At least until I knew better.
I have had a full and wonderful life. I've known some terrific people, with whom I had shared many amazing and unbelievable adventures. I've recounted things that some had found difficult to believe; some of these I simply don't talk about because I expect the looks and have already heard many of the comments that often follow. Sure, I relish the times when someone corroborates the truth, but I feel no desire to defend my past. For me, it is enough to enjoy the memories.
And it is exactly that which has inspired the title of this post.
You see, I had lived in the Mojave Desert for over six years. There were the glorious west coast sunsets over the hard-packed sands and the grand Pacific ocean. There was La La Land. There were lush mountain-top vistas, dams, national monuments, forests, and the desert wildlife. We had blistering hot days and star-packed nights. There were the tigers, leopards, and the other exotic and endangered cats of the Exotic Feline Breeding Compound, where I had volunteered as a docent. We enjoyed a private quarry that had set up a secluded target range, where local authorities and gun enthusiasts would meet and shoot. There were lone motorcycle rides along oases and dessicated lake beds alike. I've watched the Space Shuttle land at night, and have seen mysterious aircraft roam the skies. There were just so many things.
Then there was the the historic and beautiful Land of Fire and Ice. I lived there, where glaciers roam, volcanoes heave up new land, and where I discovered that equality is the way of life. This is where the world-famous Blue Lagoon lures, and where lights dance across the sky. It is the land where the worlds first parliamentary democratic government was established. It is a place where two tectonic plates converge, Vikings made their home, trolls live, and where the sands are black. Here you will find midnight golf, geysers, lighthouses, and most of the Atlantic Puffin. Most painfully, are the 5-hour Golden Hour days, of which I seemed virtually oblivious.
I lived in Colorado, near its magnificent River. I called the beautiful state of Florida my home, and I went to military training in Texas. I have visited Mexico and Europe, have made the Cannonball Run (though not in that much of a hurry), and I have driven most of the I-95 on two separate occasions. I've experienced the Great Lakes, and have ventured into the Northwest Territory.
Of all of the cultures and wonders that I have witnessed, why is it that only in the past few years that I finally venture into photography? Perhaps it is because I have only recently appreciated the the idea of sharing those experiences with others.
It is a shame, really. I wish that I had thought earlier of showing you the arctic foxes play in the snow drifts, the deer which had passed beneath me, the in-flight refueling of military jets, or the world's most glorious sunset. I was selfish to keep the dance of the Northern Lights, cliff divers jumping into rain-forest pools, and sweetly dreaming babies to myself.
Now, I am older and wiser. From here on in, I plan to capture those memories of Siberian Tigers purring (chuffing or ruffling) for me to pet them. I will show you what a chicken in a tree looks like, when it sleeps. I want you to be able to see what I experience, when the singer hits that high note. No raptor will again escape without leaving it majestic likeness, for me to share. Common or famous, plain or exotic, I want to find its beauty and try to express it with more than just words.
I endeavor to do so in a way that you can experience, too.