Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Sibling Assignment #159: Into The Wild

My sister gave the sibling assignment this last week. I am a bit late posting. "Pick a movie you have watched recently, and talk about how that movie changed the way you look at the world". I haven't seen many movies lately , so I am responding to a movie I saw about a year ago. You can find Bill's here. I will connect Carol's when it is completed.

I read the book "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer after years of being told it was one of those books I should read. It sat on my shelf collecting dust until one day I pulled it down and never put it down much until I finished it. (Let me go on record here that I love Jon Krakauer's nonfiction works. There is not a book of his that hasn't moved me, made me think, taught me about life, or exposed me to a view of the world I hadn't ever thought about. )

As soon as I finished the book I watched the film. I have this thing about wanting to read a book first before I watch the film. I am pleased I read the book first when it came to "Into the Wild.  The book and film did change the way I look at the world.

"The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun."-Christopher McCandless

The film "Into the Wild" is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his journey of extreme living as he left behind all material possessions and found people and places that changed his life as he prepared for his goal of hiking into the wilds of Alaska. Leo Tolstoy, Jack London, and Henry David Thoreau were his heroes. He wanted to find his place in the world by immersing himself into nature. He didn't pick a pond like Thoreau. He didn't have the experience in the wilds that London had. He was a romantic and an idealist. He took on the challenging, unforgiving wild land of Alaska alone and without much knowledge of this unforgiving state. He found a bus to live in. He ate rice and found food in the wild. He kept journals of his travels, the people he met  and his life living on the bus as he took on  this difficult journey. He wanted to be freed from money, his parents, and all that bothered him in the world. He wanted to feel free.

Why did this movie move me? I admire any person that stands up for their beliefs in such a strong way. I am not adventurous. I am not a person that would walk into the wild for a purpose. I live safe. I am not a rebel. Christopher McCandless was all that I am not, yet I grew to understand him and why he did what he did.  It moved me.

The film also helped me understand how the events of life that are out of a person's  control can send a person on a spiral of discovery as he/she tries to understand what happened. The actions of parents, friends, a sister, strangers met along the way can all impact the journey that follows. Leaving all those people behind can further impact that discovery.

Thank you Sean Penn for taking the book that the events had already been played out in real life and making it into a film that stayed true to the book and brought Chris alive even more that his words in the book. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sibling Assignment #158: It Is Not Just a Camera

I gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write how photography has enriched your life." I will link the other sibllings' posts when done.

“You don't make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” 
― Ansel Adams
I really love this quote by Adams. This quote is a reminder of how photography has enriched my life. Photo images are a way of combining old black and white photos in the album at Mom's house with comparable digital images taken more recently to enrich our family history from photo album pages, to antique picture frames, to digital slideshows.

Words in books inspire me to reflect on a sense of place. Whether is it Norman Maclean, Terry Tempest Williams, or Kim Barnes I want to be where they are, I want to capture the images, and bring places to life. I love to study a specific location, look for shadows and light, and take pictures of  a moment in the place along a river, in a meadow, or when the sun is peeking through the clouds.

I can think of a hundred musical arrangements that evoke strong emotions inside me, motivating me to capture images with my camera to match that. I loved it when our sibling assignments in the past included creating photo slideshows with background music. When you string a series of photos together the combining of music is just natural. Here is an example of one put together a few years ago.
 Most of my photos are taken of places vs. people. The only reason for that is the people I love and want to photograph are not around often. When I surround myself with people I love, I can't stop taking photos.

It is not just about the camera. That is why I truly love photography. It is all this: the pictures, words, music, and people of my life. 

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sibling Assignment #157: The Pinterest Friends I Have Never Met

Brother Bill gave the sibling assignment this week. "Write a piece about Pinterest.  What do you value about Pinterest?  How has it made a difference in your life?  Can you tell a story about a particular thing you did at a particular time that went really well because you are a part of Pinterest?  On the flip side, is there anything about Pinterest that disappoints you?  " I will link the siblings' posts when they are posted.

When I began blogging I was soon connected with a circle of friends that shared common interests. One had taught in my same school, but moved on before I met her. We share interests in recipes, decor, photography, and life in general in eastern Washington. Another also grew up in another part of Idaho and we learned we shared a love for vintage art, photography, writing, and blogging. Another moved from Oregon and we love to share books we love and recipes. Another teaches like me and has moved to the west recently and we share the love of literature, teaching, family, and photography. There were northern Idaho friends.  There are more online friends that share similar interests. The other common thread with all these women is we have never met. 

We met as blogging buddies, but now we are on Pinterest together. This is one thing I love about Pinterest. Not only do I have another way of connecting with all these online friends, but I learn more about what they like in the world of Pinterest. When any of the members of  this group of friends posts a recipe, book they have read, or a home decor idea I jump right on it because I know I will like it. I repin what they pin. This has been one joy of Pinterest.

 It has been my dream that one day I could meet all these friends face to face. They have inspired me, challenged me, and made me think. They have shared recipes, tips for the home, photography inspiration, and book recommendations. They had been there as kindred spirits and I have often appreciated them and needed them. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sibling Assignment #156: Hearts, Flowers, and Good Old-Fashioned Love

Sister Carol gave the sibling assignment this week which was timely for Valentine week-end. "Think back to celebrating Valentine's Day in elementary school, and share about any memory or memories you may have from one or more of those celebrations, and how it made you feel." Bill posted his here  and Carol here.Like brother Bill, I am going to "go my own way" a bit on this assignment.

Valentine's Day has always been my favorite holiday. When I was in school I loved taking time to pick out special valentines for each classmate on my list each year. I was enthralled with decorating my special valentine box or envelope that sat or hung on my desk. Teachers involved us in creative art projects that included doilies, hearts, and cupids. I found one at my mother's house this week-end, created in second grade.  We sang "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" in music and copied famous love poems in class.

When I  became a teacher I loved the holiday even more.  What was better than a room filled with pink and red art projects, silly love poems,  heart shaped cookies, conversation hearts, decorated envelopes, sappy valentines, and boxes of candy? That time around Valentine's Day was that time when students were so sweet to each other. It was a day everyone was included. Everyone wore smiles on their faces as they carefully read each Valentine. There were blushing faces, shy glances, and laughter. I did sentence writing activities with the goofy sayings on conversation hearts. We created homemade cards that students could take home to their mothers. Good feelings and kind thoughts were in the air.

Outside of school I even love Valentine's Day. When the stores fill with heart shaped boxes of candy I always love observing the older gentleman that carefully picks out the perfect box for his wife. Friday a man pushed his walker up to the card rack at the grocery store and read each card message carefully to find a special one for his wife. I couldn't help but wonder how many times he had done this. I also loved observing the innocent teenage boy shyly asking for help from the worker in the florist department as he attempted to pick the right rose, teddy bear, and balloon. As he exited ahead of me, he seemed to be walking on air.

The best part of Valentine's Day is the explosion of flowers everywhere. It doesn't matter if you walk into the finest florist shop or the gas station convenience store, flowers are everywhere. The colors, arrangements, and scents surround you with a reminder of kind words, a way to show love, and the message that spring is around the corner.
When I returned to my childhood home this week-end I told my own sweetheart not to worry about celebrating ourselves, We focused on Mom with all my favorite Valentine traditions. We carried in an arrangement of flowers, her favorite candy, and a valentine card signed and sealed in love. When family gathered there were more flowers, Red Velvet wine, strawberry dessert, and more valentines, Shelby and Annie even got special valentine treats. The house was brimming with good old-fashioned love and good will. My sister and mom were even dressed in valentine colors.

I can't wait until next year.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sibling Assignment #155:My Corner of the World

I gave the sibling assignment this week. You find Carol's here and Bill's here. My corner of the world is a beautiful one. Growing up I never traveled north of Spokane on Highway 395. It was not until I interviewed for a job in Inchelium the summer of 1994 that I saw any part of northeastern Washington. Discovering all of it has been pleasant surprise after pleasant surprise.

My corner of the world has a milder climate because we sit close to Lake Roosevelt. Because of the mild climate orchards surround the lake on both sides. In my corner of the world you can find lakes, rivers, streams, evergreens, waterfalls, and amazing views. I have discovered more than I ever expected.

My corner of the world brings the beauty of four seasons. I still love autumn the best, but each season has its own beauty. Today  the winter morning with the foggy mist and sun shining through was pretty.  When spring wildflowers bloom along the back roads there is nothing nicer. The clean lakes shimmering blue in the summer provide an invitation to jump in. Autumn shows a whole palette of new colors with orange, red, and yellow dominating.  Sunrises and sunsets are spectacular.
My corner of the world is quiet. We don't have a lot of traffic. You can visit lakes, campgrounds, and  streams nearby and not be overun with people. At night we may hear a dog or two bark or the coyotes further away, but mostly it is the sound of silence. So peaceful.

My corner of the world has helped me heal. The beautiful surroundings,wood fires, the changing seasons, and the quiet space have provided a place for me to fix a broken heart, grieve in quiet, fall in love again, enjoy Sunday drives, and read and write. I can even ride a free ferry.

I love my corner of the world.