There are two major influences that inform my photography. The obvious one is I shoot a lot of pictures and I have since I was about 19 years old. The second, is a consistent daily mindfulness practice that I’ve had for nearly 25 years. I cannot conceive of my life without it. I consider myself to be one of the luckiest people in the world to see magic in the mundane, the opulent in the ordinary. The muse and the spaciousness of stillness will both show up if you do. Both practices have helped me keep the sense of wonder of a 10 year old. I never, ever think I’ve seen a cicada wing before when I see one again, (or a cicada for that matter). Each time it is new. I try to do that with my friends too, although it is harder. Have you ever tried to see a familiar friend as if you didn’t know them?

I remember when my mother, who would often feel a sense of discontentment with her life because she couldn’t possess the material things she wanted, was succumbing to the effects of Alzheimer’s. When she would wash her hands, her face would light up and she would say, “Feels nice.” It was a teachable moment. She also developed the capacity to comment on meals that displeased her, “Tastes like S#@t.” I was glad she was freed from the concept of not being outspoken. I haven’t mastered that one yet. As her memory faded, her ability to be directly experiencing the present moment was taking over. It is also an influence on my work that I’m realizing only as I am writing this. I feel my mom around these days. Maybe it’s because my birthday is approaching. Or, maybe I’m expanding my capacity to sense what is present that we are not aware of. I don’t really know.

In regard to today’s Black and White Friday image, I was rolling out my garbage to the curb and this little gift was in my driveway. What struck me was this delicate, bedazzled wing, was a product of the intense thunderstorms that have been passing through Columbia the last few nights. This too, is a teachable moment.

Happy Friday.

Winged Enchantment © Kathryn Van Aernum

Winged Enchantment © Kathryn Van Aernum

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