Heart-Piercing

I follow a local news photojournalist, Mike Simons, on various social media platforms. He has a way of capturing events in our city and surrounding areas that show humanity. Photographs that react and respond to current happenings without sensationalism.

One such photo recently caught my attention. The subject was a local minister known for his consistent peaceful protests for civil rights. On this particular day, the minister encountered a man asking for water. The man appeared to be homeless.

The minister’s response, captured in this photo, pierced my heart. I cannot get it out of my mind. The man requesting water, sitting on the ground, was met with unconditional love. The minister not only gave him water, but he also stooped down, washed the man’s feet, and provided him with clean socks and shoes. https://www.facebook.com/mikesimonsphoto/photos/a.487995598044480/1651200578390637/?type=3&theater

I have not had any interaction so dramatic as this one. Maybe that is why my heart cannot let it go. But I did recently have an interaction with a homeless man. Telling the whole story at this time does not seem appropriate. I did, however, write a poem to express my thoughts. Maybe I will write more later…

He Has a Name

Sad, empty face
Eyes distrusting
And suspicious
Tired-lonely
Beaten down
Shoulders slumped
No home-no
Place to rest
How? Why?
What series of
Events lead him
To this place?
Someone’s dad?
Maybe
Someone’s son?
An undeniable fact
He likes BBQ
Sandwiches from QT
And Monster drinks-
That is all I know
Except that
He is a person
And just like me
He has a soul
Inside that shell
And just like me
He has a name-
His name is Sam

Old Friends

The rain stopped
Some drops lingered
In the rich soil
Beneath the tree-
Resting after the
Long journey
On the tip
Of a pine needle,
One drop called out
Or perhaps, up
To its dear friend,
Sunshine

It’s your turn!
I’m waiting!
Send your rays
My way-So that
We may have
A moment of fun
Can’t you see?
We belong together
Simply shine your
Light on me
And watch the branch
Begin to glisten

The sun obliged
Sending its rays
To pierce the clouds
And touch the Raindrop
The two old friends
Danced and played
While the branch
Glistened and smiled
Soon, each went their way
But neither said goodbye
Knowing they would
Meet again another day

The Way I Saw It

The past few mornings have been rainy. It’s difficult to wake up and get moving when the sky is so gray. But yesterday morning, though rain still fell, had a different appearance.

Looking outside, I noticed the sky looked strange. The view out the back door was still mostly gray, but with an odd hint of pink. Looking out the front window showed the sun trying to shine through the rain. My first thought-I bet there is a rainbow.

So, I walked outside, and sure enough, there it was, a beautiful rainbow, the full arch, from one corner of the sky to the next. Little drops of rain fell on me as I took in its beauty. And then, of course, I had to snap a few pictures.

My eyes saw each color of the rainbow. Clear and bright. But when I looked at my photo, something was wrong. Still beautiful, but the colors seemed muted. Not what my mind remembered from just a few moments earlier.

I immediately began to edit my photo. Don’t you love those filters? But this took a lot of adjustments. I played with light, contrast, shadow, etc. Finally, I had a picture that represented what I had witnessed.

Why was it so important for me to change the original picture?
Seeing that rainbow brought a moment of beauty and peace during difficult days. And by sharing my photo, I hoped to share that experience. Maybe someone else needed that same kind of moment.

Which photo best represents what I actually saw? In my mind, it is the second. But logically, I know it is probably something in between the two. Maybe the second one is more representative of how I felt. Either way, that’s the way I saw it. And I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere… 🙂

No Pictures

I love pictures. I have loved them since I was a little girl.
My Grandma Mahar had a round metal container with a tight-fitting lid. I believe it was ivory-colored with gold stripes. But more importantly, it was full of photographs.

I would sit at her dining room table with this treasure box, take off the lid, and spread out the pictures. There were old snapshots, mostly black and white. There were also old school photos of my mom and her siblings.

Thumbing through the photos was like taking a trip back in time. Seeing the old cars, the clothes they wore-reading the notes written on the backs. Thinking about it now makes me smile. I can still see the container and some of the photos in my memory.

My love of pictures readily transferred to adult life, particularly when I became a mom. I know there are times my kids have rolled their eyes upon hearing once again, “Hey guys, we need to take a picture!” Of course, my next line made them smile. “Act like you like each other.”

This past weekend was our oldest son’s wedding. They had prepared a couple of decorative signs to greet guests as they entered the venue. One politely announced that the ceremony was to be “unplugged.” The idea was for guests to put away their phones and just be present in the celebration. So that’s what we did-no photos.

I started thinking about that fact this morning. And even though I love looking at and taking photos, I’m so glad I was “unplugged” for their ceremony. What a joy to be in the moment. Listening as they repeated their vows. Watching them smile and giggle, so happy to be starting their life together.

I will be anxiously awaiting the professional photos from the wedding. I’m even thinking about starting my own container of photographs. Who knows, maybe someone else would enjoy spreading pictures all over the dining room table with me. I can always hope. 😉

Imagine this lid on a deeper tin. That’s what held my Grandma’s treasures. ❤

Beautifully Imperfect

I have a favorite photo of me and the kids. I remember the day it was taken. It was quickly snapped by a friend, not the result of a professional photoshoot.

Look at those sweet faces! ❤

Everyone is looking in different directions. We are tired and messy. And yet, it remains my top pick.

The picture always surfaces this time of year. When I saw it this morning, I began to think about what it represents-an honest reflection of one day in the life of a young, stay-at-home mom.

That particular day was far from perfect. I remember having a migraine earlier that afternoon. The medicine I took made me sleepy. I also remember my husband, Gart, was not be able to attend the fall festival with us. He had a graduate school class that night. That meant I had three kids to get ready for the evening festivities by myself.

With the help of some friends, we made it to the party. Everyone had a costume. Robert was Superman, Rachel-Tigger, and Ryan-a baby bumblebee. The kids had fun playing games, spending time with friends, and collecting candy. If you look closely, you can see their candy buckets hanging on the handles of Ryan’s stroller.

My friend took the picture at the end of the evening. I remember collapsing onto the floor. The kids just naturally settling in my lap. Three tired kids and one tired mom. Yet in the picture, I am still smiling.

After considering the story surrounding my favorite photo, I am left with this truth: A perfect picture has more to do with the memories it evokes than with the image itself.

Our picture is beautifully imperfect. It reminds me of a busy and challenging time in my life. A time I would not trade for all the perfect pictures in the world.

Tree Memories

I have always loved trees. Not only are they beautiful, but they also provide refreshing shade. Though all are important in their way, some stand out above the rest.

Several specific trees from my childhood come to mind. A large tree near my grandma’s house had a basketball goal attached. I spent hours under its shade shooting hoops with my cousins. It provided family fun and a sense of security.

A lovely mimosa tree graced my parents’ front yard. With pink, feathery flowers, it made the perfect picture backdrop. I can see me now, standing nearby in my Easter dress holding my little woven basket.

We closed on the sale of our house today. This afternoon, I had one last visit with one very special tree. This tree watched over our backyard for the past sixteen years.

Our family took advantage of this picture-perfect spot many times. Easter, Mother’s Day, proms, graduations. Even those ”just for the fun of it” pics with the kids sitting up on the branches.

Today, I snapped one last picture. But this time, the tree was my only subject. Standing tall and proud, the sun shone through its branches. Inside my head, I whispered, ”Thank you.” As the wind rustled its leaves, I imagined a whisper back, “You’re welcome.”

View from the Top of the Stairs

This week it is time for solo-n-ensemble rehearsals. High school students come to my home after school to practice for their upcoming competition. Currently, my piano is upstairs in an open loft area. So, while I was waiting for my last student to arrive I sat down at the top of the stairs.

I love looking down into the living room from upstairs. It provides an interesting perspective. The light is different. Seeing the space from above causes me to notice things I might otherwise overlook.

We have taken many photos from this angle over the years. Family photos, Christmas decorations, furniture rearranging.

My favorite pic from this vantage point was secretly taken by my daughter, Rachel. So many reasons to love this photo. The warmth from the Christmas tree and lighting. Playing music with my son, Robert, practicing Christmas Time is Here by Vince Guaraldi.

“There’s never a moment without music in our house.”

Rachel is not in the photo, yet she is in the center of the memory. I can picture her upstairs in her room, listening to us practice. What made her think to snap a picture? I’m not sure. However, the memory of playing this particular music with Robert might not be as clear if not for her thoughtfulness.

My view from the top of the stairs today isn’t nearly as exciting or memorable. Yet the more I think about it, the more I realize how much it connects with this photo from the past.

Rachel’s caption for her photo was, “There’s never a moment without music in our house.” Something I hope will always be said about our home.

Why was I sitting at the top of the stairs today? I was taking a rest from making music…waiting to make more.