From Our Neck of the Woods

Editor's Statement

Phyllis_Helen2

“No philosophers so thoroughly comprehend us as dogs and horses.”

Herman Melville

An author of one of the articles in this issue mentioned he had observed that I had a soft spot in my heart for horses. He is correct.

Horses speak to me of freedom. They are truth and poetry in motion. I feel that horses are unique and special. They are honest.

When searching for a quote about horses, I found the one above by Herman Melville. It speaks to my heart. I’m sure no human has ever understood me as much as a mustang named Desi (Desert Sands). Desi taught me more in two years about who I am than I had managed to figure out in over 60 years of living. And our little dog, Phyllis, regularly teaches me a great deal. To deepen all my lessons from Desi and Phyllis (and the dogs before her), on December 18, 2014, I met a newborn calf named Wish2.

Spending time with Wish2 as she’s grown into a beautiful adult heifer has deepened my appreciation for cows. But, more importantly, she’s taught me that I am small. Yes, small physically, but tiny and unimportant in the grand scheme of life. I can have Wish2’s full attention and suddenly the hay calls to her, she decides that a drink of water is important, or she chooses to rejoin her bovine herd members, and I’m left standing alone. Does Wish2 love me? Yes. She and I often stand in a circle of love. But she lives her life in the moment. Sometimes I’m part of that moment; other times I’m not.

The beauty of it all is that Wish2 is free of expectations and judgment. She is self-confident. She knows her place and her needs—hay, a pasture of green grass, water, and being part of a herd.

Do I know my needs? Am I honestly free of expectations and judgment of self and others? Am I confident enough to politely walk away when something else demands my attention? Can I say "no" in a kind manner and focus on the task in front of me?

The animals in my life are honest and non-judgmental. Often, when we are together, they find something more interesting than I am to them, and they are off. It doesn’t mean they don’t love me. They could return to me at any moment. The animals I share my life with are self-confident and, let me add, they are free of self-imposed limitations. Being with them forces me to stay in the moment.

So, yes, I have a soft spot for horses, and also for dogs and cows. I want to continue to learn from my animal companions, and to daily live in a confident and joyful manner, free from self-imposed limitations.

Thank you for your readership of Nature Photographer. We exist because of you, and it truly is a pleasure to talk with you when you call.

We wish you peace, love, and superb spring photography adventures. Marty and I send our best wishes to you for days that are filled with joy!

Spring is the season much anticipated by those living in the northern latitudes. Days are filled with beautiful memories. New life is ushered in by sunshine and gentle breezes. The landscape turns green dotted by the many colors of spring flowers. Birds are busy building nests while mammals seek safe places to give birth to their young. All of these miracles unfold on schedule each spring without any assistance by humans. God is in control. These daily miracles in nature are gifts to all who take the time to see. And, for the nature photographer, seeing translates to photographic opportunities. 
As you move through spring filling your flash cards or capturing the miracles on film, cherish each moment for that moment will never be repeated. 
Immediately after I typed the above statement Marty came in with the mail. In the mail was a rose-colored envelope from Bonnie West, Larry West’s wife. It contained news that I was unaware of—that Larry West, one of the real greats among nature photographers, had passed away on December 15, 2015. Tears of sadness streamed down my face-. The nature photographic community has lost a valued member. Sadness was mixed with memories of Larry’s immense gifts to this magazine. During the early days of Nature Photographer he willingly spent much time on the phone counselling me. Larry’s wisdom was a tremendous help and I am forever grateful.
Cherish each moment in life, because the only aspect of life that is certain is change. You may never have the opportunity to speak with a special friend again. You will never have the opportunity to marvel at that unusual and unique sunrise you photographed—another sunrise but not the one you just captured to share with others. Every moment is just that—a moment in time unlike any other.
Speaking of memories—yes, I am still creating them in the barn at Tide Mill Organic Farm with Wish2 and her summer pasture mate Ubie, along with two other yearlings and three weaners who are their herd mates in the barn. Working with them is joyful—they make me smile and teach me lessons. And, the exercise is a plus. Wish2 is now far larger than in the photo to the right-—weighing 600+ pounds.
You are special, and we are deeply grateful for your readership of Nature Photographer. This magazine exists because of you. It is always a pleasure when you call and share your time with us. We enjoy meeting readers via the phone and talking with you. Life can become so busy that it is easy to let opportunities slip away for the creation of precious memories. 
Our wish for you is that spring enriches your life with peace, joy, love, and superb photography opportunities! 
 
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Nature Photographer Magazine
PO Box 220
Lubec, ME 04652
USA
207.733.4201
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