milestone? 30? 40? And 50 not far away? Wasn’t it just yesterday my daughter giggled as she ran through the field, curly blond hair flying around her face as her chubby little legs carried her down the hill? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I celebrated passing nursing boards? Wasn’t it just yesterday I held my twin granddaughters, one in each arm, as they peacefully slept? Wasn’t it just yesterday I waited to hear my grandson had been born and welcome him to our world? Wasn’t it just yesterday I watched my daughter graduate from nursing school? Wasn’t it just yesterday I was saying goodbye to this loved one or that one that had passed? Wasn’t it just yesterday…?

Whenever I can I try to slow down…or at least be still a minute to enjoy a sunrise or sunset, or even both. For some reason, I just do not want to miss anymore of those. I don’t want to think it was just yesterday that I saw one, when in reality it was two months ago. When we are young life seems like it takes so long and as we get older we realize just how short it really is. Enjoy your moments, because soon our today will be no more and we will no longer be able to say, “Wasn’t it just yesterday”?

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More From the Dothan Area Botanical Gardens

I never grow tired of visiting the Botanical Gardens in Dothan because I’m always able to see something differently there or experience some new feeling. This trip didn’t disappoint me and I have decided to share something that I wrote while taking my photographs. Hope you enjoy!

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With no where to go, I sit in the garden contemplating, thinking, planning until my mind exhausts itself and is able to relinquish the maddening thoughts to finally be still.IMG_4683

A peace flows over me as a breeze lifts stray strands of hair and the sun glides from behind the clouds; its warmth soothing me and its rays relaxing my soul.

Even on what is a cold, cloudy day, color is to be found; colors to brighten  even the most distressed spirits. With each plant, a vibrant color takes away some of the gray.IMG_4649IMG_4663IMG_4652IMG_4653IMG_4662IMG_4660

The birds’ songs join with the trickling of the flowing water, creating an almost magical sound… a lullaby;¬† draining the remaining chaotic thoughts from the mind.IMG_4693

Stone faces keep watch over the gardens, the playground of fairies, gnomes, and other wee beings. Silently they stand guard as the world revolves around them, their thoughts never to be known.IMG_4665IMG_4667

Pathways, some easily discerned and others not so much, lead the wanderer to wherever they choose to be. Some going downhill, some uphill, yet others curving to destinations ahead.

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These paths remind me of the ones I have taken on my life journey; some clear and easily navigated, others littered with debris and obstacles that must be overcome.IMG_4669IMG_4673

Walking along them, with the wind’s voice whispering among the trees, I realize that my journey is far from over. There’s still so much to see….so much to do…so much to share…and so much love to give.IMG_4658IMG_4651IMG_4679

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