Thursday, July 15, 2010

Photo's from a drive

I like driving it is one of my favorite things to do. Driving helps me quiet my mind and think things through and mostly it helps me remember that the simplest moments are the best.

Lately I have been driving lots and lots, usually its down to Phoenix and back over the weekends to see the family and the dogs. Which is really nice except it has been extremely/unbearably warm/hot down there. So last Sunday I decided to take a drive a little closer to home and found myself driving out Williamson Valley Road, beyond where the pavement ends. I have made this drive before, and it is very pretty out this way, however instead of just going straight out Williamson Valley Road to Interstate 40 and into Seligman, I choose to turn onto to Walnut Creek Road, which turns into a beautiful drive through the Prescott National Forest. I even managed to take a few photos along the way. Even though the weather was hot and sticky, with little to no rain, it was a wonderful day.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Listening to your heart?

Over the last few months, I have had some interesting things happen in my life. Most of which have caused me to take a complete look at what I really want from life and how to go about getting it.

I mean we all say I want this or I want that...but really are we truly going after what we want? Are we listening to the one part of us that will help us the most? I know I haven't been.

This has made me wonder, what if I began to listen to what my heart is trying to tell me and not rationalizing the decision in my head?

What I realized is that the Universe/God (what ever benevolent being you believe in) has thrown some choices in my path that made me really wonder about what I am doing, why am I not listening to my heart? I have had people come into my life that I thought were "nice" people and were being honest about what they wanted from me, completely ignoring the red flags, until they were being waved at me in such a way that I could no longer doubt what my heart had been telling me from the beginning, had I chosen to listen, and not get caught up in the newness and excitement of it all.

Now, not only I have met new people, I have had the absolute wonderful pleasure of being in touch with people from my past, (thank you Face Book) which made me realize that even though time continues, lives move forward, and your head softens the memories of what was or could have been, you realize your heart never forgot and you began to wonder...

What if I listened now, to that soft whispering that is my heart telling me I have known the truth all along, urging me to be honest, honest with how I felt then and how I still feel, yes even after all this time.

I believe it is out of fear that I have not listened to my heart, fear plain and simple (well maybe not so plain or simple) but fear none the less. Of course as I look at things now, I am wondering what am I afraid of? What is it that keeps me even now from taking this step and I realize it is as simple and complicated as something a friend said to me not to long ago...she told me that I was afraid to be happy, at first I laughed off her comment but now as I examine my life I am left with the complete understanding that she was right.

Of course the problem now becomes, will I listen to the whispering that is my heart talking to me or will I go on as usual, being afraid of what my heart is saying, being afraid yet safe by living on the edge of what might possibly be the truest happiness ever? Am I willing to take that chance?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

In the moment...

I am learning to live and breathe in each moment as each moment that happens is special. These moments are trying to show me something, what that something is I can not say, all I can do is live, breathe and feel each of them, for these are the very things that help me to let go of the past, embrace the present and not to be afraid of the future. I feel it, waiting for me beckoning me to take that first step, that step which is the hardest of all steps, for once I do that the rest will follow and there will be no stopping or turning back.

I wonder what I am afraid of? Is it the unknown, then with clarity, I realize I have already taken not only the first step, but many steps towards the unknown, as I keep moving forward the past begins to recede from my vision, a little more with every step. I am living in this space, this time, this moment and whether it be from joy or sorrow, I am no longer rooted to the past, I break free to move forward, wondering as my journey begins what will happen next, but not being afraid any longer.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Venetian Ball - Halloween 2009

Historically Halloween has been the time the veils are thin.

Then again, historically lot's of things have been known to have happened.
And quite honestly?
People often say a lot of things.
Whole worlds have danced through being...which if you think about it can make your head quite spinny with the knowledge that if the veils separating time are thin, one step and you can be entirely somewhere else indeed.

Which is why one should assume a careful step on All Hallows Eve indeed.

...Or maybe you should dance instead.

It is on thin veils I would like to blame my eyes for what I saw this Halloween...then again, it could be the cupcakes. For it was heard that one bite of these enchanted cupcakes could change you into a party reveler, someone who would be dancing the night away...and perhaps even totally unaware of who your partner could be...but I had thought that was only true for the undead, those who passed before us. But I discovered instead it was their enchanted masks that brought them back to their living bodies for the night and the cupcakes are only enchanting to those who are currently inhabiting their living bodies, and thus ensure that once they leave this life that they are able to come back for one more celebration.

Imagine walking down any deserted street on Halloween and coming upon this scene. Hearing the gentle sound of music from days gone by...from a wind up record player, it's scratchy music carrying through the tree tops and up to the full moon in the still night. You hesitate for a only a moment, a bit unsure of where the music is coming from before you continue to walk further down the street, only to stop short by the ghosts of a distant past who are gathering, as they do once a year, at the old deserted house at the end of the street...waiting for the veils to thin enough that they may reach through and pick their enchanted masks...the masks that are only available to them because by chance, or fate, they ate the enchanted cupcakes while they were alive, and ensured they would forever dance the night away on All Hallows Eve.

This is not to say that they unhappily roam the Earth in their skeletal remains every other day of the year, but when given the opportunity they happily leap forth, claiming their once lost loves and live again.

If only for one night.

Peering through the gate of the house at the end of the street you would see this scene unfold...Husbands and wives, Lovers and friends each smiling at each other with their permanent skeletal grin...taking each others bony hands in theirs and gathering for their party, waiting for their masks to appear out of the swirling mists of time.

It is said in this life, if you put on a mask you can become anyone or anything that you want to. Masks breathe life into who you have hidden from yourself and you are free to be what it is you want in every wild dream you have...even if it happens to be such a thing as alive (as it often is) and it is from behind the mask that you realize you are truly magic.

Of course, enchanted cupcakes help...but only in the afterlife.

But the masks? They help bring fort your own hidden magic. The magic that you sometimes have put aside and have learned to hide.

You see the skeletons that are gathered in the overgrown yard reach through the thinning swirling veil and excitedly grab for their masks...the gentlemen so politely helping their ladies with their new faces for the night before reaching for their own, each hand turning once again to the soft flesh they once wore as they grasp their masks and each partier delighted to be alive for one more night.

You would think that given the chance, these apparitions may yearn for more than this one brief night of eternal life, and would jump at the chance to dance each night away...But reanimation is hard on one, and the reality is that they need to lie in wait the other 364 days of the year for this party...after all, one could say that the chance to come back even for one night to experience life once again is a gift, and they are not a greedy bunch.

They frolic and laugh and sing and dance as they follow each other through the thicket to the party that they know lies somewhere around this it does every year. The party that waits in time and imagination set forth by some unseen universal butler and maid, waiting to be attended. You follow them then, by opening the gate and walking far enough behind to not catch their attention, there is no need to be a party crasher and besides, you think you may have seen the littlest reveler wink at you, taking her finger to her lips in a silencing motion, before beckoning you with her little hand to come with them.

Come join the party.

Truthfully however, the partiers would never mind another soul joining them for the is for them in the after life as it was in the living and they abide by the creed The More The Merrier, for it makes the dance so much more fun, and there are always enough masks to go around.

This way, they can switch partners if they wish, because all you have to do is ask...

As they only have one night to inhabit their living bodies, they push through until dawn only stopping to take refreshment and eat one last enchanted cupcake before the veil demands the masks back and they go off to rest once more.

But, that enchanted cupcake is so very important...for it ensures that they get invited to come back next year for another party, and another chance at real breath and real magic.

What would you do if after a night of dancing a thin hand reached out of the swirling mists of time to offer you an enchanted cupcake and the chance to use your own magic to return to your loved ones after you are gone from this life?

Won't you join us?

Special Thanks and Acknowledgments:

DaNece Hacker for her complete creative photographic vision and image editing skills and her complete enthusiasm for this shoot (even if she didn't get to actually be IN it this time)

Clay Lightfoot for being my dance partner and all his encouragement and help in setting up, staging, acting and posing.

Sadira Conley (myself) who organized, propped, costumed, art directed and co created this fun Venetian Party...and who is, as always, totally is honored by the outpouring of encouragement and enthusiasm she was lucky enough to receive from her community.

Kim Garrett who is a wonderful long time friend and continuing source of inspiration who enthusiastically waved her hand around and volunteered to participate in this project (and hopefully many more)

Sean Souva musician extraordinaire and a very brave man who for some reason, jumped at the chance to pretend to be dead for an evening...and all around good sport and great friend.

Rowan Rain who is a very talented masseur when she is not eating enchanted cupcakes for the chance to dance the night away, and when approached about joining the party, immediately delved into her wardrobe of party clothes and danced her way over...

Rozzilyn VanTuyl my beautiful and talented niece (who is also tall and much more the model type than some of us, ahem) who donned a mask and partook of the enchanted cupcake for an evening.

Susan Smart who also happens to be my mother...who has been and will always be my first source of inspiration and encouragement. She also owns Keystone Antiques and Gypsy Street Antiques (a few doors down, but is so new there is no listing as of yet) which were both completely instrumental in the staging and propping of this shoot. She stocks a wide variety of whimsical and fantastic antiques, collectibles, and decor at her two shops and welcomes people 7 days a week to pop by and visit. Dancing is encouraged.

Please join all the other parties going on this Halloween that are being hosted and inspired by Vanessa over at The Fanciful Twist! Who, without the invitation, this party may never have taken place (or rather, it would have taken place but certainly not photographed and documented quite the same)

The list of parties is on her sidebar and will be made into a permanent link in time.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Vacation Photo's

Bar Sign in Eureka Springs, AK

Last month I was lucky enough to be able to take a road trip w/my mom and my most favorite canine Lola out to Pleasant Hope MO, to see my Aunt and Uncle. This road trip covered 3200 miles, five states, and 850+ pictures, with several stops along the way. This was Lola's first long distance road trip and she did great. These are some of my favorite pictures during the trip, it was a much needed vacation as it helped to put things in my life into perspective, that is always a good thing! (I am hoping to finish all the photo's this weekend and have them up on flickr)

St. Josephs Catholic church in Mescalero NM

The doors to the church

Old Barn off State Route 27 in MO

Lola & I @ Pivot Rock in Eureka Springs, AK

Sunflower ~ Eureka Springs, AK

Chief the puppy Lola got to play with while on vacation

Princess Lola

Thursday, October 8, 2009

defensive driving school ~ really??

Ok, so last Saturday found me sitting in the defensive driving class over at Yavapai County Safety School while at first I thought that this would be another one of those monotone boring classes, I was pleasantly surprised that this class was not like that.

The teacher Mike Littrell, is an Aviation Inspector with 16 years under his belt which makes for some very interesting conversations on what causes accidents of any kind. The fact that he seems to be very passionate about this class and as he put it, if he can change the way just one person thinks when they are out there driving then it is worth his time, makes this the class to attend if you have a choice of going to school or paying the fine. Besides he gives out candy and who doesn't like candy?

Of course, everytime I come to an intersection I can hear Mike saying it only takes a second to save a life, and I find myself looking left, then right and then left again. Maybe it won't save my life or anyone elses today, but you never know when taking that extra second to be careful will pay off.

Monday, September 28, 2009