As is typical in the morning heading to my classroom, I had my coffee in one hand, my backpack over my shoulder, another bag of “essentials” draped over my arm and my lunchbox hanging off the other. At that moment, I spied the snail making its way down the hallway away from my classroom. It’s wet trail caught my eye and I started juggling my piles of stuff to grab my phone from my pocket and crouch down low to capture that story in a photo.
I love the tiny sharp antennae and the idea of leaving a trail marking the journey. I was reminded of this Emerson quote and set out to find the words I thought I knew.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson~
And so my week has progressed…thinking about paths and trails and the traces we leave. My friend Janis has been working on a large art sculpture for the city of Vista, CA featuring her beach plastics and her message of advocacy for our environment. When I saw the newspaper article showing its installation, I had to set out–in spite of the rain–to find the sculpture and see it up close for myself.
I love the paths this art has traveled. Janis’s paths along the beach picking up trash, her visits to classrooms where she engages students with the trash into making preserved only by the photographs they shoot, and her own photographic displays that use the stunning beauty of her artistic eye to bring attention to a problem we must address collectively. Into the Current is another stunning reminder that we must all walk the path toward preservation of our planet’s natural resources.
My own path often leads me to the beach where my feet follow the familiar sandy shores and my eye is drawn to the ever changing ebbs and flows of the sea. With my camera around my neck, I stop often on my walks to snap photos–of the stunning vistas, the playful birds, surfers in action, and anything else that catches my eye. Sometimes I surprise myself with finding a new view of a place I frequent.
This week has been cold and rainy, so moments of sunshine feel like a huge boost of energy. I love the way the clouds create a path that almost echoes that of the waves below.
And then there’s the seabirds that seem to follow invisible paths in the sky, creating their own passing lanes and moving in precise formations. Huge pelicans are surprisingly agile, gliding with tremendous speed overhead as I walk. I love when I can capture a crisp shot of these interesting creatures.
My usual path to and from the university takes me near the Torrey Pines Glider Port. Sometimes I veer from my singleminded effort to get home and pull off to watch the hang gliders in action. Yesterday was one of the those days. It was sunny (my weather app forecasted “lengthy sunny spells”) and breezy and the gliders were out enjoying the conditions. I switched to my tennis shoes and headed out along the beach cliffs carefully navigating the precarious pathways to snap the gliders following their own invisible paths over my head.
As I watched them swoop and soar, snapping shot after shot, I noticed the line of pelicans intersecting with the hang glider above. I wonder what they thought of each other as they came into close proximity, crossing paths.
Thinking about paths also leads me back to my students. I often think about their paths and how our interactions make learning pathways possible. Yesterday was a field trip day–we headed off to watch a youth production of The Lion King. This version was a lot like the broadway version with intricate choreography and beautiful head pieces and make up. An added bonus was that two of our students were part of the cast. It’s interesting to watch students as actors–and students as audience members and all the learning connections that can happen in the theater. There’s something magical about the hush as the lights dimmed and more than 400 children settle into a live performance.
This has been teacher appreciation week in our school district, a time when families send in notes and flowers expressing their care and love. Instead of the usual sweet treats, the families in our class coordinated and treated us to fancy coffee in the mornings–and a couple of families brought us a ready to heat dinner! Today I came home with gourmet quality quiches that made a perfect end-of-the-week dinner…Yum! There is something about the pathways that food carves that leaves a lasting impression, especially when a bit of love is added to the recipe.
So, what paths are you noticing or traveling this week? Which are you following and which are trails you are blazing? Have you found an unexpected path, or one that seems invisible to others? Perhaps the path is one of learning and exploration. Keep your eyes open!
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 #path for this week and include @nwpianthology in your post.
Use your lens to make a path this week…and share it with us!