Tag Archives: travel

today: go (somewhere).

“Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.”
-Louis L’Amour

Last night, over swordfish and orzo he prepared, we talk of life and of going, somewhere. This summer, so hot, seems to dash my spirit, time and again. I travel in the fall but had returned from a weekend away. Hurricane Irene caused my brother Josh and I to take a different trip than we’d expected: to Colorado instead of North Carolina. Collin hadn’t gone with me; he raced his bike. I was tired, having had an active weekend with Josh that looked like early mornings and yielded sore muscles. We ate, though, and I could see Collin’s face light up as he daydreamed out loud. This world, a playground, and we hear God’s invitation to participate in a word: explore.

I wish I had my camera to photograph the sureness on Collin’s face as he talked, for it mirrored something I know: going (somewhere, anywhere) widens the world, expands sight and shifts perspective. There. Is. More. I go on trips for a number of reasons: to see friends, to work, to participate in mission work, to do something different, to relax. This weekend I went to spend time with Josh and to get away. That was it. We found ourselves, though, strengthened and filled with anticipation and hope for the coming season. It was as if our hearts needed a bit of a reset, and we received it. Our everyday is not the whole of every day. There. Is. More.

It feels like a gift, this reminder.

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today: enter fall from stage left

“All is grace.”
-St. Therese of Lisieux

When I called Montana and Ontario home, the coming of fall meant bright summer days yielded to warm fall colors, sandals found themselves abandoned in the closet, exchanged for boots. I left a sweater and socks beside my bed at night and pulled them on before stumbling to the kitchen for coffee, as cold mornings and I do not get along. I dreaded the impending shift to winter while being utterly captivated by fall.

In Texas fall sneaks in with noticeably less grandeur, as the heat only cools to warm. Texas as home, though, has only changed the way I love fall. Fall means running shifts from nearly intolerable to enjoyable, and the miles s t r e t c h easily under my feet. I run the whole year to be ready for running in the fall.

Fall means travel North to see several sets of friends who have become like family to me as I’ve been privileged to document their changing lives photographically.

Fall means things get crazy with photography, weekends stacked on weekends of meeting clients and sharing their lives and helping them remember right now tomorrow. And then Thanksgiving comes, and Thanksgiving is the best day to be a kid in my family. We love Thanksgiving. We have much to be thankful for.

I guess I am writing all these words to say I am anticipating fall. It’s been quite a year. So much changed in the first half of the year that the summer passed in a blur of trips that provided time to sort out what life looks like now. It’s always seems like revelation to realize the steady Presence of grace occurs as rhythmically as the coming and going of the seasons, and each year wraps back around to fall time and again and it’s a time of year to be utterly captivated by life and all that it has to offer. That anticipation of the return of fall, I guess, is a hope and prayer- one part knowing and one part mystery- that all is grace.

tonight: wide-eyed, she recognized

“…and as they laughed and drank their wine, I wondered how much it costs to be rich in friends and how many years and stories and scenes it takes to make a rich life happen.”
-Donald Miller

wide-eyed, she recognized
the shape and contour and color
without understanding
the lack of words to be uttered
as the expectancy raised and lowered
chest breathing in air and out tension
as if story could be manicured
as if acceptance were ascension
wide-eyed, she recognized
this would cost everything
but without this resolve,
there would be no gain
this road, wide and now juxtaposes
a narrow gate, change

today: ready

“…Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.”
Mark Jenkins

It was a day that could be summed up like this: I am ready to go; I am willing to stay. That, I think, summarizes the journey of faith. The readiness heightens a paradoxical sense of both anticipation and impatience. The willingness makes concrete peace undefined by circumstance, which is where humanity lives best. Individually. Collectively.

Stories to come, but for now, just photos.

today: the best camera is the one that’s with you (and a travel day)

“The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
Chase Jarvis (um, not going to lie, my biggest photographer crush ever).

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
-Jack Kerouac

Travel days compose some of my best days.

Today, I joined the i-phone world, opening up lots of photographic possibilities without hauling a big camera around. On Saturday, February 28, it was my old 5d as I traveled home via the best airline after meeting my sweet Luci for the first time. Here are some photographs, all shot through one window or another.

Out the bus window:

Through Sea-Tac windows, waiting:

Through the airplane window:

And then, finally, home, where I discovered the pilot who flew me home is getting married this summer, and I am contracted to photograph his wedding. It was a great day.

tonight: fairhaven

i went to fairhaven
where i have walked
where i have run
where words have spilled
on pages, in talks
i took in some sights
while i waited around
while i looked and found
where words have spilled
in books, on screens
truth in scarcity while surety abounds
i went to fairhaven
where i stood alone
where i stood unknown
where words have spilled
to strangers, to friends
and i thought some pieces they did feel like home

today: when we were young

Grass to us is more ground than figure, a backdrop to more legible things in the landscape- trees, animals, buildings. It’s less a subject in its own right than a context.
-p184 The Omnivore’s Dillema, Michael Pollan

Whenever I get a bit of time with Carla, my bestie, we travel back in time a bit. This trip, with the arrival of her daughter, we have done more life in the present than past visits. Still, we have history, and the endless memories of people and place provide context for who we are today. We went places together back in the day: all over Poland and to Montana and Colorado. I went to California when she lived there. She visited Ontario when I lived there.

We have never lived in the same place for more than a couple of months, but we have forged a friendship around music, lattes, the gospel and and endless array of yummy meals. I can post the following photos, and they mean something to us that a handful of our friends relate to.

To everyone else, they are merely photos of a funny whittled man and a guitar. I look at them and see the story of two girls with matching coats greeting each other on a snowy sidewalk in the sleepy town of Lakeside, Montana (pop. 500). We barely broached conversation. Fast-forward six months, and these same two girls found themselves in Czecestochowa, Poland living in a flat. That summer we taught endless Bible studies and English classes and played music and walked the streets. We rode a lot of trains. We filled pages of our journals. And late at night, after an internet cafe ritual, we talked. And talked. And talked. Sometimes until the sun came up.

We were both on a huge learning curve in regards to our faith, and God put us in Poland at the same time, I think, so that we’d find each other along the way. We did.

I was in her wedding. She will be in mine. I said then that I would come when she had a baby. I would help out. I am here.

When I look at the way our respective stories have zig-zagged through the years, I am amazed at how consistently we picked up the phone and sent emails. We’ve mailed birthday gifts and Christmas boxes. And on days like today, when I found myself snuggled in with her two-week-old girl while she and Johnny, her rock-star-and-a-half hubby went on their first post-baby date, I know I belong here. Luci and I hung out while Johnny and Carla went out.

I ate; Luci slept; she woke; we rocked; she ate. My life expanded the moment she arrived to enfold this baby girl. Children do that to the people who love them. And I love Luci because she is, but it’s her mama’s presence in my life that affords me this little one.

Emily Dickenson wrote her friends were her estate. I write along these lines a lot, because I think our culture does not necessarily help us recognize the incredible wealth the right relationships bring. And I don’t know much, but I know this: in regards to people in my life, I am very, very rich.

I also know this: It so matters who we do life with.