Ansel Adams: Visionary

anseladamsAnsel Adams was an only child, born to old parents in San Francisco on February 20, 1902. He was the only child of businessman Charles Hitchcock Adams and Olive Bray, and the grandson of a timber baron. Adams’ family home was in located in the coastal Golden Gate area of San Francisco. It was there that Adams developed an early appreciation for nature.

He was a shy child, possibly dyslexic, and subsequently he did not do well in school. He was ultimately home schooled, which led to solitary time spent walking along the still undeveloped and wild coastline. At twelve years old Ansel Adams learned piano on his own, and went on to pursue piano as his career. However, in 1916 Adams first visited Yosemite, which changed his passion from piano to photography. It was there in Yosemite that he would take up the camera, a Kodak No. 1 Box Brownie, which was a gift from his parents. Ansel Adams would ultimately spend quite a bit of time yearly at Yosemite, until he passed away on April 22, 1984.

Adams joined the Sierra Club in 1919 and subsequently spent the next “four summers in Yosemite Valley, as “keeper” of the club’s LeConte Memorial Lodge.”[1] This would prove to be quite opportune for Adams, as he became friends with many of the leaders of the Sierra Club and became involved with the early conservation movement. It was here at Yosemite that Adams would also meet his wife, Virginia Best. Adams involvement with the Sierra Club was pivotal to his early career as a photographer, with publication of his both his writings and photographs in their 1922 Bulletin and then a “his first one man exhibition in 1928 at the club’s San Francisco headquarters.”[2] Adams began to see the potential to make a modest living as a photographer through his continued involvement with the Sierra Club. Continue reading

Musings: Stone Walls

There are troubles, that brew in my heart and mind, which are weightier than the stones stacked precariously upon each other forming centuries old walls across the landscape. I question the existence of my troubles as I question where did these stone walls come from?

stone wall

Who moved these stones from place to place to build these walls that block my path? Who took these stones from the earth and stacked them just so, creating boundaries where once there were none.

I am a woman with few boundaries, except when it comes to my heart, which I shield with stone walls, keeping love a bay. This is my truth, though I rarely speak it.  Continue reading

Musings: I Am the Nature That Borders My World

snowy egretI build my understanding and reason about all things in life around the nature that borders my world. I absorb the entities of nature that are around me.

I take up sometimes for the briefest of moments, the flight of the hawk, or the hop of the rabbit. I scream like the fox, I swish like the fish flowing downstream with the tide. I peer into the pool of water and find my reflection. I am the wild creatures and the wild creatures are me.

It is in the moments of communing with nature that I am free from the commonplace stresses of the world. It is in the moments that I let my imagination run wild and soar free, with the wild creatures around me, that I am free from the stresses of the world.

I build my sanity and reason around myself with the nature that surrounds my realm. I am the eagle hunting fish in the river. I am the squirrel storing nuts for winter. I am the buds on the trees in the spring. I am the river as to flows to the ocean. I am the ocean whose waves crash on the shore. I am the nature that borders my world.

 

Reflection on Emerson’s Nature

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature is a series of eight essays that touch upon a variety of thoughts on nature in writings on Nature, Commodity, Beauty, Language, Discipline, Idealism, Spirit and Prospects. Emerson’s essays were initially published anonymously and were influenced by his early form of Transcendentalism. He composed the essays in Nature after leaving the Unitarian ministry. (Emerson p. viii) Emerson’s Nature has influenced Emerson’s friend Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, John Burroughs and many others since its first publication. What Emerson entreats in Nature is that man must foray into nature in order to understand the “perpetual presence of the sublime.” (Emerson p. 6)

I am forever caught up in the “perpetual presence of the sublime,” that Emerson speaks of, for nature never ceases to amaze me and in that, my heart is like that of a child, as Emerson alludes: “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other, who has retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood.” (Emerson p. 7)

Emerson speaks to my soul when he says, “In the wilderness, I find something more dear and connate than in streets or villages,” (Emerson p. 8) for I see the wilderness as the most blessed of places where beauty is forever changing moment by moment. Nature is such that it is constantly changing with its own forces at work constantly, the wind, the skies, the oceans, the forest, the fields. All ever changing. All ever beautiful even in its decay. Continue reading