The alpine spring photos that I forgot

aka working through pandemic angst, one wildflower at a time

A couple years back, my nutritionist and I identified stress as a trigger for unwise snacking. This is also officially known as “eating my feelings,” if you’re in need of a wittier turn of phrase.

Back then, in the before days, stress meant simple things like too much to do in a day, politics, and the occasional actual emergency like finding a woman passed out near the elevator of my building. No joke, after that incident, the first thing I did was walk to the plastic tub of Christmas cookies and inhale several of them.

It may seem simple and (cough) obvious, but putting a name to it helped me identify it, and find other stress-relief techniques that don’t involve pastries or giant burritos.

These days, I’m facing a different pandemic-induced demon; I haven’t really given it a name yet. My nutritionist and I have talked about it as boredom, but I think it’s more nuanced than that…I think it’s inertia. It’s a sense of stopped motion - literally as I’ve been injured and unable to really run or hike - and figuratively as I wait for the pandemic to end. It’s a feeling of sameness, of a routine that never changes. It’s the need to DO something in the face of a never-ending vista of laundry and dishes and not much else. Which is all rather melodramatic, I know, but we’re talking feelings here, not rationality.

I write all this to mark a moment when, prompted by my nutritionist, I’m making a concerted effort to counter this feeling by “getting back to my camera,” as she says. It (the camera) has gone dormant lately, unless I’m on a big trip. After all, how many of the same beach sunset photos can I take before it gets monotonous? (And yes, I realize how spoiled that sounds. Sorry.)

So, like a good girl, the other night I took the Canon out on a walk with Sadie… just to see what I could see. I grabbed my zoom lens, which I rarely shoot with, and I will admit that I had some fun. Nothing spectacular came of it, but I enjoyed myself and found myself looking for the pretty moments among the scenes I’ve seen dozens of times before. I liked this one for its vibrancy and stripy-ness, if that’s a word.

But then, as I was downloading the few photos I took, I came across a bunch of pictures I’d taken on a recent trip. I’d totally forgotten about them. This is very strange, as I’m usually slightly - ok, very - obsessed with my trip photos. I think it speaks to just how off I’ve been the last few months.

But seeing those pictures was a breath of fresh air. They were sharp and pretty and nicely composed. Nothing that will win me any awards, but still lovely. They made me feel like maybe I haven’t lost all of my creativity in the pandemic mire. Again with the melodrama, but…you hopefully get it.

So here are a few of my favorites, with a few words to bring them into context. Enjoy - and here’s to some forward motion in the months ahead.

Reflections at Cecret Lake in Utah. This was the beginning of a vacation that was dominated by smoky conditions…I’d kind of forgotten how lovely our first day was, before the smoke.

According to Shawn, who dutifully looks this stuff up, these are Western Yarrow. They caught my eye immediately because of their soft pale pink hue and yellow centers. They were a surprise among all the bright colors of their fellow wildfleurs.

My favorite photo of the batch, despite its imperfections. I’m pretty sure that is Devil’s Castle in the background, and also pretty sure that this is a lupine flower in the foreground. All the good things about hiking in the alpine spring…in one little photo.

Be well and keep going, y’all!

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