Seeking Refuge

It was a challenging week at the end of a challenging month at the end of a challenging quarter and I found myself repeatedly going to the lake each morning hoping to find some solace.

And I did.

I went there four mornings this week and while none were classic photo-op sunrises, it really didn’t matter. The purpose of each visit was to step away from the reality of things just long enough to breathe again.

From the engulfing cloud of the first morning to the fog of this morning, each day presented a different feel even though I was effectively going to the same place.

I got some decent shots along the way and I have placed them below this blog, beginning with the first day and ending with this morning’s views. I hope you enjoy the different moods.

This morning as I drove home, I mused over how such different environments can still have the same soothing effects. And it dawned on me that it wasn’t so much the place that I was going to, as the place I was leaving behind.

Sometimes, we can find ourselves engaged in a heavy struggle that saps our energies and makes us question the value of living. We wonder if life would be better off without us and whether those we love would be better served by our departure.

But while we stay submerged in the issues that are drowning us, our ability to answer those type of questions is severely limited.

There is a reason why phrases like” not being able to see the forest for the trees” serve to remind us that we occasionally need to step back and take a longer view of life.

It would be nice to be able to take an objective view but frankly I don’t think anyone is capable of taking an objective view of their own life. Our own lives are the very definition of subjective.

But by stepping away for just a little while, we can regroup a little, refresh our soul, and brace ourselves for the next wave of attacks.

We live on the front line of our own lives and even WW1 soldiers in the trenches periodically got rotated out before returning again. Otherwise they ran a very real risk of suffering shell-shock and becoming largely incapacitated by the experience.

We can also become victims of shell shock in our own daily battles, if we don’t occasionally take refuge from life and indulge ourselves with a little departure from reality.

We don’t have to completely depart from reality, just depart from our own reality. I mean, I am not suggesting we start dancing with pink elephants among the daisies. But finding a quiet spot away from our own reality where life gives us a very different experience … that’s the real escape I am talking about.

Ever since I discovered a love for the camera years ago, it has been a fabulous tool for me to dig my way out of the trenches.

I learned long ago, in picture-taking, that the only important piece of what is in front of us is the piece that falls in frame. To the left or right, is irrelevant. It is why I can find a beautiful moment standing beside a dump, but focused on a gentle flower of some sort.

But we all have different escape tools and whatever yours might be, dust it off and use it.

Maybe it is a fishing rod, a butterfly net, or just a long dark cup of coffee. It doesn’t matter, they are equally effective as long as they take us away from the trenches.

None of us win this war in the end but the life we live should not be defined by the time we spent in the trenches. It should be defined by the moments we enjoyed away from them.

… just a thought.