One of my earliest memories is stalking Sebago Lake State Park. I had a small film camera, and I went down a wooded path alone looking for something worthy of a freeze frame. I was probably ten or eleven or something like that. The viewfinder was just beginning to give me eyes to see.
I’ve viewed the world with camera in hand ever since. Many of my most cherished moments involve me intentionally racing to rise before the sun in pursuit of stunning, untouched, unmatched light. Sometimes Ryan comes with me, and over the years he’s learned that silence must serenade these moments. But sometimes I go alone, stalking for something that catches my eye.
Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is easily one of my favorite places. One morning we watched two deer decidedly and tentatively traverse down a hill towards the just-risen sun. It was remarkable. Without my camera, I wouldn’t have been there.
When I traveled to Nepal in high school, I still used film. So I bought a lead container and filled it to the brim. I took photos by the roll-full, but my favorite images were from one morning just before we left. I rose early and went to eat. The cafe was closed, so with my camera in hand I walked and looked around. I saw people – beautiful people, living their very ordinary lives.
I clicked. It shuttered. I saw.
I recently read a wonderful book (One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp). It reminded me about life with seeking eyes. It reminded me about the beauty I see when I’m looking, the beauty found in the daily. It reminded me that sight is the beginning of thankfulness, of joy, of life.
I’m trying to be more aware of the beauty. Even when I can’t shutter an image with my camera, my brain can pause the moment, snap the neurons and connect my eyes to my heart, reminding me of the goodness right before me.
I see my son grooving to music. I see his delight at new pajamas. I see the full moon. I see my husband taking the time to make Bronson laugh when he straps him into the car seat. I see snowflakes meandering to the ground, swiveling like there’s no hurry. I see mountains and rivers and wildlife and people and babies and beauty.
And with those eyes of seeing, my heart becomes one of gratitude.