Arboretum

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Looking With Our Better Eyes

IMG_1785I was just reading a piece I have in draft, one I never posted here.  It was a general rant about how much of what we read, see, are offered to take in via news and social media, is negative, derisive, and ugly.

I’m not going to post it.

I still agree with what I wrote.  How I’m tired of the negative, how I yearn for the positive. But I’m too old to be on the playground, and that’s what it feels like.  It feels like what it was to be out on recess, caught in the middle of some ridiculous name calling fight.  How those fights seemed to escalate into the absurd and how the passion for those ludicrous arguments seemed to escalate as well.  Escalation turned ugly, pushing turned to shoving, sometimes turning to blows.  It’s exhausting.

I want a revolution of thought, I’m getting bogged down without one.  I want kindness, ideas, offered solutions, compassion, a recognition of simple human dignity.  I don’t think I’m the only one.  I think most of us feel this way, even as we sometimes find ourselves participating in those playground-like antics.

What if, for a day, we posted only something positive.  The old adage, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.  If that’s you, post a photo of a sunrise or a cute puppy, or your grandchildren instead of that negative thing you are about to post.

What would that feel like?

I get up, I make my way to the french press and the tea kettle, I get my steaming mug of freshly made delicious coffee, I empty the dishwasher, I fold the laundry, I open my laptop to check email, then I head to my news feeds and finally Facebook.  I’m shocked to see news articles about new inventions and good deeds and how even though I may not agree with this politicians views on this or that thing, they have good intentions, or are good in this one area, or they’re smart.  I see that everyone seems to be posting how happy they are about this or that event, or friendship, or job opportunity, or the tasty hot meal they had last night.  I read about how this guy, running for this office, had this idea to solve this problem.  How interesting.  I hear that even though Democrats and Republicans and Tea Party people are staunch, they are fair, and understanding, and compassionate toward those who don’t agree with them.  I see kindness and forgiveness and goodwill toward fellow humans.  I see us disagreeing with respect.  I see sharing and helping and love.

Life is a matter of perception.  It always is.  We can look and see terrible things in our opponents, in the government, in each other, or we can look and see that even though we don’t agree it doesn’t make either of us a monster.  It doesn’t make either of us an idiot.  From there we can have reasonable discussions, we can listen to each other, we can gain understanding, and we can start to move forward, freed from the quagmire of distrust and finger-pointing and nastiness.  There is something to like in almost everyone.  Just as there is something to dislike.  We see what we want to see.

We can see the negative in things, in life, in each other, and we can dwell there.  If that’s the case, that’s what we will notice, that’s what we will pick up on first.  The problems, the differences, the ways in which things are not right.  Or we can see the positive in things, in life, and in each other.  We can dwell there.  In that place there’s forgiveness, problem-solving, things to build on, there’s hope.

It’s up to each of us to decide.  I’d just like it if I could wave the magic wand and for one day we helped without criticism, we offered opinions without disparaging someone else, and we talked about solutions with kindness, instead of venom and animosity.

I believe, with all my heart, each of us is doing the best we can in the world.  Making our way the best we know how.  Sometimes what we do is not that great, and most times if it’s not that great it’s because we faltered, or we were never taught a better way, or we ran into something that spiraled out of control.  We don’t know anyone else’s story.  We can’t presume to know.  We also can’t presume to think our ideas, our solutions, our way of doing things is the only way, or even the right way.  There are many paths to a good solution, there are many “right” ways.  Yes, there are wrong ways too, but we must make people feel safe in order to help them change.  We must make them feel listened to, just as we like to be listened to.  We can’t bully, or push, or strong arm people into our way of thinking.  Most of us hate being told what we should be doing, but we don’t mind being talked to, respected for our opinions, and offered other opinions in return.  We don’t mind a good chat.  We all feel we should be respected.  That doesn’t change with position or ideology or background.  We all want to be respected as human beings, and we all should be.

I don’t expect that we’ll all hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but wouldn’t it be great if we went at things with that in our hearts.  If we were open, loving, and kind.  If we all realized we were in it together.  Facing it together.  Because we are.  None of us are in it alone.  Everything we do, small and large, effects other people, and spreads like a ripple out from ourselves.

I can only start with me.  So this is me saying to me that I’ll try to be more present, more aware of what I say, how I say it, what I put out into the world.  I’ll picture the faces of friends and family, I’ll try to act with hope and kindness and understanding.  I will try not to judge.  I’ll try to be fair.  I will try to be a better listener.

Sure, we have a lot of problems, but there are also so many things that are good and beautiful out there.  Look around.  See them.  Feel what that feels like to see them.  To use a line from The Abyss, a movie I love, “We all see what we want to see. Coffey looks and he sees Russians. He sees hate and fear. You have to look with better eyes than that.”

Look with your better eyes.  Look with them, and see.

Still

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Scappoose Bay

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Water Colors

Sometimes shooting a great photograph is a matter of paying attention and getting lucky.

I was in Nevada walking the docks at Lake Mead and I happened to notice this amazing reflection in the water of a sign on the side of a building. It looked like a weird painting and I wondered if I could get the shot to actually reflect what I was seeing.

Paying attention and luck is sometimes the recipe for interesting photography.

Photo Hunt – Painted

Water Colors, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

This looks almost like a painting, but isn’t. It’s a photo I took at Lake Mead, Nevada. Reflection of a boathouse in the water.

Looking Behind – Photo Hunt – Backwards

Looking Behind, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Saturday’s Photo Hunt – A Day Late – Near

Road Trip – Day Five

cloud gate

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Under The Bean



Under The Bean, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Still Reflection

Still Reflection, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Taken with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT.

Looking

Looking, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Just Karen and I being silly. Turned out kinda cool though. Me, reflected in Karen’s sunglasses, taking a photo of the reflection of Bamburgh.

Here Clammy Clammy Clammy

 

Here Clammy Clammy Clammy, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

We limited yesterday… thanks to the fine professional stylings of our very knowledgeable and fast digging comrades. You guys rock. Or maybe I should say… you guys clam.

Hanging Out

Hanging Out, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Riley loves to hang out the window when we drive anywhere. Weston does as well, but she is a full body girl. We have to hold onto her collar to make sure she stays safe. It was raining pretty good on Sunday, the day we drove home from the beach, and still she wanted to get her head out there. It’s hard to make out, but those are Weston’s feet standing in front of her. I was inside, somewhere, getting something. The little family was waiting for me to come back out to them.

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

This and the photos that follow were taken yesterday on Sauvie Island. We had a really nice time wandering about out there. I’d recommend it.

Derelict

Derelict, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Not sure what the deal was with this building, it was empty, but had these huge rusty pipes coming up out of it toward and then under the road. Went to a couple of big valve type things on the other side of the road. Also don’t know what’s with what looked like some sort of elaborate fish traps crossing this body of water, but all told it made a cool photo.

Little McNary Lake

Little McNary Lake, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

I took this yesterday on Sauvie Island while we were roaming about. I think it’s Little McNary Lake. Not completely sure, but mostly sure.

Glass

Glass, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Took this one yesterday on Sauvie Island. It was an absolutely gorgeous day.

Taken with the Canon Digital Rebel XT.

Checking His Look

 

Checking His Look, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

 

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The Marina, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Marina at Scappoose Bay, Oregon.

Taken with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT.

Buoyed

Bouyed, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Keeping the big boats moored requires a lot of line and several good buoys.

Luminous

Luminous, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

Can’t you just feel those negative ions flowing at you from this photo? They are strong… mighty… and completely relaxing.

Botanical Beach

Botanical Beach, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

As we wandered along the trail of Juan de Fuca we eventually made it to the Botanical Beach. This place was amazing. There were huge pools sunken in the rock. Some several feet deep and loads of wild life living in these pools. Pretty spectacular and like nothing I’d ever seen.

The Empress

The Empress, originally uploaded by Tokenhippygirl.

After getting into Victoria and finding our downtown hotel we decided to walk down to the water (not far from where we were staying) to check out the sights. This is the famous Empress Hotel. We didn’t do the high tea thing (we had Weston with us and even though he’s cute and quite the little gentleman, we didn’t think he’d be allowed), but we did get some great shots of it, both day and night. Very cool place.