Ode To Early Mourning Walks


Dasylirion Acrotriche – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X100F

My wife and I had for months planned to take our four young kids to Arizona for Christmas. We wanted to briefly escape the Utah cold, and we wanted to spend time visiting family that live there, people that we don’t see nearly often enough. We packed up the car and made the long drive, encountering some rough weather along the way.

One of the very first things we did upon arrival was visit my grandma Esther who wasn’t doing well at all. We found her in much pain. It was a tough sight, very heart-wrenching. We were able to see her twice. I don’t know if she even really knew that I was there.

I got a call on the morning of December 24th, Christmas Eve. Grandma had passed away during the night.

I was glad that I got to see her one last time before she died. I’m glad that the intense pain she was experiencing was gone. But I couldn’t help feel a little pain inside of myself. I had a lot of different emotions floating around. It was difficult to think clearly. How were my kids going to react? It was not a good start to the holiday. I needed to clear my heart and mind. So I grabbed my camera and took a walk around the neighborhood.

Below is a poem I wrote inspired by that walk. It’s called Early Mourning Light. The photograph at the top, Dasylirion Acrotriche, was captured that morning. This is perhaps a bit unusual for a photography blog, but I found it to be therapeutic. Yes, a camera can be a part of the grieving process. I hope that you don’t mind me sharing it here.

Waves of energy cross the universe vast
Somehow find their way and shadows cast
Illuminating the world around and within
To my heart it beckons
Clean air for a clear mind
Memories I try hard to find
Did I express to you enough?
Or did I get wrapped up in pointless stuff?
A legacy you left behind
To a cruel world you were kind
Learning and teaching
To my heart always reaching

The camera in my hand
Taking in the light
The days disappear like sand
Forever beyond our sight
Time is a thief
Taking what we love
Leaving us with grief
Moments that I think of
Wishing it wasn’t so hazy
That I had captured it clear
But I was lazy
Now it’s too late I fear

Light is a gift of grace
Freely falling on everyone’s face
Illuminating our lives
When the moment arrives
Best to capture what you see
To augment our memory
Not just to say that we were there
But to show that we did care
Time is a treasure fleeting
While my heart is still beating
Photograph what I might
In the early mourning light

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