Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the fourth of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration. See more of my nature-inspired
I got my Trek road bike the year my brother tragically died in a car accident. Our final conversation was about bicycling. John was an outdoorsman who loved hiking, camping, and cycling.
He was 12 years younger than me, so there was a large gap of time after I’d moved from Kentucky to Florida, when our interactions were limited to my visits home for holidays, or when he and his now ex-wife visited me in Florida.
I’d just moved back to Kentucky from Japan when he drove down from his Indianapolis home to spend time with me. Basically, we didn’t know each other as adults, so he made an attempt to connect.
We sat in my parents’ office while he yammered on about the fun of camping and cycling, urging me to make plans to do both with him as soon as possible. His enthusiasm was always at the forefront of his personality. He also knew a lot about bicycles, so I took notes on bike companies and local stores to shop.
He died a few months after that chat, a few days short of turning 29 years old.
As part of my grief therapy, I determined to buy a bicycle to honor his memory and his love of nature. I went to the store he recommended and bought this bike.
Whenever I ride my bike, I feel John with me, like the kid he always was to me; eager for me to pedal faster, go higher, fly over hills and explore the back roads to see new adventures through his eyes. I don’t go as fast or as far as I did when younger, but I still enjoy everything about cycling that John talked about in our last conversation.
This picture is my bike on a short break as I snapped the sunrise over Kentucky Horse Park, just off Iron Works Pike, where I’d cycled from Legacy Trail, Lexington.
This scene feels like my life swelling up with healing energy from breathing the cool morning air. Lexington’s signature rolling bluegrass hills and quietly grazing horses permeate my soul with familiarity and an unparalleled aesthetic.
This photo reveals the profundity of the universal force within life, surpassing time and physical boundaries, connecting me with my brother’s heart, which feels to me the same as my own.
I’m alive in this setting, with eternity enveloping my life. My mixed emotions are always worth enduring for the spiritual cleansing effect that cycling through nature yields.
I can’t help but think my brother knew the impact cycling would have on me. The spiritual, compassionate connection I feel through immersion in nature while cycling is our unbroken link.
My bike rides enable me to absorb value from both the suffering and joy of life. Although painful experiences happen to us all, this snapshot represents the rewarding depth of richness and inner strength gained from the dramatic cycle of life and death.
There is beauty even within our suffering and loss, if we are willing to open our hearts to find it there.
May your wheels always roll forward as you feel life’s gentle breeze on your back.
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Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the seventh of my photo essay series featuring images from YourCreativeChord’s newly designed 2020 nature photo calendars. The calendars include monthly self-care themes highlighting strategies for nurturing your creativity and inspiration.
I love the changing colors of autumn in Kentucky. The colors vary from fading green, burnt orange, bright yellow, to vivid red and gold. The season’s brisk, cool air makes walking or cycling outdoors a refreshing excursion. Dependent on the crisp, changing winds, the sky incessantly morphs between clear blue with sporadic, cottony white clouds to expansive layers of shadowy grayness that intermittently blocks the sun.
Gazing upwards, this particular sky was like a sci-fi effect from a movie. The rich red fall leaves of the trees against a vast, grey force of a sky that seemed to be descending upon earth portrayed an ominous and dramatic scene. Yet, the sun poked its way through a large oval from within the darkest clouds, emitting a brightness that contrasted everything with its light.
This fall image reflected the struggle within my own heart between succumbing to the stress of my challenges or looking for that gleam of light behind it all. The sun, piercing its way through these heavy clouds in the sky brought me a transcendental message.
Rather than giving in to the darkness within my life, this photo reminds me to keep moving forward with hope. Shifting my focus to find light within the picture of my life, and challenging what’s ahead of me with the strength of that cheerful mindset gives me the necessary momentum for achievement. More than this, I gain personal development of my character.
I know how easy it can be to give in to negative self-talk, or be swayed by the suffering of others or the world. The contrast of the sun’s light piercing through grey clouds in this picture represents hope. Hope means believing in my ability to accomplish my goals and manifest my full potential as a creative person.
Having hope also means I believe in my capability to handle any obstacle, including transforming difficult relationships, financial, health, business problems, and psychological tendencies. Hope doesn’t end with belief in the self, but extends to the belief that others have the same positive, vast potential, too.
The light and color of this photo refines my mindset to find the good in myself and others. This good eventually translates into the power to win over all forms of darkness, through revering the inherent dignity within every living being.
This is not a flimsy, fantasy-based optimism, but rather, firmly grasping reality’s challenges with a determined spirit to move things toward the positive with relentless hope. It’s looking for the best in the situation, others and myself no matter how dismal things may seem. Finding that positivity and taking action based on this reality-grounded, spiritual optimism creates the light we need to break through to a new level for creating value.
For me, this photo’s message is simple; Look to the light.
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In my CREATIVITY blogs, you’ll find tips for exploring creative flow, and inspiring content related to the inherent challenges and tremendous joy within the creative process.