Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

The Secrets in a Rose

Sunday, April 2nd, 2017

Photo by Pamela Hale

What do you see when you look at the center of this rose? What emotions do you feel?

When it appeared as one of spring’s first offerings in my garden, I marveled at the perfection of the folds and their graceful sweep. And, I am drawn to the center, wondering in awe at the source of this creation.

The center of all flowers must contain the mystery, the source of their blooming, the secret behind their fragrance and the perfection of their beauty. And of course, if we were to tear the rose apart to discover the secret, we would destroy it. Somehow it is the very form the mystery takes that is part of its perfection. The mystery unfolds on its own, in its own time and in its own way. Just as we do. Just as life does.

I’ve long associated the rose with the power of the Virgin Mary, especially since I live in Tucson, a region where the Virgin of Guadalupe is very present. My husband and I have visited the chapel and shrine to her in Mexico, where a peasant named Juan Diego had an encounter with her and found an imprint of roses inside his poncho afterwards.

For me, the energy and power of the Virgin Mary is paired with Mary Magdalene and the other Marys in the Christian tradition, and the rose reminds me of all of them. They are, for me, aspects of the Divine Feminine that we need desperately now, regardless of our religious beliefs.

And so I was delighted, after I took this photo, to read this article (https://www.thoughtco.com/sacred-roses-spiritual-symbolism-rose-123989 )on the sacred symbolism of the rose that expanded its meaning for me. It turns out that the rose is a key symbol dating from pre-Christian times and associated with devotion to the goddess Venus. For Muslims, roses are symbols of the soul, and are sprinkled through the ecstatic poetry of Rumi and Hafiz. Hindus and Buddhists consider than to be expressions of spiritual joy. And when the fragrance of the rose is present and roses cannot be seen, God is at work.

As for the “mystic rose,” as the Virgin Mary is called, I had never thought of the prayer Catholics offer to her being the “rosary.” The repetition of the rosary is meant to be like a “spiritual bouquet” offered to The Virgin. And since women are particularly devoted to her, she is a powerful spiritual ally for the feminine principle.

I learned that essential rose oil vibrates at 320 megahertz of electrical energy, the highest vibration of any oil. The nearest competitor is lavender at 118. It was humbling to learn that a healthy brain vibrates at a range of 71-90!

If a loved one gives you a rose, no wonder it’s considered a sign of true love. And pay attention to the color. White is said to represent purity, red represents sacrifice and passion, yellow suggests wisdom and joy, and lavender symbolizes wonder, awe and positive change.

I say, be your own lover and give yourself a rose. And you might consider that an invitation for a miracle or angelic encounter. When the deep power of femininity is called forth, mysteries can be solved, wisdom revealed, and the perfection of Beauty can become the medicine for all ills.

 

This post can also be seen on Huffington Post at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58e17d4be4b03c2b30f6a7c2

My Favorite Photograph

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

untitled-1022-2

Light.co, a camera technology company , recently posed the question: what is my favorite photo among all I’ve taken? This is like asking me what my favorite experience is. I absolutely cannot choose. But, I’m selecting a recent favorite from a wonderful adventure in Alaska.

This photo was taken on that cruise that so many have taken through the inland passage, where the views of glaciers and the big, big landscape of Alaska are so stunning. This scene appeared to me when we were on our way out of Glacier Bay, the most dramatic views of calving ice behind us, and the day almost done.

For me the beauty and power of photography is not about the technique, but is always about the gift of new sight. After about 40 years of serious photography, I am still stunned when something appears to me in a form that looks new.

In this case, the mountainside appeared to be curving up and around the valley like an enormous wave. The patterns of ice swept grand across them like clouds in a windswept sky. How could I capture this in a two-dimensional format?

It had to be a matter of framing. I tried enclosing just the ice patterns, and the effect was lost. But when I included a hint of earthy colors below, it gave just enough context. Still, I find viewers have trouble deciding whether they are looking at mountains or sky, ice or clouds.

I love any landscape that appears on its own to be painterly. I try to manipulate as little as possible, just accentuating the contrast our eye sees but the camera misses, and making the colors as deep and rich as they appeared in the moment. I’m after the same feeling I had when I saw it.

It was a thrill to be debuting my new equipment, and okay with me that the photo is a bit soft because of the movement of the ship–in spite of the image stabilizing lens.

I probably will never encounter a photograph that qualifies as my all time favorite. What I really hope is that the candidates will just keep on increasing. In that case, I’ll know I am growing as a seer—someone who pays attention enough to be present for the world’s incredible array of visual moments. They make me grateful every day for my eyes, and for the part of me who responds passionately to what I see.

 

 

Going Home Again: A Lesson in Compassion

Tuesday, May 26th, 2015

home again

I’m driving along the same street I traveled for years, to take my kids to school and soccer practice, going right by our old house. Only this time my three grandchildren are in the car. Everything is the same, in a sense. Only the trees are a lot taller and I’m a lot older. The spiral of life has gone around a turn, and I’m at the same spot again, only at a new level. Deja vu, but not.

I grew up in this area, and still harbor the visions of the familiar streets framed the way they were when I was as little as my grandkids. I pass the wall with the holes at the top, where my grandfather lifted me up to peek through. One of my first memories. We pass the graceful house where my mother and I lived with her parents after my father was killed. Those grandparents probably saved the day.

I remember being in the thick of parenting, right in the middle of planning three meals a day, doing endless loads of laundry, trying to figure out why only single socks emerge from the dryer, and attempting to explain some of life’s deeper mysteries and heartbreaks to two growing girls, without breaking apart their hopefully secure foundation. Now I’m driving carefully, hoping I can get these three to school at the right dropoff place with all the stuff they need and any arguments solved so they can have a happy day.

My ambitions have been simplified, along with my life. My daughter is the one who must manage a daily schedule so dense that any illness or breakdown or minor crisis will use up the slim margin of time and energy she has available. She is usually sleep deprived, always vigilant, and missing the luxury I have of timing a walk in nature, a meditation, and maybe an afternoon nap.

I am full of admiration for her, and for these three passengers of mine. My daughter and her husband have taken what I gave to her and revved it up a notch. My daughters are better mothers that I was.

I am trying to catch any shreds of shame about the mistakes I made and coat them with love and compassion. After all, that’s what I want my daughters to do. See their journey as mothers the same way they might see the whole journey of life: a partially blind expedition into the unknown, armed with good intentions.

By the time I drop the three precious ones at school the last day, before my flight home, tears spring up and flood me. After worrying about whether I could manage all three, I have done it. Now I’m sad to go. Next time I’ll volunteer for a longer stint.

The tears also signal my grief at being a special event grandmother who lives far away. I must visit their lives instead of being a daily part of them. My influence will come in bursts, rather than being part of the orchestral melody of their growing up. I hope the theme of my influence has to do with being true to your own true self, honoring your creativity, and putting your relationship to the natural world ahead of the artificial one.

I cry because I see that as a grandmother, I have led many lives. Probably ones I don’t remember, with each of them. And then within this one, there has been my life as a child, then as a mother, and now as an elder. The observer in me is pleased. All the strands have woven together in a feeling of gratitude. It is good to be home again.

 This is a reprint of a favorite post for theSpiritedWoman.com I wrote last year after babysitting for my grandchildren. This year I’m missing them. And, I’m still trying to learn the lessons of how to have compassion for myself.

Is there a way you can “go home again” and re-visit a memory, coating it this time with compassion?

 

 

Pele Speaks

Tuesday, May 19th, 2015

Pele speaks

I’ve decided to renew my relationship with my art, and so I’m sharing this first piece in a new series called Messages from the Mother.

At various times I become aware that my photographs are pretty, but don’t speak to the whole of my awareness–especially in areas that don’t look as pretty! This has happened lately with my aerial photos. I love flying over the earth and always celebrate the beauty that is revealed from above, especially in areas otherwise inaccessible. It feels like such a privilege to be able to fly over uninhabited land, and to study Mother Earth’s contours and colors and patterns.

And…there is more to discuss.

We are all painfully aware of the mess we have found ourselves in regarding our relationship with the Mother. I heard the other day that some experts are saying we have already crossed that tipping point where we could have reversed the damage. Certain species, phenomena and levels of comfort may already be out of our reach. And we have no one else to blame.

And so lately when I fly with my husband over the body of the Mother, I wonder what messages she is sending. What do my own pretty photos of her suggest to me? If she were to speak, what would she say?

Wondering this, I wandered to the desk where I occasionally do art, and opened the drawer. There was a postcard I bought in Hawaii, with a picture of Pele. She is a force in the islands, particularly on the Big Island, where she resides in volcanic splendor, occasionally erupting in seeming fury, destroying everything within her reach.

Amazed at the serendipity, I took the postcard over to my framed photo of the Painted Desert in Arizona. The colors matched perfectly, and so did streaks of light on the postcard and the photo. Meant to be, I figured. I unframed the photo and began my new series.

The large white piece of paper with the black curved form is a scan I saved from my breast cancer treatment. Pele might be saying she needs treatment from the cancer she is suffering from–due to our incessant, unstoppable consumption of her resources.

The two orange circles are photographic records of the emissions of stars. Pele might be reminding me that we are part of a large system–a universe that is interdependent, and still largely mysterious to us. When we remember this, our hubris softens.

The graphs below the star images are records of temperatures in different areas of our country. We know weather is wild now, and we know as the climate changes, so must we.

Below Pele’s face are a weather map from the newspaper, a New York Times photo of the California drought and a report of storms that soaked the plains in a surprise flooding spring rain. “What do you expect?” I hear Pele wondering.

Now, with the re-framed piece on my wall, the beauty of the Painted Desert is more poignant, more bittersweet. Pele is reminding me to change my ways. To learn to live with less water, less possessions, less meat, less waste, less entitlement.

How do I feel about her messages? Of course they are sobering, but they are not new information. So I am grateful that she is working her way into me, into my heart, my thoughts, my body and my actions. I am only one person, but so are you. And how we respond to this gorgeous earth and her needs will determine everything about our future.

 

What is Your Blue Star?

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

IMG_6972

The Hopi people we met in Arizona on a spiritual tour with Carla Woody (http://www.kenosis.net) allowed us to see and photograph a petroglyphic symbol of a blue star that appeared long ago, to signal their way home. The story they told us was that when they emerged through a sipapu or opening in the earth in northern Arizona, they met Masau, the guardian of the earth, who told them they could inhabit this world if they would abide by his instructions.

He told them to make migrations into the four directions, and after spreading far and wide he told them they would be signaled back to the place of their emergence.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hopi_mythology)  According to the Hopi records they inscribed into petroglyphs and according to their oral tradition, they migrated far into Alaska and Canada, west and east to the oceans, and south into Central America. Some of them stayed there and became the Mayans; others stopped in the pueblos on the way back and created communities there. When the blue star appeared, some of them knew if was time to return to Northern Arizona, the place of their emergence, and to form villages there. These are the ones we visited.

It’s a powerful story, and one that traditional Hopis believe is truth, not myth. They are still following their original instructions and living simple lives, planting corn (some of them still by hand, with a planting stick) and faithfully continuing their kiva ceremonies. When the faithful ones pass on, they join the katsina spirits, who live on the sacred San Francisco Peak, near Flagstaff. Every winter solstice they dance and do ceremony to welcome the katsinas back to the villages. Every summer solstice, they give them a ceremonial sendoff.

In the photo above, taken on Hopi land, you can see an ancient symbol of the migrations–three of them–in a spiral that took thousands of years. To the right, you see a person, and in the middle you see the blue star.

The Hopi have come home. Life at home is not easy for them. Promises have been broken and they have suffered and sacrificed. But they are staying true to what is central to them, what has heart and meaning. That is the place home is–not just a physical location.

Where is home for you? When you arrive at the center of your being, which I know you have, what signs do you have that this is your inner home? Even if there are uncomfortable things, sacrifices, even suffering that has been involved in you returning home, hasn’t it really been worth it? Isn’t it what life is all about?

What is the “blue star,” the signal that tells you it’s time to return to your real self, to cease your wanderings, to return to being the one you where when you emerged from the womb and the one you will be the day you pass from your body? Is there a call, a signal that tells you it’s time to make your way to the center again? How do you hear or see or feel that call?

Never feel lonely about being called to return. You know that even if it doesn’t seem like it when you’re out in the grocery store or at the movies, other people are wanting to return home as well. Every human, I believe, has a longing for this. And I, for one, am grateful to the Hopi people for reminding me that right here in our own back yard, we have an example of spiritual lives grounded in significance.

 

Lessons from Lobo #5

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

 

Lobo snake bite 

As protective and fierce as Lobo could appear, sometimes he was a big baby.

He must have heard Thunder speak to him like a great god who came ripping over the mountain growling and barking with a voice big enough to send him under the dining room table or huddled behind my office desk. Our Tucson monsoons are convincing for sure, but no amount of reassuring made them easy for him.

Jon made a big mistake when Lobo was a scared puppy who refused to venture into our swimming pool: he threw him in. From then on, Lobo would run along the edge barking at the water we’d splash up at him. He’d wade onto the first step and lie down there at the end of a long, hot walk in the desert. But no amount of cajoling would convince him to go deeper. He never blamed Jon; the trauma had been inflicted by the Great Pool God, who had sucked him in and pushed him under. For some reason the Pool God did not scare humans, but that was probably due to their stupidity.

Unfortunately, one fear Lobo had to learn from experience was his fear of rattlesnakes. One day when Jon was fortunately home, he heard a yelp unlike any he’d heard before. Lobo came inside foaming at the mouth, and hid under the dining room table. Jon could see two fresh pinpoints of blood on his nose. Clearly, Lobo had gotten overconfident.

After a couple of phone consults with neighbors who had various home remedies, Jon called the animal emergency hospital. “Don’t give him any antihistamine. Don’t give him anything; just get him here,” they counseled. $1800 and two vials of antivenom later, I picked him up the following morning. In this case, weighing 120 lbs. had been an advantage.

We decided that just in case he hadn’t gotten the message (after all, he still chased coyotes, mother cows and the neighborhood hawk), we’d give him snake training. We met the snake trainer out in Oracle, where he parked his truck full of penned rattlesnakes he had de-fanged himself. We’re talking the wild west here.

First, he put one of those evil Collars on Lobo, so that he could shock him if he didn’t pass every snake test: sight, sound, and smell. He put a wriggler down and took Lobo on a leash nearby. He turned around and ran; it was a pass.

Then he put a rattler in a burlap bag and annoyed it somehow, so that it rattled. Lobo got it. (Anything to avoid that Collar!)

Finally, he hid the bagged snake underneath Jon’s truck and called Lobo, unleashed, over toward the truck. Lobo leaped into the truck’s open window. An A+.

After that, on summer evening walks, we’d have Lobo lead, which he always did anyway. If he veered off the path, we followed him. In addition to being an amateur cattle herder, a rabbit population control officer and a coyote wrangler, Lobo was now a certified snake guide. When we’d find one in the yard, Jon would use our long snake tongs to hoist it into a big bucket, and he and Lobo would drive it a few miles away to vacant land and give it a new home.

And Lobo wore his snake nose tattoo proudly, probably figuring it was a badge of courage. We never had the heart to tell him that we saved his life, probably for the second time.

What Kids Taught Me about the Active Imagination

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

 

Since I was in love with photography, I wanted everyone else to be as well (nothing like the fervor of the converted.) So,I decided to teach small group photography classes in my living room.

Right away, it was clear to me that I raced through the part about f-stops and dove into explorations about light, the energetic nature of matter, and the spiritual elements of photography. After listening to me for one lesson, an adult student approached me and said she thought her son should study with me.

Billy was learning disabled, though in those days there was no label for that. Frustrated by school and in need of a success experience, Billy would “get’ the right-brained way I taught photography. Would I give him lessons?

I had another close friend with a daughter Mary, who was also having learning problems. So for $5 an hour, I worked with the two of them every week for 1 ½ years.  As a former classroom teacher, I had already formed a strong curiosity about why certain kids weren’t learning. Now I was studying all I could find about the new discoveries about the right and left brain. I felt I was being led on a treasure hunt.

The exercises I designed for Billy and Mary became the basis of curricula I would design and teach in both public and private schools. As an artist-in-residence for the South Pasadena, CA school district, I had the privilege of doing a photography project with 60 5th graders. It was called “Seen one Rock, Seen ‘Em All,”( a brazen slam at Ronald Reagan, who had made that comment about national parks.)

I gave each student a rock, and led them through a guided imagery exercise where they allowed their active imagination to play with the inner picture of that rock, allowing it to become part of a larger scene and story. I had them draw the scene and write the story.

Now the fun began. Their next challenge was to figure out how to make a photograph of that drawing, using the rock and other objects. “That’s not fair!” some of them began to protest. “You didn’t tell us we’d have to make this into a photograph! I wouldn’t have thought of something this complicated if I had known!” said one.

The student, Jack, showed me a drawing of a rock that had become an island surrounded by water, topped with trees, and blown by a strong wind causing big waves. “How am I going to do this?” he said as if it were obviously impossible.

It was a class in problem-solving, so I hinted that he might think of movie sets and dioramas. I teamed the kids up and gave them a week until the day we’d set up a simple photo studio and make the photographs, which they would then print themselves later in the studio I had now rented.

The photo above is an example of the student work, which became a school exhibit. Anna “saw’ her rock (at the top of this article) ‘turn into” her ballet slipper, well-worn from all her attempts to make it into a toe shoe, successfully poised on top of the rock it resembled. The hardness of the rock matched her hard work. The beauty of the shape matched the beauty she captured in her treasured slipper. Beautiful, I thought, and a deep message about how important dance was to Anna.

As for Jack, I couldn’t wait to see how my biggest protester would solve his problem. And so I grinned proudly when, on the day of our shoot, he walked in  with his partner, holding a plastic tub he would fill with water, tiny trees he’d made of paper, and a hair dryer.

Seen one rock, seen ’em all? Sorry, Reagan. I don’t see them that way. And neither do kids, who can see more than we think, when we give them a chance to keep their imaginations alive.

Passages

Friday, May 3rd, 2013

 

In my 30’s I began to photograph in earnest. Now that was back in the ‘70’s, so picture me stepping out in a safari-like photographer’s vest and smoking brown More cigarettes. (The More bohemian and rebellious, the better.)

I set out to explore the other side of the tracks. Mind you, I was raised in San Marino, CA, bastion at that time of white privilege, the John Birch Society (sorry if some of these references are too representative of another generation) and suspicion of “others not like us.”

I feel shame as I write this, but it’s my history.

I had lived in NYC and taught public school there for three years, so I was well “over” San Marino. But now in my adult, parental state (and back in the state of CA) I had only moved four miles away, into South Pasadena. Lawns still looked green, houses gentrified, and attitudes were changing slowly. I was in the mood for a rebellion.

I went north, into the “ghetto” of Pasadena at that time, an area full of lovely old Victorians neglected because of poverty and segregation. My camera was my passport. And architecture was my proof that I was documenting unappreciated treasures. I gained entrance into a new neighborhood and a new form of education.

What was valuable about “the old architecture” in society and in my own being that had been neglected? And what needed tearing down and renovating? What was family about? What if all the races lived together and formed one? I photographed these questions.

It was a time of great opening for me. My Victorian grandmother had passed on, and so had her way of life and viewing the world, graceful as it was. My parents appeared confused: pleased to offer me two lamb chops for dinner at the mahogany dining room table, and willing to work hard for my excellent education…yet mired in the ‘50’s view of life. I was just now trying to emerge from it.

The photograph you see is just one of the many photographs I took during that period. I had a show at a hip Pasadena gallery, showcasing several years of 35mm architectural photography. I considered it a tribute to a history that was passing, evolving.

I chose to show you this photograph because I took it in a beautiful old Pasadena classic house that I admired. On the chaise, upholstered in the perfect fabric for that period, lay a book that had been seminal for me: Gail Sheehy’s Passages. After all, I was in one.

Out the window lay some other land, one that was natural and still impressionistic and undefined for me—but one that was beckoning me. So I colored it with Marshall’s Oils, to represent new life. The path ahead.

What is your ‘old world’ now that you wish to honor as it passes and evolves? What would you photograph to represent it? And how does the new one look? What will be your passageway into that new way of seeing, that new life?

The creative wellspring

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

 

When I was about 30, I entered therapy, thinking that what I wanted was a better marriage, but unconsciously beginning a long journey into becoming more of my real self. I wanted wholeness, the real meaning of the word “healing.”

During that same period, I bought my first 35mm camera and began taking pictures of my two adorable daughters. And then, photographing in a much more serious way. A symbolic way.

One of my photos was of a cutting from a houseplant  The photo was of slender roots emerging into the water contained in a Mason jar.

 I made a print of my photo and gave it to my therapist, explaining that it was a self-portrait. I was like that cutting now—severed from my past and growing my own tentative versions of new roots. When I finished therapy years later, I gave my therapist a tree! I had grown, and now identified as not just the tree, but also a bird whose nest was in the tree. I could fly and also had a safe home. (And, I later wrote Flying Lessons!)

All of this was expressed best by my creative self, who also took up the guitar, filled numerous journals with bad poetry, and played the piano and sang sad old standards. She (that creative self) had come out of the closet, and the observer in me wondered why the explosion of self-expression.

Along with that creativity came a flood of sexuality (I’ve always been a late bloomer) and a deep dive into spirituality. I began to ask myself, “Do creativity, sexuality and spirituality all emerge from the same wellspring?”  And, “What is their connection to my healing journey?”

I’ve had plenty of opportunities to pursue those questions as a writer, photographer and two-time breast cancer survivor. And, I’ve watched many clients now over the years. And here’s what I think:

1.     Creativity, sexuality and spirituality are all forms of the Life Force, and so they do all emerge from a deep wellspring within us, and within the Universe as a whole.

2.     Healing happens from a deeper place than the mind, which understands little of the Creation and its miracles.

3.     When we begin to heal, Life Force is released, and we can’t help wanting to express the joys and sorrows we experience when that happens.

 

4.     When we express ourselves in any creative form, the life force has a place to be seen, appreciated and anchored in our system.

5.     And so, creativity begets more healing. It’s a positive cycle

So here’s the takeaway for you:

1.     What form of creativity is YOU, right now? Remember, it doesn’t have to be art. Cooking, gardening, decorating, creating something beautiful…these are creative acts.

2.     What does it feel like in your body when the life force is moving through you? Call on that feeling and trust that it is healing you in every way.

3.  What if you trusted that just giving yourself time to create might heal all that does not feel well or whole or right within you?

Even if you’re in a period of your life where you feel cut off from your self or your past, you may be growing the roots of a great tree. See if you can trust the life force within you to show you the way.

A Tribute to Lives Cut Short

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

 

Ninety-five years ago this man, James Struthers Lochhead, was born.

I took this snapshot of my Dad in the late ‘80’s when I was an adult with my own children, He was visiting us in our house, and so it seemed like the moment for a photo. I didn’t think about it much.

But today, in the turbulent wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, I’m thinking about him.

My Dad became my Dad when I was 6 ½, having been without my biological father for 4 years. Robert Hale was a bomber pilot shot down over Germany in 1945, just before World War II ended. He left my mother bereft, saddled with a mysteriously troubled mind (many years later she was diagnosed bipolar) and unprepared for either the world of work or full time mothering.

My Daddy Jim adopted me, and my name was changed from Hale to Lochhead. He treated me as his own, equal to the son he and my mother would have together. I can’t imagine what my life and my mother’s life would have been like without him.

Dad was the rock. A classic optimist, his mantra was that we could be whatever we wanted to be. He worked hard, and provided us with a wonderful education. He barbequed the best ribs in the world, loved corny jokes, and cried at Lassie on TV. He drove old cars and saved his money, leaving me with enough to allow me to follow the work that is my calling.

After my mother died of cancer in 1990, Dad married one of her best friends. After I got over the shock, I saw them free to have fun together, to be equals, to harvest. But two months after their wedding, Dad was diagnosed with Stage 4 brain cancer. He lived for 9 months. Life was cut short at 74.

So maybe I’m thinking of Dad because of all the lives that either got cut off way too soon, or altered forever by the pressure cooker bomb at the finish line in Boston. For a sporting event, this was not fair.

I see in this photo of my Dad his open and friendly manner, his love for me, and also I see tension in his jaw and a sadness around the eyes that speaks now of the disappointments he would never have mentioned then.

I changed my name back from Lochhead to Hale because of a circle I got to complete by getting to know my biological roots. And, the word “Hale” means “whole,” “healthy” and “hardy,” encouraging words for a two-time cancer survivor.

But today I raise my imaginary glass to the legacy my Daddy Jim gave me. He always said that he wanted to live in such a way that any day would be a good day to die. I feel him still, giving me that encouraging look about my journey.

I pray today that the spirits of those lost and injured in Boston live on so strongly that when their loved ones look at their photos, they will do more than remember. I hope they will feel the spirit of their precious one and know they are not alone.

My Daddy tells me he is held in strong arms, that he flies with the stars, and that he knows his smile can still be felt, even in the midst of troubled times.