It’s a tough thing for a nurse to witness someone we love suffer and not be able to help in spite of all efforts. This sums up my weekend. I suppose it would be tough for anybody whether you’re a nurse or not, but I’ve been a nurse for so long that my frame of reference is shaky. In any event, I wasn't really looking forward to waking up Monday morning with feelings of sadness and failure.
I’m a nurse practitioner and also a photographer, and I am always in awe at just how healing photography is for me. Creativity is one of our basic spiritual needs, and it is certainly a big need of mine. Even for me, it’s one that sometimes gets overlooked though.
I woke up feeling a bit glum this morning humming the Carpenter's Rainy Days and Mondays always get me down. I typically sit outside with my coffee and dogs in the mornings until the sun get too hot. This is my chance to plan my day, savor my coffee, enjoy my doggies and take in a bit of nature. I was met with a nice, fairly heavy rain shower this morning though. There was no thunder or lightening as best I could tell. As I sat there watching water pour from the sky and overtaking my patio, I found myself intrigued by how the raindrops landed on grass blades and slowly made their way to the ground.
I’m an observer. I’m a photographer. I get joy from watching other people experience joy. It’s an extraordinary experience for me and usually quite fulfilling and enough. I photograph kids doing yoga and capture their innocence and purity. I capture the light in the eyes of the elderly with dementia as they see their loved ones.
I mean, my life is full with this! I'm really blessed and so grateful for my life. Sometimes though, even though photographing people and nature is fun, I need to put the camera down and play too. Today, I needed my camera, but my photos were for just ME! I've never photographed during a rain storm, and I was curious about what I might find. Simple as that. As the rainwater began to overtake my patio, I decided to join in on the fun. I made the decision to be happy, child like and take some time to play. I left my worries in the house. I made the decision to let go of the negativity and sadness even if just for a few hours. I also knew that if I left the sorrow behind for even an hour, it would be gone. For some reason that first step can just seem so big sometimes, doesn't it? Joy just feels so darn good though! Going out in the rain, was the best medicine for me. It was a crazy thought, but rather than just observe the playful raindrops, I decided to get out there and be a part of it.
Time for an Attitude Change!
I grabbed some clothes that were due for the wash anyway, pulled the rain protection over my camera, put my hair into a pony tail, fitted my favorite Lensbaby Velvet 56 lens (gives those gorgeous romantic looking shots) onto my Nikon D610, put on raggedy old shoes and headed out to the backyard. I purposefully left my raincoat in the closet because I wanted to feel the rain on my skin. I needed to not worry about water dripping in my eyes or getting my hair wet. I needed to feel something other than the sadness in my heart. By this time, all five dogs were lined up on the patio watching me. They’re beautiful loving little mutts ranging from 5 to 100 pounds. Most were rescued in one way or another, but I often ask the question- ‘who rescued who.’ I imagined they each considered joining me, but thought better of it. They watched from the slowly flooding patio. I saw my neighbors look out their windows with puzzled faces. It was, after all, pouring rain. I pointed to my camera, did a little dance and mouthed, “I’m having fun!”
A FEW EXAMPLES
Forty five very fast minutes later I was literally soaked to the skin with cool rain. I didn’t even notice the time because I was enthralled by the beautiful rain drops around me. My shoes were muddy and even the feel of wetness between my toes made me feel alive. I got so excited looking through the lens and seeing the drops land in water, roll on leaves, fall to the ground and come out of the sky. I was not just observing, I was participating! No doubt I had a big smile on my face as my familiar backyard became a thing of incredible beauty.
My glasses were so covered in rain that I couldn’t really see details like I needed to in order to focus in. The Lensbaby Velvet 56 is not an autofocus lens which means that I have to manually focus the image which means that I need to be able to rely on my sight. A visual focus was pretty much impossible with steamed and water spotted eye glasses. I used my intuition and trusted. This made it even more fun. There was no pressure after all, because these images were just for me. The real value was not in the end product, but instead the journey getting to them. Sometimes my focus gets off, and I think too much. This time I allowed myself to be intuitively guided, let go of the outcome and played. I trusted that I could just feel when it was the right time to turn the lens to focus and push the button to snap the picture. I also knew that even if every single image was out of focus, it would be perfectly alright. I was amazed at the outcome! I focused on what I truly loved most at that moment- being in nature, being a part of nature and seeing it through my very own lens. I prayed for the person I love most who is having a challenging time, and I continued to ask God for guidance.
I hope your day is filled with the joy in little things and something as simple as a rain drop brings a smile to your face!
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