Rather than post a photo of frost or snow or something else to do with this frigid weather, I thought I’d share one of my all-time favorite photos from my visits to the woods along the Panhandle Trail, from summer 2011 when a great-niece and great-nephew came to visit from out of town and we went exploring, and swimming in the swimming hole. Feel warm? I do!
I spent Sunday afternoon in the woods along the Panhandle Trail with my great-niece and and great-nephew, 9 and 11, just to run around, explore, be outdoors and make up our own activities with whatever was there—paths up and down hills, wildflowers, trees, a stream (Robinson Run), a trail made from an ex-train track (rail-to-trail), and an absolutely perfect day.
And we did. We did everything. I was so happy to have someone to play with, a few sun-warmed black raspberries and muck on our feet. Above is one of my favorite photos for the light, the color, the composition and the memories; that might have been me forty-odd years ago wading in a stream barefoot, carrying my shoes. It’s my great-niece Cassidy, just as fearless as I was then, and we were joined by her brother Kyler. We enjoyed exploring the woods, but we liked being in the water best. They live in Savannah, GA now, 88 degrees “is kind of like what it’s like in the spring,” but their streams happen to have alligators so they can’t go swimming like you can here.
And the rope swing…there is nothing like swinging on a rope swing, even if you don’t go too high it’s just that feeling of freedom, letting go, waving your feet around—the things that usually carry you around are off the ground!
Yes, their great-aunt was right there in the woods and the water and the rope swing with them, who do you think showed the way and was the first in the water and the first on the swing? But I had the camera so there were no photos of me.
I was also scouting places to paint and this year I’m determined to get out there. One little casualty was that I slipped sideways and my little Lumix digital went underwater in my pocket. It was out of order until I could take it apart and things could dry out a little and I got some action from it; I put it in my gas oven with the warm pilot light overnight and today it works but I need to replace the battery pack. I looked at the waterproof cameras for a reason, but they just didn’t take good photos. The other casualty from the same little slip-up, and more serious, was my 70-300 zoom lens for my Pentax K10D. I think it may come back too, but I am awfully fond of that lens. My camera bag is breaking down and took on water where it never used to.
I enjoyed this day so much, and this photo has become one of my favorites of all time for so many reasons: the literal and metaphorical meanings behind my great-niece standing in shallow water, looking upstream, the ripples rolling out from her, she is growing up; the colors and spatters of sun on the water, and how much she reminded me of myself at that age, going barefoot and carrying my shoes, which I still do as I was standing barefoot in the water behind her with my camera, and the practicality of a bathing suit she can grow into, tied in a knot in the back because it was a little too big for her right then. I have a large print of this in my home to enjoy and wonder how I caught such a moment.