From humble beginnings
- we all journey
Part of me wishes that I had taken professional photography courses, but sometimes being self-taught focuses a person on what they are trying to do rather how to do it.
I think I was always a naturalist, born in Limerick but raised raised just outside in a rural setting and away from the city lights.
I always had some kind of camera, but film was expensive within my little world and so I didn't make it into anything experimental. I was really just taking pictures for family and friends and sharing scenes and encounters along the way that I was fortunate enough to witness.
When I moved to Florida and found myself suddenly surrounded by all this natural life and beauty, I began to view a camera as an essential tool that always traveled with me.
When my Dad had a horrendous accident in 2012, to where he spent the last two years of his life unable to speak or use his hands, my immediate mission became to try to channel some of my access to wildlife and the natural world into his hospital room through printed picture. Walgreens loved me as for the next couple of years I printed thousands of pictures …. Each week sending out a letter with pictures of some trail or something of the previous weekend.
My Mom would visit him daily and once or twice a week would read my letters to him while he thumbed through the images and saw the world through my eyes.
After he died, I continued the printing and writing and my Mom became the welcome recipient of whatever I could unearth and stick in a letter. Again, thousands of images made it across the Atlantic, accompanied annually by calendar and book of my favorite shots of the year.
It was a feverish activity that took on more intensity as she too succumbed to old age and became a nursing home patient for the last nine or ten months of her own life. We would often talk about the trails and the pictures that were in the letters and when she too died a couple of years back, there was an awful temptation to stop dead in my tracks as the very purpose of my trails appeared to have died with her.
It took a few weeks and a scattering of ashes and I found myself returning to the same trails and visiting with them both with each step along the way.
They often share the twilight moment with me when colors define the gap between heaven and earth. They gasp along with me when a hawk or eagle pulses close enough to me that I can feel the air beneath their wings. They lean with me as I squint into the inner-world of a beautiful flower that still retains the drops from an earlier rain, or admire the dew-covered web as it glistens in the newborn day.
At times I may find myself in solitary stroll along a trail, but the truth is, I am never alone.