D A W N

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In less than ten minutes this weather beaten barn went from being in the shadows to being illuminated by the warm rays of the morning sun.

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And, ten minutes before this photo, the barn was in the dark. The lighting doesn’t change the condition of the structure, but it does help us to see it clearly.

That’s what Dawn does-it helps us to see life from a brighter perspective.

And what causes the light? The sun, of course…always on time, always illuminating and exposing what can’t be seen in the darkness.

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The sun creeps up on us like a car at dusk getting ready to top a hill. One can see a glow above the crest of the road, but it is not until the head lights come into view do we see what created that glow. It is at this moment we are illuminated.

In addition to illuminating and exposing, Dawn brightens and enlightens. Has it been awhile since you’ve witnessed a sunrise? If it has, may I suggest that you do so soon. And, if you have seen many Dawns, but don’t give them a second thought, perhaps pause for a moment and simply watch in awe how amazing this daily occurrence really is. Quite possibly you may become enlightened and illuminate someone else’s life. That’s well worth a few minutes of our time, and the benefits can’t be overstated.

Shadows

Leaf Shadow June 23, 2017

I hiked in a nearby wooded park yesterday morning. Using my cell phone’s camera, I captured several images of nature’s creation. Besides the vibrant colored wild flowers and insects, this particular image grabbed my attention. The play of the sun sifting through the thick canopy of trees created all manner of shadows. In this case the dead wood provided the perfect screen for the leaves to project their shadow upon.

I didn’t linger as I was walking for enjoyment as well as for exercise. I have thought about shadows since I took this photograph. Wherever there is light, there will be a shadow. When I was atop a 12,000 ft. mountain in the Rockies several years ago, I recall these giant clouds rolling overhead at a very fast rate. Yet, their shadows seemed so small when blanketing the terrain. I recall feeling so insignificant in comparison. Nature has a way of putting our lives in proper perspective.

Shadows can’t always be trusted because they don’t always reveal accurately the very essence of the thing being illuminated. They can become quite distorted depending on the angle of light and the screen they are displayed on.

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Why is it we are sometimes afraid of shadows? I believe it hinges on the object being illuminated. If we don’t know what or who is causing the shadow, this is when our imaginations can run wild. Many movies have used shadows to invoke fear in the hearts of the actor, as well as the viewers of the movie. Dark alleys, blowing trees at night, a cat racing across a darkened room, an arm raised with an object that looks like a knife…there are endless possibilities!

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I have been ran over by my own shadow on many occasions. I have stepped on many shadows, as well. I’ve even had shadows follow me. But, I have never had a shadow hurt me. Besides making one feel scared at times, shadows can be fun…think of shadow animal figures projected on a wall. This form of art can become quite amusing. It is what’s in front of the shadow that we are really concerned about. A palm tree perhaps!

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Shadows

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Shadows can be fun, mysterious, frightful, intentional, random, and even boring. Regardless of how they are viewed and make us feel, they can all be explained by a law of physics: light is interrupted by an opaque or semi-opaque object and darkness is created in the form of the object on the opposite side of the illuminated object.

The shape and degree of darkness are controlled by several factors: light intensity, angle of the light source illuminating the object, movement of the object or light source, opaqueness of the object being illuminated, location of the viewer with respect to the object, the terrain upon which the shadow falls, and the distance of the shadow.

In the case of this lengthy shadow, I was atop the lighthouse with a clear view of the shadow being cast. The sun was bright and at an angle as it was afternoon. The lighthouse was opaque, except for the glass windows which reveal the light fixture. Although the type of surface which accepted the shadow changes from land to water, both are relatively level and flat. Hence, the shadow is directly in-line with the lighthouse.

However, aside from a scientific explanation there is something else about shadows-perhaps something almost sinister. Our imaginations can run wild so-to-speak when we allow the shadow to come ‘alive’ in our minds. We ‘feel’ its presence which can send chills up our back and make us look over our shoulder repeatedly. Yet, logically, we know shadows are not alive, but they are attached to the object casting it via invisible cords. Those cords which lead us to the objects are what we really fear-the shadows only confirm their existence.

There are more to shadows than meets the eyes. It is what they reveal which makes them so special..so ethereal. Not only do they reveal a hint of the object casting the shadow, they often expose something deep inside of us which is only triggered by the faded image. When I gaze upon this scene I am reminded of warmth, relaxation and discovery-all very pleasant feelings. Fortunately, I viewed this shadow in bright circumstances and there was no negativity attached to it or the lighthouse. That is not always the case.

I recall a memory of shadows which affected me unexpectedly. Many years ago I hiked to the top of a 12,000 foot mountain in the Rockies of Colorado. The day was sunny and the weather pleasant. After a while I noticed dark, swiftly moving shadows rolling across the rocky terrain. Clouds, and then more clouds. Fast and then faster they came. With the sun blazing above them they cast menacing looking images onto the mountain top. I recall vividly how I suddenly felt so very small and insignificant in comparison to the grandeur of nature’s power. The majesty of the mountains coupled with a storm fast approaching made me very aware that had I stayed on top of that mountain when the full force of the storm passed over, I would not have returned from whence I started. I was amazed that all it took were shadows to evoke these thoughts and feelings.

With a slight chuckle I think of the movies with sinister plots and shadows which scare those acting as well as those viewing.  Feelings of fearfulness and harm cause the heart to race-all because of shadows. Or, is it the shadows? Perhaps deeper reasons exist.

TORCH LIGHT

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Sunrise and placement of car.  Opened window and waited. Sun shifted over water tower.

Transmission power lines.  Standing tall as sentinels.  Cloud cover swirling about.

Camera shutter clicked open.  Image captured with delight.  Torch lit for a moment.

Energy revealed in light and lines.  What a way to begin a day! 

 

The Melt

2-21-15 011 I tried so hard, my dear, to show that you’re my every dream                Yet you’re afraid each thing I do is just some evil scheme                      A memory from your lonesome past keeps us so far apart                   Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

There was a time when I believed that you belonged to me                 But now I know your heart is shackled to a memory                              The more I learn to care for you, the more we drift apart                       Why can’t I free your doubtful mind and melt your cold, cold heart?

Hank Williams, the legendary country singer, wrote and recorded this song, Cold Cold Heart, in 1951 (he was 27 and died two years later).  Rather than recite all four stanzas, I copied the first and the last. The two middle stanzas simply reveal more about the confusion and heartache expressed in these lyrics. As I gazed at the melting ice from our trees this past Saturday morning, I grabbed my camera and went outside to take several shots. For some reason this song-which I haven’t heard in years-came to mind. I suppose it may have been the cold temperatures finally warming and the melting ice which caused this song to arise to my consciousness. After some self-evaluation, I asked myself how do the lyrics of a sad ballad correlate to a beautiful act of nature…for it was a grand sight to witness the frozen tree branches shed their layer of ice and drip with the new life of cool water. The melting ice glittered like diamonds under spotlights!2-21-15 005Slowly, almost imperceptibly, I began to understand the link. There is beauty all around us, but at the same time there can be ugliness, pain and sorrow. Paradoxical, isn’t it? Joy and pain, beauty and the beast, clarity and confusion-all can co-exist. Where love is found, hate is not far behind. Where peace abounds, conflict can be just around the corner. And where some relationships nurture and grow, others can wilt and die on the vine. Such is the result of a fallen world. But, alas, our lives don’t have to exist in a state of bitterness, heartache, failure or confusion. True, these are our realities at times, but they don’t have to define us. I am not advocating that we ignore the negatives for that is wishful thinking. As difficult as it can be at times we must face the trials head on, hang on to an anchor of hope (for me this anchor is Christ) and endure. Strive to find beauty in this world, even when you feel abandoned, are depressed or lonely, are being seriously misunderstood or may be grieving. Light will shine again; hold on and wait for the melt.2-21-15 013

Puddles

11-5-14 019 Early morning, several weeks ago, I took a walk through one of my favorite parks. There is an asphalt trail which winds its way over a thirty mile stretch of NE Kansas terrain. It traverses a pond in this park which has a loop around it. The Autumn leaves were a brilliant orange in the awakening east horizon. It rained a bit the night before and there were puddles of water helter-skelter. When I came upon this particular stretch of asphalt and beheld the radiance of the reflected maple trees, I stopped instantly. I gazed at what I saw in the water. A reflection to be sure, but much more. I saw a season coming to an end. I witnessed a transformation. I felt as if I were walking on holy ground.

As usual, I had my Canon with me and I took the shot. This is what I saw…what I stared at for several minutes. The reflection was transforming. Water reflecting light. Light illuminating color. Black framing the subject without any particular order. And, a slight breeze which the camera did not capture, but which was a part of this scene. Only when the sun rose higher and the angle of light lifted from the water puddle did I move on. I felt different somehow for witnessing this brief dynamic of nature unfold before me. Winter was clawing at the door of Fall like our Westie claws at a mole hole-hoping to find his prize instantly only to be disappointed that it takes time for success to occur. I then drove to work hoping this colorful season would last a bit longer than expected. Winter can be so cold and drab. Strive to resist the exterior veneer of gloom…it has a way of creeping into one’s soul. Don’t let it in. Be positive, and reach out to another in need.

Into the Light

20140329_140215Carson is recovering well from his CCL surgery. It is a slow process, especially since he is feeling his old self and wants to run and jump and rough house…all of which he can’t. I think it is harder on us than him. We have to hold him back and repress that which comes natural to a terrier. When I am with Carson, I talk to him like he can understand me. I say things like, “It’s for your own good buddy”. “It won’t be that much longer before you can do all the things you used to do”. “I know it’s tough, but just a little while longer and the wait will be worth it”. “You can’t damage that knee again or you may not recover next time, and that would be tragic, so we have got to be strong and show restraint”. All the while I am fighting letting go of the leash so he can sprint off or play tug of war. It is hopeless-I am a sucker for the little guy. So is Cheryl. We carry him around like he is a bag of groceries! We know his routines almost as well as he does which endears him to us more than ever. I never thought I would say this, but I think I may miss the 5 am walks in the cold darkness of every morning. What? Am I crazy?! Photograph taken with my Samsung Galaxy 3 cell phone. Post is dedicated to David Patterson…hang in there.