DAY TWO: THE FIVE DAY BLACK AND WHITE CHALLENGE

“Let the beauty we love be what we do.”

Rumi.

I gazed up and up through the palm fronds to the conservatory dome above. It was a cold February day in New York and my job was in jeopardy. I worked for the state Department of Health in a program created to help people with brain injuries maintain life at home in their communities, but deep budget cuts had torn the program apart, leaving me in a bureaucratic limbo.

There was no work that day because I (and many others) had been “sort of fired” and we were waiting to hear what was next. Would funding be restored? Was this really the end? So camera in hand, I took a trip to the botanical garden and lost myself in the restorative beauty of the conservatory.  And yes, it was very beautiful. The greens and pinks and yellows, the shapes and scents, they all worked their way under my skin, until I felt a calm certainly that everything would work out. Then my cell phone rang. Our jobs had been restored.

But here’s the thing: my mind didn’t stretch far enough (as surely my eyes did) to grasp the bigger truth. That call was just the first of a series of calls that would ping pong me in and out work for the better part of the year, until finally my job was truly gone. The positive feeling I had, and the photos I took that day that reflected a beautiful certainty? They did not reflect just the fact that I had my job back – that confident intuition reflected something much bigger.

I lost the job later that year, but with the loss came the decision to leave New York for good. I moved west, and for many long, unemployed months when I had little or no income, I joyfully explored my new home. And with camera in hand, as I explored, I created this blog. That was the bigger picture, of which I had no inkling that day among the palms – I only knew that things would work out. Since then, more and more, I’ve been able to let the beauty I love be what I do.

At the Palm House in the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, NYC, NY.

Today I invite Johnnycrabcakes  to join the 5 Day Black and White Challenge. He’s a bit ornery sometimes, so he I suspect will hate me for asking him to join a challenge. So be it. Take a look at a recent black and white photo of his that’s full of mystery.

If he’s up for it –

  1. For 5 days, create a post using any past or present photo in black and white.
  2. Each day, invite a new photographer to join the fun.

If he’s not up for it, go see him anyway – he writes really well, and takes terrific photos. And I’ll be back for the third day soon.

 

Looking at Palms

All of the images above were taken a few years ago, at the Edison and Ford Winter Estates in Fort Myers, Florida.

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Here’s another take on palms, in front of the Wilmington, North Carolina courthouse:

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And another view of palms, in the Palm House at the Conservatory, New York Botanical Garden, New York City:

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And my most recent take on palms…

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Fronds of the Windmill Palm, Trachycarpus fortunei, photographed at Everett Arboretum in Everett, Washington.