Pretty Pink Houses And The Lenses We View Them With

Perception is everything.

When I went adventuring with my pal Jerry last Friday, I told him that I wanted to walk to the lake shore for a better picture of “that bright pink house.”

He was quiet for a moment and inquired about the house.

That one over there, the pink one, I motioned.

He seemed perplexed when he responded he didn’t see a pink house.

That’s when I realized what was going on. I took off my sunglasses to reveal the house was not bright pink at all. It was vaguely pinkish but my sunglasses had made it appear much brighter.

Those sunglasses represent most blues, browns and greens accurately. Reds, pinks and yellows are exaggerated.

This got me thinking about the lenses with which we view the world.

We all have them. There’s no denying it. We all view the world through the lenses of our own experiences and what we are taught.

My exoerience as a reporter taught me there are multiple sides to every story and that my own ethics are vital to my happiness. Perhaps this is why my brand of documentary photography suits me so well. You won’t catch me photoshopping in a ray of sunshine into a portrait of a family standing in a gloomy wheat field.

I am a realist who is slow to judge. I see the world for what it is but always want more information. Facts, figures and original sources are the only things I care about. Someone’s opinion or emotions that have been triggered by a cable tv sound byte are useless.

In fact, I would argue that the modern American tendency to use emotions rather than fact accounts for a big part of our nation’s problems.

Whether you do or don’t like a politician doesn’t make you right about them. Just because your religion tells you to do something doesn’t make it right or fair and it certainly may not be the best choice for every person in the world. The fact that egging on the nastiness of this world appeals to something deep inside many people doesn’t make them people who should be followed.

In many cases, these things or these lenses become obstacles to reaching the truth.

Those lenses can get us into trouble.

Like my favorite pair of aviator sunglasses, listening, comprehension and the search for enlightenment should never go out of style.

Unfortunately, when it comes to things like religion or political party lines, it’s much harder to know you’re even wearing a colored lens. It’s even harder to recognize you need to do something about it.

It’s way easier when you can just take off the sunglasses and see that the house isn’t the pretty pink you first believed.

A Single, Tiny Leaf

Outside the Bonsai Garden at the North Carolina Arboretum, there is a sign that reads in part:

When you enter here, become small… Open your mind to the possibility that the greatest mysteries of life can be found in a single, tiny leaf.

Whoever wrote these lines deserves a raise because they spoke to my soul. I hope they speak to yours as well.

Happiness Is…

Happiness is warm light of a setting sun on the side of a barn. I travel this country road often and was pleased to have no one behind me last night when I wanted to stop for a quick phone picture.

Happiness can be found in all manner of things, big and small. This is your friendly reminder to look around and find something to smile about.

Remember this: happiness and satisfaction are not guaranteed. Make up your mind that today will be a good day and it will be. Now, go look for that thing to smile about! Report back, if you like. I would love to hear about what makes you happy today.

Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve

Friday found me sitting on a boat under the hot late afternoon sun. I was with a pal, and some strangers as we set off on a tour of Cranberry Bog State Nature Preserve.

It’s an island in Buckeye Lake State Park that can only be toured with a permit or via an Ohio Department of Natural Resources tour offered but one day a year.

This is a fragile environment that has shrunk to about nineteen acres over the years – it’s about half the size it was when ODNR dedicated the nature preserve in the early seventies.

Our tour guide pointed out a couple of carnivorous plants, an orchid, cranberry plants and a host of other interesting living things that I might have missed if left to my own devices. There’s something to be said for going with a naturalist.

There’s a boardwalk around a portion of the island and lots of poison sumac to encourage visitors to stay on that boardwalk. We saw a blue heron fly overhead and a chorus of songbirds provided the soundtrack for our stay.

There’s little shade and the sun was fierce but it was an interesting use of an hour. Although, I have to admit the short boat ride was almost as nice as the tour.

I mean, with a gentle breeze and a view like this- what’s not to like?

ODNR operates 140 nature preserves and natural areas. They tend to be more interesting and quieter than state park trails. Learn about this one here.

Elvis and a Classic Mustang

Yesterday found me hiding from the heat in the movie theater. My cousin Sherrie and I took in a matinee showing of “Elvis” and enjoyed two hours and 39 minutes of escapism from this crazy world we call home.

The movie was excellent and gets two thumbs up from me. Tom Hanks was great as Colonel Tom Parker and Austin Butler made an exceptional King of Rock and Roll. In all, it’s a fresh take on a heartbreaking story and would both watch it again and recommend it.

We found this classic Mustang parked next to us after the movie.

Notice the front plate. Always on my mind.

It was shiny and immaculate.

Spotting classic cars out in the wild is one of my favorite things and this one was the perfect end to my Elvis experience!

The Open Road

There is little that thrills me more than a road trip.

I found myself driving in the golden light just before sunset last night. There’s something freeing about that hour of the day when the temperature falls with the sun and the traffic thins. I rolled down the winds, turned up the music and cruised toward home.

I also made a mental note that I must do this more often.

This scene is from State Route 668, not far from Logan, Ohio. This road is curvy but it’s well worth the views.

So what are you waiting for? Better get out there and go for a ride!