A month or so ago I was on a trip through the Missouri Ozarks with family. I’ve been trying to get stamps in my Missouri Centennial Passport. While on our way home we decided on a whim to swing up to Onondaga Cave State Park to get the stamp. We decided to go ahead and take the tour through the cave, which ended up being one of my favorite parts of the trip. These photos are from the reflecting pool and the lilypad room respectively.
Just a few random animal shots. The antelope was taken in Montana I think. I was riding with my brother-in-law who’s a truck driver. I captured it while we were driving. The eagle was in a field hear my grandma’s house in Wisconsin. The gull and mallards were taken at Willow River State Park in Wisconsin. And the nuthatch was taken at my home in Missouri.
Many times we associate an edge with a negative outcome; hair standing on end before a lightning strike or falling off the edge of a cliff. However, one might find that at the bottom of that cliff is a world of success, and one must take that leap of faith into the unknown. And that bolt of lightning may just unveil a grand revelation. You see, an edge is simply the outer limit of an object or area; a boundary. The only way society advances is by pushing that boundary. Edison said that AC power couldn’t be used, but Tesla pushed through and found a way. People said that man can’t fly, but Glenn Curtiss and the Wright Brothers proved them wrong. An edge represents the limit of our safety. Beyond that safety is the unknown and untested. When you leave the safety of your comfort zone you may get hurt, but you may also realize how restricting it was. The only way to know what awaits us is to jump.
My grandpa was a collector of sorts. The thing he collected most was airplanes. He would buy neglected planes, take them apart, put them back together, and then sell them. All but one of the planes are gone, but one thing still hanging around is the very rusty Kaiser Manhattan. Looking at it one wouldn’t think too much about it. The tires are flat and deteriorating, the windows are cracked, the chrome is tarnished, and you’d be hard pressed to find a single square inch that isn’t rusted. For all it’s flaws, it is still, relatively speaking, in one piece, though it would take an act of God to make it drive again. Despite all that, there is an undeniable beauty in the rust, the decay, and the patterns made as nature tries to reclaim the land on which it sits. Humans have developed an aptitude for judging things and people by the accumulation of their shortcomings, and altogether fail to see the beauty in the scars, flaws, and imperfections of both everyday items, as well as our fellow man.
A scar does not form on the dying, A scar means I survived.
Chris Cleave, Little Bee
Down south in the Missouri Ozarks lies a remarkable display of beauty you won’t find in the hustle and bustle of the city. A massive formation of pink granite known as Elephant Rocks rises to the surface, and graces the landscape with scenes reminiscent of a place found only in mythical tales. This magical place provides hours of adventure and exploration, and gives us a unique look at the earth we rarely ever see.
We all have days in which no mater how hard we try we can not motivate ourselves enough to turn off the TV and do something; my most recent of those days started several months ago. I have found a love in photography that I have failed to find in any other activity, yet despite that I have barely touched my camera since November. I’ve gotten it out a few times. I even did a little hike in the Mark Twain National Forest last week and snapped a some photos. Even without getting some fresh photos, I have hundreds of photos on my computer that need to be gone through, weeded out, processed, and shared with the world. Even the cries of those photos have been neglected in the face of my lack of motivation.
A quick search in Google tells me I’m experiencing self-deprivation (no need to worry, it’s not terminal). Dr. Google says that self-deprivation occurs when an individual feels unworthy of happiness. The mildest form could be something as simple as never buying gifts for oneself, while the most dangerous form could include self-harm.
Whether or not you or I take the word of the internet as gospel, the truth is that most of us at some point in our lives experience times when we don’t much like ourselves. If not than you are either very secure with yourself, or you have more wrong with your head than I do.
We are all human, and part of being human is making mistakes. Most of those mistakes fall under the same category as forgetting to grab milk before going home. Very few of those mistakes are actually life altering. The problem arises when we make, as we see it, one too many mistakes for anybody else to see us as valuable. We place upon ourselves the guilt and anger we believe we deserve. Sometimes that belief is founded on the attitudes of our closes family and friends. If we are treated like dirt we’re going to feel like dirt.
I would like to make one thing very clear
You are not dirt!
The truth is that you were created by a God who would have created every star in the sky just for you. You see, no mater how much other people may hate you, or how much you hate yourself, there is no length Jehovah will not go to let you know that you are loved. Save taking away your agency, your right to choose, or compromising His law, there is nothing He will not do to get you back into his presence.
The truth is that He needs You just as much as You need Him.
Yesterday I was at the Maple Woods Natural Area in Gladstone, MO. The area is dominated by Maple trees and other shade tolerant trees. Even though it is still too early for most blossoms I did see lots of these tiny purple/white flowers. And I really mean tiny. They were only about a half of an inch wide.