I had been to the preserve a few days earlier but the trail to the river was completely washed out and the mosquitoes were so fearsome that we would have been forced to turn back even if the path was clear.
Lilo and I decided to try our luck and we made our way down the trail. The leaves were really starting to turn and I was giddy with the new colors on the landscape. I started creating a bouquet of autumn leaves and was scouring the ground for new additions and looking up into the trees, searching for the source of bird songs and admiring the way the sun filtered through the forest.
Now the water had receded, leaving the trail covered in soft black mud and a path of sticks and branches caught among the trees. Little Lilo sunk a bit into the mud as she crossed so I moved further up and took my time balancing on the scattered wood to get across. As I was carefully maneuvering through the muck I looked down and saw a large snail shell.
Something new to gather! How exciting! I carefully placed the shell in my pocket and for the rest of our walk was conscious of it’s fragile presence, adjusting how I moved and bent to pick up other fallen treasures-autumn leaves, acorns, spiky burr oak acorn tops and stones. These precious items would go on display in my home and might make their way into nature crafts with the kids. But this single snail shell? That was special.
We walked along the river for a bit.
Lilo Jean the Autumn Queen!
Then it was time to go and we began to back track through our steps. And as I stepped back through the branches and driftwood I saw another snail shell! And then another! And another! They were everywhere! I started to gather them in a bit of plastic bag I had in my pocket and by the time we reached solid ground I had about twenty. TWENTY! It was the exact same path and I had walked just 30 minutes before. How had I missed them?
Because I didn’t know that I was looking for them.
So here is where I move past “oooh tree pretty!” to “oooh deep philosophical thoughts!”
I didn’t see the shells because I didn’t know I was looking for them. Maybe I was missing other great things in my life because I wasn’t being specific with what I want? I know these are not original thoughts. There is “Law of Attraction”, “The Secret” like attracts like, positive energy attracts positive energy, it depends on what wolf you feed, etc.
And I have this quote framed on canvas in my bedroom-
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”
― Roald Dahl
So what will my magic be? What do I want more of in my life? When I am truly present and happy and engaged what is involved?
That is easy.
My family. Nature. Photography. Being of Service.
These are the things that ignite my soul. I invest a great deal of my energy into my family and being in nature. I take photos every single day. I volunteer quite a bit. Now how to put them all together in to something that will help my family financially. I have not had to have a “real job” since December of 2008 but we can’t sustain that much longer. I need to focus more on my photography business because taking photographs, capturing moments and making people smile is what thrills me. I love the comments I receive on my nature work. I love it when someone sends me a message about how my work and words inspire them. I love visiting a home and seeing my art on the walls. I love getting holiday cards with the images I captured. I love it all.
This is what I am putting out to the Universe. I want to use photography and my experiences as a woman and mother to inspire and support others. I want to help people capture the magic in the everyday and the special occassions. I want to make a living through photography.
(and yes, I really did get excited over a dirty old snail shell!)