knee deep in weeds

a personal photo journal

you are what you do

“The Winter Solstice is the time of ending and beginning, a powerful time -- a time to contemplate your immortality. A time to forgive, to be forgiven, and to make a fresh start. A time to awaken.”
- Fredrick Lenz

i sit and listen to the rain, the kind of rain that falls heavy and wet;
the kind you don’t run in, but rather walk slowly, for running only
gives the large droplets momentum and one becomes
drenched, opposed to just soaked. . .

i spend the day doing laundry and packing; getting ready to head up north,
to spend Christmas with our kids. nostalgia plays around with my emotions
this time of year, and i miss my mom and dad. i miss my oldest son,
and i miss those parts of myself which were at one time, more carefree and laid back.
today i am relentless, and unwavering especially when i am taking care of myself.
i have worked hard to make friends with this new woman, and slowly we are both growing stronger.

i like her.

i step outside to let the dog out. i watch the birds scatter
as he chases them in the wet grass, until something else catches his eye.
i am reminded how winter has a dark and somewhat dreary beauty to it,
most of it accompanied by the cadence of rainfall.
i miss the snow of my childhood which reflected the sounds of winter so clearly;
giving them sharp clarity; while the whiteness provided renewed cleansing.
the rain muffles most sounds; the wet leaves underfoot are nothing more than a cushion of
compost now, absorbing much of the noise around me.
i have learned however, that rain can also be renewing and cleansing if one
has the proper rain gear . . . which i do.

lately i have been waking just a little after four most mornings, almost like clockwork.
i lay there, cozy and warm and wait for the soft sound of a far off train whistle to drift in
through our open window. this time of year, i allow it to carry me into the season,
then, as it fades i roll over and settle back into sleep. on the mornings when the rain drowns
out the sound, i feel a bit cheated.

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tomorrow we will pack up the dog, a few presents, and our memories of past Christmases.
we will head up to be with some of our kids. my heart, like the Grinches, will grow two sizes,
and i will relax and let them take charge. i will slip away on Christmas day to call my sister,
to remember mom and dad, and to share bits and pieces of our day. i will try texting
my oldest, but not get my hopes up. instead i will bask in the balm of love,
and be grateful and full of gladness.

“When you die, it’s done, the chance is gone. So when you live? When you live, make it all. Don’t wait for the rain to stop. Climb out of your tent with your mind engaged and your senses ablaze and let rain pour into you. Remember: you are not who you think you are. You are what you do. Be the kindness of soft rain. Be the beauty of light behind a tall fir. Be gratitude. Be gladness.”
- Katheleen Dean Moore

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life is good. all of it is good.
i wish you joy, love, gladness, and moments to remember,
take it all in, every last drop . . .

Xo. Cathy

the moon

“Inside each of us resides the truth, I began, the absolute truth. But sometimes the truth is hidden in a hall of mirrors. Sometimes we believe we are viewing the real thing,
when in fact we are viewing a facsimile, a distortion.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

the past couple of weeks have been full of sugar, flour, butter,
and parchment paper. resulting in so many cookies in the freezer
i am left dumbfounded. i bake to keep busy, for reasons that are
unclear to me at first. all the while knowing we can’t possibly eat them all.

i bake like i did when the boys were home; something i have not done
in years. and i ponder why? and while the stack in the freezer grows,
my camera sits idle on my desk; the battery dead,
and the charger undisturbed inside my camera bag.
my camera tugs at me every time i walk into my office, and yet i leave it, over and over
again. shutting the door with intention, and feeling as if i am working on breaking a bad habit.

i have bounced all over the map this past year, trying different
rituals and practices to bring calm, peace and meaning into my life.
it would be funny, if it were not so heartbreaking. i scold myself
for being so paralyzed that i can’t seem to move. i make lists
instead of doing, i feel stuck and confused and try on new personas
in hopes of breaking down the make-believe cage i have erected around myself.
i worry that life is becoming crippling and i see there are ways
i have become incapacitated. i am alarmed.

so i bake . . .

i mull over the possibility that i use my camera as a crutch, something i count on too much, and
i wonder who i think i am to blog here, to have something worthy to say.
in just one day my elusive words are misconstrued by a close friend and praised by another.
i freeze up, panic a bit, and choose to just turn and walk away, before i spin out of control.

i also know enough to understand i need to do something.

i lean into my life by taking charge, starting with an important email.
i put away the self-help books and reconsider my random “i think i will try this now “
rituals. and in a couple of weeks or so i feel myself coming around.
i put away the sugar, flour and butter along with the parchment paper, and
i plug in my charger. i watch the light start blinking as the battery
falls snuggling into place. i turn and leave the room to let it fully charge,
anticipating the feel of my camera in my hands.

i lean into my life with full understanding that i am worth it;
that i don’t need to compromise or back away.

“Many of us have convinced ourselves that compromise is necessary to achieve our goals, that all of our goals are not attainable so we should eliminate the extraneous, prioritize our desires, and accept less than the moon.”
― Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain


i decide i won’t accept anything less than the moon . . .


have a beautiful rest of your week,
Xo. Cathy

catching my breath

“I love this life. I feel like I am always catching my breath and saying, ‘Oh! Will you look at that?’ Photography has been my way of bearing witness to the joy I find in seeing the extraordinary in ordinary life. You don’t look for pictures. Your pictures are looking for you.”
– Harold Feinstein

i spend time this week thinking about intentions
and in the process become curious about what the opposite might be
aimless, neglect and avoidance come to mind, and
i think of the old Crosby Stills Nash and Young song;
Helplessly Hoping, and yet that is not quite right either

“Photography is a love affair with life.”
– Burk Uzzle

i sort through last years photos, for a post on ViewFinders, and am not surprised
when a tiny vase of flowers, or a photo of something on the side of the road
carries me right back to the time and place it was shot

“No place is boring if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and a pocket full of unexposed film.”
– Robert Adams

(or a fully charged battery and an empty photo card)
will next year be the year i pull out my old film camera
if even just for one role??

i think about what it is that draws me into this medium
and while i can’t pinpoint it exactly, i know it makes me excited,
sometimes makes my heart skip a beat,
and makes time fly. . . i learn to pay attention,
over and over again

“Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected.”
– Robert Frank

some might say it takes away from the walk with the dog
or the family gathering,
but i would ask then. . .
does a good meal take away from an evening with good friends?
it only enhances it, intensifying the experience

“Taking pictures is like tiptoeing into the kitchen late at night and stealing Oreo cookies.”
– Diane Arbus

the rains come in earnest and i will need to seek pockets of light
here and there, and make friends with artificial light
and grainy photos. . . which in itself
sets the mood, and marks the day

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
– Dorothea Lange

yes, you do!

We spent some time with our favorite photos of the year over on ViewFinders this week. I would love for you to pop over and take a look. It was no small task for each of us to narrow our favorites of 2018 down to just one!


have a beautiful weekend. . .
Xo. Cathy