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simple things in life

“the real things haven't changed. it is still best to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasures; and have courage when things go wrong.”

― laura ingalls wilder

ahh...the simple pleasures! we all need them. today; tomorrow; the next day; for the whole of our lives, we need them. what captivates you in such a way that your mind, your body, even your soul just rebuffs the ongoing onslaught that demands our attention daily? what small thing make you smile? what small thing relaxes your body? what small thing de-stresses your mind?

i personally know of one person who watches dr. pimple popper for some mindless entertainment to unwind. now....i'm not sure how watching an erupting geyser of semi-gelatinous ooze brings relaxation. for me, it's like "watching a train wreck" as the saying goes. i simultaneously recoil and remain transfixed by the seemingly unending ooze of substances not native to this world! but...i'm digressing. the real point is it is a simple pleasure for that person.

one of the simple pleasures in my life is a relatively new one. i've been known to sit at our picture window looking out into the front yard as the sun begins its descent. whether spring, summer, fall or winter, it is a haven for me that helps me block out the world's hammering for a short while.

lest you get the wrong impression, i do not have a gorgeous setting looking out the picture window. well, i do as long as i don't raise my head too high! all around are houses, stop signs and a church, the two side streets that crisscross in front of the picture window are busier than your normal side streets. the general location, while pleasant, is not idyllic. it is noisy. and that is just what i hear. it is also too busy for my taste.

our front yard, on the other hand, is idyllic. my wife is an avid gardener and has transformed our yard. the gardens snake its way down one side of the front yard and back up the other side. a number of trees stand tall on both sides. a rock border defines the inside of the gardens, all handpicked and hand-placed. rocks are another simple pleasure in my life. i can't have enough of them! but again, i'm digressing from my focal simple pleasure for this blog.

as the sun begins to set, light and shadow begin to play. though not noticeable in seconds, change is happening every second. the light changes in color and intensity on the ground. shadows grow in length and girth. both seem to glide in slow motion across the yard depending on the angle of the sun. in the spring, summer and fall, light and shadow are also dappled as the sun sets behind the the trees crowned with leaves. for me, it's an entrancing time.

all the while, i'm often pondering whether i'm going to grab my camera and step outside to document this wondrous moment transpiring in front of me. sometimes i just want to be in the moment and not miss anything. i just kneel on the couch and watch the show. sometimes i do get the camera and head outside. i did that a few weeks ago to make an image.

i'm not sure whether all of you will be a fan of this image or not. but the beauty of it is that it's ok if you're not a fan. i love it when i share images and people like/love them. but one thing i do as a photographer...unless it's a commissioned image, i make images for myself. i don't posts to garner likes, hearts, loves, thumbs up, thumbs down, etc, while i would love to have countless followers who think i'm all that and more, i won't compromise what moves me in making an image. if it doesn't resonate with me, then i won't share it. if it does resonate, then i put myself out there in the hopes that others will see what enamored me enough to make the image.

this image was not obtained very gracefully. i don't know why i didn't just kneel down in the snow. who knows what lurks in our wonderfully complex minds? apparently not much in mine at that time. i set my camera and tripod in the snow and proceeded to squat down until my bum, warmly and snugly encased in my snow bibs, was slightly breaking through the top of the snow.

now that was my first mistake. i'm sure cars driving by were wondering why i couldn't do my "business" in the house! had anyone stopped to get out and ask, i imagine i would have said something along the lines of i was training for the tv survival show "alone" and i was practicing my "release techniques" for out in the wild.

mistake number two? my knees are not the greatest anymore at my age so squatting like that causes me to fight gravity. getting back up after being in that position for more than a few seconds? i might as well have had that middle snow-draped boulder in my arms! i wasn't getting up anytime soon. after i made a few images from that position, i think i just sort of rolled onto my back and then sort of rolled onto my side. it wasn't pretty but it did help me to maneuver into a position that allowed me to get back up. if you've seen "the christmas story" movie, it wasn't a far stretch to say i looked a little like ralphie's little brother; all bundle up in his snowsuit and rolling around on the ground after he was pushed over by the neighborhood bullies.

lack of gracefulness aside, i really love this image. i love the soft and abstract feel of the overall scene. i love the soft light falling across the boulders. i love the shadows from the trees. i love the shadow cascading behind the boulder and rocks in the foreground. i love the leading line created as you follow the foreground rocks and boulder to the curve rounding over other covered rocks. i love the subtle sparkles seen in the snow. i love the slight presence given off that animals have tracked through the yard. while we are in the suburbs, we have seen deer, turkeys, even a fox and a coyote among the more common wildlife species we have. one last, but not least, thing i love about this image is something that requires you to have a bit of a creative mindset. if you tilt your head to the left side, you might see that there is a face in the image. where the snow did not cover a portion of the two rocks, they look like eyes. the large snow-draped boulder is the nose. as the aforementioned leading line curves to the right and off the image, it looks like the right side of the face. go ahead, tilt your head and see if you see what i see! that face alone is a simple pleasure that brings a smile to my face.

this image was a result of a simple pleasure. simply sitting at the picture window, watching what transpires in the setting sun, brings me joy and peace. i am in my own little world. we all need our own little world of simple pleasures. what is yours? if you don't have one, try to figure out what that might look like. in an increasingly noisy, complex and divisive world, a simple pleasure becomes our way to put all that aside for a bit.

if you are so inclined, i'd love to hear two things from you as a reader. first, i'd love to hear your thoughts on this image. i'm always interested in reactions from people when i post images as to whether they like it or not. try to include some specifics as to why you do or do not like this image.

second, share what is a simple pleasure for you if you have one. in doing so, we might be able to help jumpstart those trying to figure out what is a simple pleasure they might enjoy.

thanks for reading this blog! i hope you enjoyed it. who knows, maybe you think of my blogs as one of your simple pleasures! what an honor if that was an end result for you! please feel free to share this blog with others that you know would enjoy reading it. i'd love to have others join in every time i post a new blog.

that's all for this time and i'll see you again next time with "more images from a quiet world"!

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