Photo Essay Series
By Jenny Leigh Hodgins
This is the eighth 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 woke up one wintry morning to find that it had snowed. Bundled up, I went outside just past sunrise to explore. My fleece-lined boots pounded the first footprints into the snow as I made my way to the end of the parking area. Four inches of snow covered everything with an immaculate layer of gleaming white. The dreamy scene of a soft-hued sky over rolling white hills and tree silhouettes inspired the poet in me.
Though it was cold, I lost myself in the splendor of this romantic scenic view, mesmerized like a child, by the clumps of snowy evergreen branches and the morning sky’s mellow pastel colors of blue, orange, pink, purple and yellow. The light of early morning permeated the vista with a tranquil glow.
Winter is often used to symbolize troubles we face in our lives. Living beings brace against the cold. People have to deal with potential problems caused by snowy roads and walkways. The freezing temperatures and winter snow are like the sufferings in our lives. There is a tendency to want to avoid these, hunkered down, hidden away, hoping for the passing of the chill.
The Buddhist teaching, ‘winter always turns to spring,’ came to mind. It’s true in nature that seasons change from one to another. But to create a springtime in the heart, we must use our difficulties as fuel for our inner light. The energy of our heart’s burning light is born of our ability to use the fire of challenges to ignite our full potential.
Viewing challenges, like this amazing winter scene, with the heart of a poet, changes my entire perspective. What if, like the beauty of this lovely winter snapshot, we could see every difficulty as an opportunity to inspire appreciation and creativity?
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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.
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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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.