Caught in the Light

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Took a walk in the woods yesterday afternoon. Stopped dead in my tracks by this tree.

Always on the lookout for one of nature’s surprises. Almost missed this one.

Split bark cedar tree with shafts of light illuminating her unusual essence of colors, curves and twists, and peeling bark. Even the brush which touched her was beautiful.

Soon the leaves turn from green to brown and will drop away.

Ah, winter causes her to hibernate, but not to die. She is too wild.

Spring will come again, as will new growth and a summer full of foliage.

This cedar lives on for whatever purpose the Creator has ordained.

I count myself fortunate to have seen her in this captivating light.

 

 

 

F I R E !

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Fire is a mesmerizing thing to watch; whether it is controlled or uncontrolled. It can be immensely useful to our survival, yet deadly and highly destructive. The outcome depends equally on man and nature. These photographs are of a controlled brush fire which appears out of control. Knowing who set the wood ablaze, it easily could have become out of control ! Very glad that it didn’t.

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Intense heat. Unbridled fury. Forceful energy. Destructive power. Thoughts of Hell.  However, if I were to include photographs of controlled fire, I would reveal images of super hot furnaces purifying and forging steel; electrical power plants powering the engines to create electricity; Bunsen burners heating chemicals to develop the next cure for a disease or a chemical breakthrough; gas-fired ovens to cook meals; camp fires to survive by during the frigid and deadly cold, and candles to warm the soul.

Rather amazing, isn’t it, that out of one essential element of the earth we can find polar opposites for good and bad. Unfortunately, the bad is where we seem to be headed as a country, and as a world populated by hundreds of countries. Fascinating, yet scary. Realistic and not some fictional story. We all live in a crazy time in the era of mankind. I rather think at moments that the aboriginal in some far-off land, not knowing anything about commerce or industry, etc., may be better off than their sophisticated cousins (the so-called industrialized nations).

I love America. I love Europe and Asia, and South America, Central America, the islands of the Oceans, The Balkans and the Baltic’s, the Middle East and the Far East. All that God created I love, but His creation was originally meant to be peaceful, and it is not. Is it my desire to put out the flame which creates destruction as well as blessings? No. I desire to fan the flame of love and peace and tolerance and freedom. However, I will not fan the flames of intolerance or bigotry, nor the flames of hatred and division. I do believe that those who cherish freedom must protect this sacred right. It’s a complicated world.

I am grateful for fire, as long as it is controlled righteously, as was originally intended.

 

Cacophony

My internet dictionary describes Cacophony as “a harsh, discordant mixture of sounds”. This term is often applied to an orchestra tuning their respective instruments before a concert. Each participant wants to achieve the best sound from the instrument as he or she plays it. From an audience’s point of view, it may sound a bit unorganized and odd. However, I like the warm-up and find it intriguing to listen to and watch.

For those of you who have children, grand children, nieces and nephews, you understand the definition of Cacophony! Crazy, fun, annoying, intolerable at times, but also a joyous sound during most moments. “Bless the little children”, said Jesus.

I could quite literally produce hundreds of photographs which would describe this word without using words. Life is just like that; a cacophony of experiences loud and soft, coherent and disconnected. This so-called chaos may come in the form of sound, as mentioned; visual, as represented in these two images; inner voices and / or confusing feelings, as so many of us have experienced; disturbing dreams; or experiences too baffling to explain.

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These photographs created a cacophony of sorts for me which included visual, audible and conflicting feelings. The photos were taken with my cell phone’s camera at a multi-band concert a few years ago. What seemed like chaos to me was simultaneously a joyful consensus of understanding and interpretation by many who attended this event.

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It seems to me that diversity is a key element to living a conflict free and satisfactory life…one without judgment or anger or fear. Also, a life with the freedom to chose what moves you. The cacophony of life can result in positive or negative experiences. As a favorite local artist of mine states on his business bookmark card, “Art is simple. You either like it or you don’t”. For me, Mike Savage summed up how we should live using this statement which presents itself as a philosophy for living. However, be gentle and kind when living-out this simple process. There should be no sense of judgement or condemnation.

 

East to West

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Tuesday morning, 0730, western Kansas City, cold and overcast.

Stepped outside to leave for business.  The eastern sky startled me. The western sky reassured me.

To see the sun begin to rise in the east and the moon begin to set in the west at the same time is fairly common, but rather special, too. One is so vibrant and the other so soft as it fades away due to the morning’s brilliance.

The cloud dynamic adds a dramatic element to the one, and a firm point of reference to the other…rather like some people do when we encounter them.

Had lunch with a friend of mine today. He is such an encouragement and always looks at each day as simply that…another day. If we screw up, we have another opportunity to do better (assuming we are given the chance). We both have struggled through serious depression about the same number of years and period in time, but he seems to have a firmer grip on what makes one tick and how to respond to the negative thoughts we all succumb to which affects our moods, doubts and self-images. I appreciate him so much.

Just look at the recent tragedies in Vegas and Texas. Talk about warped self-images. How sad for all concerned. In some way, all affected become victims. However, this post isn’t about those terrible incidents. It is more about beauty and awareness and life. It is about overcoming, too. It is meant to encourage instead of discourage. I see flags flying half-mast everywhere and know why, hence, the monologue about recent tragedies. Yet, the flags will fly at full-mast again. So should we after we falter from life’s harsh realities.

I know this statement may seem harsh and even naive to some, but such is not my intent. One never gets over tragedy…one must simply overcome it’s consequences which can be extremely difficult. I have personal experience with this reality. May these photos lift your souls as they did mine when I first witnessed these scenes early this morning.

 

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East to West…emerging to fading…repeating cycle everyday…redemption waiting.

 

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