Finding the Light

Few things in life are as beautiful to me as an autumn afternoon. It’s a time when the world isn’t quite sure who it is, when nature stands poised between summer’s warmth and winter’s gloom, unable to decide which way to go, a time when, with a single inhalation, one’s spirit can breathe in a thousand inspirations. All things seem possible on a golden autumn day.

Both my mind and my spirit kick into high gear as autumn settles over our midwestern landscape. My body, too, feels renewed and invigorated. I love to walk through groves of trees, hike along wooded trails, and climb the sun-dappled hillsides. How glorious to stroll along the lake and see the tall trees reflected in the smooth surface of the water, their vibrant colors of their leaves made twice as lovely by the mirrored image.

Photography has always been a love of mine, and no time of year is better suited for the camera than the quickly-passing weeks of September, October, and November.

I’ve taken many autumn photographs over the years, and I cherish each one. As I sort through them, they bring back memories of different times in my life, different places I’ve been, and the friends and family with whom I’ve shared those special days.

Sometimes, in the bleakness of winter, I take out those photos and play with them. Although Mother Nature can’t be outdone for beauty, sometimes she can be teased into new designs. With a good graphics program, I can manipulate her moods. I can take the beauty she gives me and truly make it my own.

Among my favorite autumn pictures is one I took at Powell Gardens. It was on a late October afternoon, and I spent hours exploring. Oh, so much to see! The day grew warm, the sun shone brightly, and when I came to a little “nook”, I welcomed the chance to sit for a moment, close my eyes, and quietly commune with the earth, the sky, the water.

Later, I dug out the photograph I took of that sunny little nook. I wanted to capture not only the image — as I’d done with the camera — but also the emotions it evoked. I sought a way to catch hold of my feelings, paint them with color, and create a visual recounting of all I experienced in those precious, light-filled moments.

This is my “Sunny Garden Nook”:

Sunny Garden Nook at Powell Gardens

Each of us has special places in our life. This will always be one of mine. Whenever life gets hectic, or whenever winter’s chill wears me down, I take out this picture of this special place and “go there” again.

In my writing, I think often of special places. It’s important for me that my characters know the peace and joy that comes from moments of quiet communion. I like to slip inside their heads and ask, “Where do we need to go?”

In “Not the Marrying Kind” — coming in January from Secret Cravings —   Kat Phillips took me to her special place. Here’s a short little snippet:

Kat tethered her horse at the foot of the hill and began the slow ascent. Each step brought her closer to the summit, closer, too, to the refuge she sought. The mountain called to her, sang to her, beckoned her. In the summer, it glittered in the sunlight; in the winter the snows covered its craggy peak. In spring she delighted in the wildflowers that blossomed along the rocky ledges, and in the autumn she thrilled to the crisp air with its chill bite. She felt the majestic power of the mountain. For Kat, the place was sacred. A place to be alone. A place to feel that she was part of something grand and glorious, a part of creation itself.

What are your special places? Are they part of a certain time, a particular season? Do they hold special memories for you? I’d love to hear from you about your special places and the priceless memories they hold.

Other thoughts your might enjoy:

For more glorious scenes of autumn, check out my Pinterest board, Autumn Fire. I’ve gathered together a collection of truly awe-inspiring photographs.



  1. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:

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