Wow, what a year! To say it was a roller coaster ride, or any other bad analogy, would be an understatement.
Early in the year I left my job to "pursue other interests." My goal was to do more writing, more photography, find my inner artist and maybe figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Instead I wrapped myself in politics and went down the depressing drain of trying to fix things. Spoiler alert: I'm not very good at it.
While I have heard some of the most amazing, life affirming, frustrating, glorious, and tragic stories . . .
And met some of the most extraordinary people. . .
And participated in events far beyond my expectations . . .
It was not sustainable. (Self care is seriously underrated!) I discovered the cold hard truth that I do not have the capacity for this long term. While I remain engaged, and will continue to support my sisters and brothers out there fighting day in and day out, I have stepped back to find my inner happy. I need more moments of Zen.
Since this is the end of the year, and time for reflection, I decided to look back on my year in another light. To see other "wins" as it were. I am sure I have grown and learned things outside of politics, right? I simply need to review and examine this year from a different perspective. This is where photo archives come in handy. As I review my archives I realize that I have accomplished a lot more than I thought I did.
This year I had another great trip to Eastern State Penitentiary (thank you Carla!). It is a must see historic place in Philadelphia.
This year also treated me with an outing accompanied by Karen Commings who came to Philadelphia to do some street shooting. This is not something I normally do, neither is is it something with which I am very comfortable, so this was new and fun and an overall great day out!
My first photo tour this year was to The Palouse in Western Washington. A place that sometimes defies description. This was a special trip for me as I was able to convince my husband to join me to learn iPhone Photography. So it was a win, win, win! I was able to tour a new place, share it with Andrew, and increase my iPhoneography skills. What an incredible place and what a glorious time!
A year would not be complete without at least ONE adventure with "Lucy and Ethel!" This summer we did a little weekend away and checked out Howell Living History Farm. If you have not been and are in the area you should give it a look. Especially if you have children who like animals. From there we did a wander around Historic Bucks County. We ran into an historic place, that I did not document so I can't tell you what it was or where it was, but we were able to see some great old structures circa 1776. Overall, our adventure was more about two gals out and about being goofy more than picking up our cameras, which is really what it should be about, right?
Another summer solstice brought us Art All Night in Trenton. This is becoming an annual volunteer gig for me. The Trenton Photo club, of which I am still a member, sends out a number of volunteer photographers to help document this amazing night. And it is what it says! 24 hours of art, music and entertainment. The daylight hours are family friendly. And the overnight hours are whatever they are. (It's way too late for me so I know not what happens at that time.) From the sublime to the ridiculous . . . it is all good fun!
My second photo tour was to "The Wilds" in Ohio. So cool!! This previously strip-mined land has been turned into thousands of acres of land for wildlife conservation by Jack Hanna (you know him as the guy that brings wild animals onto TV shows like Johnny Carson and Good Morning America . . .) We were able to get into a tour that brought us up close and personal to Giraffes, Rhinos, and other wildlife not normally seen outside of zoo enclosures. From there we went to Amish country and surrounds It was a wonderful and unique tour. Again, a lot of iPhone photography and fun exploring this new medium to make art. A great tour that brought all kinds of new and fun into my life.
And the final tour of the year was Cape May, New Jersey. I lived in New Jersey for 10+ years and never found myself in Cape May. Now that I have found it I'm never going to let it go!! What an adorable ocean side town. We explored the sun rise, sun set, and what the ocean looks like with 40mph morning winds. We also got to see old abandoned cars, trucks, and gas stations. Lucky us, the town of Cape May was getting decked out for Christmas. It was a lovely outing, complete with the infamous Carla, and a cure for what ails me.
I look back now and realize what a great year it was. I have learned so much about myself, my community, and my world. Added to the internal I have learned new things in photography and art. I have discovered methods to express myself. As one of my mentors, John Barclay likes to say, "find those things that make your heart sing." I think I am moving in that direction. But mostly I have learned these things.
Greed is despicable. I will choose sharing.
Destruction is ugly. I will choose beauty.
Hate is exhausting. I will choose love.
May your 2018 be filled with love.