April 1, 2020 /

Pacific Northwest Forest Portrait Session


I feel stripped of a lot lately. I’m sure we all feel that in some way, as the state of our country and world shifts rapidly with COVID-19. Some are stripped of their work, some of their education, some of their health, some of their travel plans, etc. Mom, dad & I keep ending rants with “it’s a weird time to be alive”, and it truly is.

I had a great year planned. My first ever international hiking elopement in the Dolomites of Italy was booked, a destination wedding in Portugal the week just after, to be followed by an intimate wedding in the mountains of Montana. Plans were in formation for making WA more fully my home– laying roots in a new apt, exploring its grand landscape, developing community & planning weekend hiking trips. I’ve sat in some disappointment as it has all taken a huge shift in a matter of weeks.

It feels quite strange to have made a big decision to relocate across the country, begin loving my life in Seattle, and have a return visit to VA become an unexpected, prolonged stay. I’m really not trying to be dramatic here, but express honestly my own stinging discomfort to the unknown that this illness has inflicted.

The culmination of an inability to control circumstances and the helplessness to the pain of our world has provoked a feeling of utter smallness. I know this feeling well with my work, but in quite a different form. Smallness in response to powerful landscape is a cornerstone of my business and why I do what I do. I’ve sat in this alternative, uncomfortable smallness with the illness’s progression, and my mind has been fighting to build a connection between the two varying postures of humility.

I’m thinking it comes down to this: where is our hope placed? Is it in what we do? What we have? Maybe what we’ve planned? & then furthermore what happens to us when our hope forcibly cannot be found there. I’m learning that there’s a choice involved in disappointment. We can choose to let the pain we feel be the end all be all, or we can acknowledge that pain through the eyes of our hope placed in something significantly more reliable than the plans we make, something bigger than what we’re even able to touch.

I believe that this hope I speak of is the same hope that’s living & breathing amidst those same grand landscapes that move me to insignificance. A wild force of beauty that can create majestic mountain peaks and vibrant sunsets. The cool thing about this beauty is that it often has nothing to do with us. It breathes completely on its own, and simply invites us to inhale its air. & another cool thing– it doesn’t just dwell on mountaintops or in the deep wilderness, but all around us, though harder to recognize with the distractions of everyday life.

Maybe that’s what this weird time at home can be for: redefining our hope. Letting the small moments of those colorful spring blooms blowing, of light peeking through the window, of love felt from the support of your community even from afar, profoundly inform the moments of defeated smallness that this illness has brought. Maybe it’s time to shift the foundation of what we stand on a bit, and make some room for dreams/hopes/plans much larger than ourselves.

I miss this landscape shown in the images below, one always evergreen. I miss my teeny garage apt that felt like a tree house. I miss the people I’d grown to love. But I also am thankful for the close proximity to mom & dad’s boundless care in a critical time. I’m fortunate to be once again just a walking distance to so many friends that intimately know me. & I’m expectant to see what shape this year takes, cause I’m honestly sayin’ there’s no tellin what’s in store! I’ll see you when I see you, WA. <3



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