It’s that time of year…time to choose a word to guide my year. I’ve already selected and rejected several, testing them only to find out they were too literal or too confining, not the inspiration or guide I am looking for.
Last year I chose explore…and indeed I did explore. I looked under rocks, climbed up mountainsides, and discovered landscapes beyond my usual experiences.
The year before that I chose play for my one little word. Play reminded me to find the fun around me, to push against my seriousness and to make time for myself.
This year I am anticipating change. I will take on an important new role in my life. Very soon I will be grandma to not one, not two, but three baby boys! And I can already feel my heart expanding as our family grows. Over the last several years, I’ve been watching my sons walk the path toward fatherhood, becoming loving and attentive husbands and dog dads…and now nurturing, caring dads-to-be. My amazing daughters-in-law are big in belly and heart, one carrying identical twins, both women already imagining how they will balance motherhood and work, family and friends. I had such fun spending time with them over the holidays–talking about their dreams and fears, and watching the babies push and bump, making their presence known from the inside out. I am lucky that even when I am not with my sons and daughters-in-law, I am the recipient of updates and what were at first mysterious sonogram portraits, becoming more familiar and now revealing hints of the features of the babies that will soon enter the world outside their mothers’ bodies. As grandma, I anticipate building new relationships with my sons and daughter-in-laws…and with these little boys who are my grandsons. (I can’t wait!!! The time has passed both excruciatingly slowly and in a blink of an eye, it won’t be long now!)
And I want to continue my growth in other areas of my life as well. I am continually looking for ways to expand my understanding of teaching and learning. How do I create conditions where learning can happen–both for my students and for myself and other adults in the room? How do I facilitate learning within our writing project community–for myself and the others who comprise this inspiring group? How do I ensure there are pathways that welcome new voices and new perspectives, enriching our educational community by increasing the diversity within our community?
I also want to continue to play and explore the world on my own terms. My photography continues to be a tool that encourages me to try new things and expand my visions of what is possible. We already have some places to explore on our wish list…as nearby as Yosemite and some international destinations as well.
And so, my one little word this year is expand. I hope to expand my heart and mind, my understanding and empathy. I am striving for an expansive year of growth, of love, of adventure, of relationships (and not of my waistline!).
As much as I love my job, it still takes some effort to come off the two week winter break and get back into the groove of work. And to make it even more challenging this year, we began our week back with rain! (Remember, this is San Diego and rain is a major weather event.)
It was damp, but not wet enough to keep kids indoors as I headed out for Monday morning playground duty. I love our view…with the ocean visible in the distance. We could see that we had some stormy weather in store…
Rainy days at school tend to be a rare occurance, and the kids love them! Teachers, however, start to feel the energy building as kids who are used to lots of outdoor play spend too much time confined in small spaces. When we finally got outside late in the afternoon, there was a wonderful light illuminating the playground. I love the brightness of the light, the ominous dark clouds in the back, and the colorful kids in this view.
On my way home I couldn’t resist stopping by the beach to see how the storminess was affecting the shoreline. I was greeted by tractors pushing sand, building up the protective mounds to create a defense against the high surf and powerful waves.
Between the tractors and the power of the water, the beach is always changing. The sand comes and goes, shaping the shoreline and creating pools of water in unexpected places. As I looked up at the clouds I also noticed the pelicans in formation.
The rains continued through the week (dropping more rain in a few days than we get in a month or more in other years) and the news has been filled with reports of flooding and road closures…and even a tornado warning on Wednesday! The alert system on my cell phone has indicated flash flood warnings several times over the last few days. I even dug out an umbrella on Tuesday to try to keep my bags dry as I headed from the parking lot to the writing project office on Tuesday. By Thursday, I knew that working from home (instead of heading to the writing project) was a good idea. As I took a break from grant writing, I noticed the sun glimpsing through a break in the clouds. I take many photos of this tree…and here it is still hanging onto one lone leaf against the brilliant blue sky.
Less than an hour later, the skies darkened and the wind picked up. The rain was coming soon. The tops of these palm trees leaned into the breezes and you can catch a peek at the sun setting as the storm rolled back in.
Today we got a reprieve, and the rains have left…for now anyway. (They’re expected back tomorrow night.) I couldn’t resist pulling off the road on my way to work this morning to capture the sunrise reflected in the clouds.
And our students carry on with their learning. Piles of kelp collected from the storm-strewn beaches were the basis of today’s science lab. Students observed, labeled parts…and eventually photographed and sketched our local giant kelp. And they love big words, like the scientific name for giant kelp. You’ll notice this first grader has labeled his sketch macrocystis pyrifera, commonly known as kelp.
So, what has been going on in your week? Are you back to work after a break or out enjoying your local winter weather? Have you experimented with some aspect of your photography or documented something you are noticing in new or different ways?
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #myweek for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
So what has happened during your week? How might you document it through a photo or two? I’m looking forward to seeing your week through your lens!
Since our Weekly Photo Challenge corresponds with New Year’s this week, what more perfect prompt than taking the time to pick a few of your photos from 2015 for a “best of” gallery to usher in 2016?
I went all the way back to the beginning of 2015 and after a lot of looking picked a few of my favorites. These first three include a shot of the brilliantly colored produce at the Grand Central Market in downtown Los Angeles, a winter beach scene with kites flying from behind the lifeguard tower, and a dying tulip in the light on my dining room table.
These next three move to the beginning of summer. The first is one example of my ongoing experimentation with night photography this year, the San Diego County Fair at dusk. Then there is a sunset photo taken on the summer solstice and a shot taken from a sailboat out on the ocean off San Diego of a sailboat on the ocean off San Diego.
A trip to Chicago created many new memories for my husband and me. I conquered (or at least faced) a fear of heights with a trip up Sears Tower, viewed the magnificence of the city skyline from another high perch in the Signature Lounge in the Hancock building, and appreciated the natural beauty of a bee at work in Millennium Park.
The beach continues to inspire my photography, my writing, and allows me to reflect and relax. I take photo after a photo there. Sometimes I travel to other beaches. Dog beach offered a view that I don’t see at home. A trip to Catalina island brought me up close and personal to this friendly pelican. And my local beach is always changing. I found this tractor in the early fall building a berm on the beach to protect against the winter storms.
There is always inspiration at museums…like the reflective lights from the Kusama exhibit at the Broad Museum. I’m learning to find ways to get beyond simply being annoyed by traffic and long road trips. Some “out the window” photography allowed me to appreciate electrical towers in Los Angeles. And there is so much to photograph in December. I love the red of these tree stands in a Christmas tree lot near Walnut Creek.
So, take some time to take a walk through your photos and assemble a best of collection to share with the rest of us. (Or, of course, you can shoot a few new ones to create this week’s best of!)
You can post your photo alone or along with some words: commentary, a story, a poem…maybe even a song! I love to study the photographs that others’ take and think about how I can use a technique, an angle, or their inspiration to try something new in my own photography. (I love a great mentor text…or mentor photo, in this case!) I share my photography and writing on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter using @kd0602. If you share your photos and writing on social media too, please let me know so I can follow and see what you are doing. To help our Weekly Photo community find each other, use the hashtag #onthestreet for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
So take a walk down memory lane and pick a few of your favorite photos to share with us. What constitutes your best of? What will you learn about yourself and your photography as a result? I can’t wait to see your Best Of!