The Changing Landscape

I was staring at my garden the other day, mourning the changes in the last few years. What grew so well before won't grow at all now. What I planted that bounded right up from the soil without roots, this year has faded away. Even the wildflowers in the yard are different. Just four years ago, we had a purple sea of toadflax. It was magical.

The next year, my amaryllis lilies were a fantastic red array of blossoms. They've struggled ever since. Then there was the year my snapdragons were glorious! But you know I couldn't even get them to sprout this year? Discouraged, I went out bought some paltry substitutes from a local garden center, and they were half as tall and half as pretty.

Change is a fact of life. It's how we approach it that matters the most. As a photographer, I have found that my images serve as a sort of salve against change. I can look at these photos of my yard, what was and isn't now, and feel not quite so badly. I mean, last year, I didn't think my garden looked that nice, but actually, I've found it wasn't bad, only different. And different isn't necessarily bad.

My mom always says, "It's okay for people to be different," and that's good advice. Applying that to photography, there are people who shoot with many different camera models. What one man hates, another loves. There are also many different editing processes. I've read what some people do to their pictures afterward and can't fathom taking the time.

I'm a very simple person in everything I do, and sometimes, I think that holds me back. I'm not outgoing at all, but live for my time alone. Sometimes, that keeps me from stepping out and doing things that I really should do. However, my need for simplicity has also pushed me forward. It's unique to my personality, and probably, different from yours. It shows up in how I write a lot, and how I take pictures.

You won't see photos of famous landscapes from me, or the wilderness, miles from anywhere, or safaris in far countries, or urban landscapes of steel and glass. I enjoy images like that from your lens, but can't form them in mine. Instead, what I create is a world of change. It's the seasons, the months and years that pass by my front door, gradually, one leaf, one insect at a time, altering what sits before me until I wake up one day and realize it's not the same anymore.

I mourn that, and then again, I embrace it because if everything always stayed like it was then there'd never be anything new. Children are born, and they grow from toddler to teen. They mature and fall in love. They marry, and new children are born. That is the cycle of life as it should be, and as mundane as that seems, it's a cycle of change.

I once was a kid, and now I'm not. I used to live there, but now I live here. My yard was underwater that particular year and full of birds. We had ibis, egrets, wood storks, and several species of ducks. However, this year we had a Sandhill Crane chick - long-legged, yellow and fuzzy. This year, we also have foxes, two of them. They come out each evening and pounce on insects in the grass. That's new and different.

I like that. New and different is good. It keeps me expecting something, the next event, the next unusual happening. Yeah, I may still look back and wish I could have that moment back again, but I should also look forward. Because it's in looking forward, in anticipation of the future, that hope and faith and joy are found, and those are three things necessary to everyone's survival, three things created by the very change that started me down this avenue in the first place.

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Suzanne Williams | Blog

Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.