Still Crazy After All These Years

“First of all, we must be present to ourselves.” –Thomas Merton

I have a trip coming up in a couple of weeks to Maine.  I love New England in the fall and am really looking forward to returning to that beautiful part of our country.  I’ve pulled out all my travel books for the areas I plan to photograph and even ordered a few more.  This is all well and good.  It’s what I should be doing prior to a photo trip.  But while all this is going on I’ve already started planning a trip to New Mexico later in the year.  Now I have not only books on Maine lying around the house, I’ve got books and maps of New Mexico scattered about as well. 

This may sound crazy but I’m having trouble focusing on the Maine trip because I’ve been thinking more about the New Mexico adventure.  Part of the reason may be that I will be revisiting sites in Maine I have already photographed, whereas in New Mexico I plan to visit several areas I’ve never visited.  Still, you would think I’d be able to focus on the trip that comes first.

What is even crazier is due to all of my planning and looking forward to the trips which are yet to come I have hardly paid notice to what’s going on in the natural world around me here and now.  Midweek I received a book in the mail from my blogging partner, Rob.  Interestingly enough, the subtitle of the book is “Having the Life You Want by Being Present to the Life You Have.”  I had already started thinking about the madness of my always looking ahead and not living in the moment so when I got this book I felt compelled on Friday to go outside and see what was happening in my own yard.  The pictures you see here were all taken in my yard that day over about a twenty minute time frame.  When I made the effort to look there was plenty of beauty all around me.  It didn’t require any research or maps, no plane tickets or rental cars.  All it took was a deliberate act of living in the moment right where I was.

So, yes, I’m still crazy after all these years, but hopefully I’m learning.  And what I have written about here today goes far beyond just photography or viewing nature.  I fear that many of us miss out on much that God wants to show or tell us  day by day because we are too focused on either the past or the future.  The Psalmist declared, This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”  (Psalm 118:24)  Yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come.  This day, today, is a gift from God.  My primary job is to make the most of it.  I should strive to use all of my senses today to enjoy God’s Creation.  I should strive with all I have this day to love God and those around me.  Today, I should strive to live in the moment and be fully present.  And unless you’re crazy, so should you.