Iron & Ivy

“We rest; A dream has power to poison sleep.
We rise; One wandering thought pollutes the day.
We feel, conceive, or reason; laugh or weep,
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away;
It is the same: for, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of departure still is free.
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but mutability!”
― Mary Shelley
, Frankenstein

I helped my mom and dad with a yard sale yesterday. Though certainly not what I would call a good time, it did provide an interesting opportunity for observation. As clothing, housewares and — frankly — pure junk exchanged ownership, I pondered the mutability of these objects. Going off to new homes with people as diverse as the objects themselves, these things — these man-made creations — have no awareness nor care for the change. Instantly, they adapt. How unlike us they are! — creations in which there is a keen awareness of change most often rooted in fear or denial. We are fortunate, so very blessed, to have been granted by our creator the liberty to make our own decisions regarding how we adapt to change. We have the power to decide whether change will be a catalyst for new growth or to inanimately remain the same — like a lifeless old spoon in a new drawer.

"Iron & Ivy", Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/7.1 at 1/200 sec., 45mm

“Iron & Ivy”, Nikon D800, ISO 640, f/7.1 at 1/200 sec., 45mm

Photographing people, places, pets and ponderings.

Booking family, personal, business and pet portrait sittings throughout Central Florida

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Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
Four-score Men and Four-score more,
Could not make Humpty Dumpty what he was before.
      — Samuel Arnold, Juvenile Amusements, 1797

I am a few days early for a new year’s eve message, but today’s photo prompts me to get on with it. As I was walking along a sidewalk downtown, I came upon an egg that had fallen out of a nest built on a street light above. The sun had dried out the splattered yolk and a few ants scurried about the broken shell, feasting on misfortune. It struck me as a fitting reflection and symbol of the year that now comes to a close.

Despite the many advances in GLBT rights, I will forever equate 2013 to loss, destruction, pain and death. It is the year that shattered my life of happiness with James, watching him so cruelly and horrifyingly being eaten alive by cancer. Like a new and long-hoped-for egg, we embarked on the adventure of marriage on July 29 – after 21 years together – only to have that monumental accomplishment tossed out and splattered across the sidewalk a month-and-a-half later. Now, I sit alone in a nest that echoes with emptiness while hell taunts me with thoughts of what was and what never will be.

Goodbye, 2013 – and good riddance! I pray that 2014 will be a year that holds some hope of starting to heal from the experience this egg and I have shared. Perhaps my hopes are tainted by knowing all-too-well how Humpty Dumpty turned out.

"Eggsistential" [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/350 sec., 85mm

“Eggsistential” [Click the image to enlarge/reduce its size.] Nikon D800, ISO 320, f/2.0 at 1/350 sec., 85mm
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Because They Are Family

If you have never known the experience of owning a cat or dog, you’ve missed out on one of the most rewarding stewardship opportunities available to man. A pet that is loved and cared for will show you unconditional love and trust while bringing you endless joy in return. The relationship that forms between man and beast is not random, it is a gift of intelligent design; a demonstration of the cycle of giving upon which all life depends. On the other hand, the loss of a pet can cause grief one unfamiliar with the experience may not understand or even be able to comprehend.

A recent stroll through an unfamiliar cemetery in town led to the discovery of a wonderful memorial garden dedicated to our furry friends. I did not know then that in just a couple of days, I would be saying goodbye to Seamus MacKitty, so in hindsight it seems kind of fitting that I had this preparatory opportunity to reflect on the significance pets can have in our lives.

I was touched as I looked around and read the epithets, name plaques and some of the beautiful and even whimsical sculptures people had placed in remembrance of animals that had become, without question, part of “the family.” In some cases, no doubt, these beloved creatures were the only family the people who loved them and placed these markers knew. Just think about that for a moment before you read on…

I have a couple of friends who have also had to recently face the loss of a pet. Though we sorrow, we recognize how fortunate – how blessed – we have been to have them as part of our lives. We recognize that they have enriched our days and expanded our hearts. We think of the times they brought us so much joy, of the smiles they so often drew across our faces. As pet owners, we are unashamed of our love for a “dumb beast” because we know there is no such thing.

Having beheld, we have become changed.

I’ll close this post with a link to one of my favorite songs from artist Peter Gabriel, “I Grieve”, from his (brilliant) 2002 album “Up”. While written in tribute to the events of 9/11, it is a poignant statement of grief that briskly stirs the emotions of my heart.

The Ghost of Thanksgivings Passed

People crying
growing old,
feeling lost
and not so bold.

Moving onward
through the years,
missing family, friends,
and shedding tears.

Though our age
may make us wise
we still lose hope
as loved ones die.

Friends pass on
and loneliness burns
as we face Life
and Death in turn.