Thursday, July 9, 2015

"webs that held the raindrops"

I tweeted a photo to a couple of people a few weeks ago because I felt bad for them. They had flown to their friend's bedside to be with him for what they knew would be his last breaths. Life was leaving. The most precious thing was there, and then it wasn't. It was heavy and beautiful time spent.

Neil wrote a bit about it, about the daylight and what he saw. He saw "webs that held the raindrops". My heart ached for them, these people I've never met and do not really know. I remembered I had recently taken a photograph of this very thing just a couple weeks before. I tweeted that photo to them. Me. Just a girl living in the woods, who rarely sees a lot of people. Who has never done anything grand other than my two kids, and they are the grandest. 

So I tweeted this photo, to which Neil saw it and retweeted it. Now, it's always good for kicks to be noticed, liked, retweeted and whatever, but this time it was the real deal connection. I didn't tell anyone about it. I kept it in my pocket. I felt like and hoped that my picture along with his words would bring them a bit of peace. I believe it did. 

I've shouted about fun retweets before, but this wasn't for fun. This was for healing. This was out of love. Kindness. Empathy. Friendship. Honesty. This was for what I believe we human beings are designed to do and be. 

I'm sharing this now only because I think we can all use the reminder from time to time. Be that human being, people. You never know how far your words will go. Some things in life really, really matter and some don't at all. Don't get caught up in the things that don't. 

Could I have said all of this without sharing this personal story about a tweet? Yes. 
Do I maybe still feel a little shady about putting it out there now, and like I will most likely be judged for it in some way? Sure. 

But I thought I would prove my words this time. You never know how far what you're saying will go. I'm just a girl living in the woods. On the daily I may see six people, sometimes fewer, but my words and the image I chose to share went beyond that. Try to make your gift of life count for something good and meaningful. 


Monday, June 22, 2015

complex simplicity

They want to chase their big dreams.
They want to be hobos. 
They want to be free and shine. 
They laugh and live and want never to grow old.
They want complex simplicity.
They are 12.
And this 43 year old can completely relate. 


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

break from the norm

This is why we're drawn to the fair. When you walk in and see the colors and the lights, and smell the sweet smell of funnel cake and cotton candy. The wind is coming from the rides. The music is loud and fun. Little kids laugh and run. It's bright and vivid, and the excitement builds as you drive closer and the night sky is brightened with all that awaits. A break from the norm. 

Eventually, the lights start to cast long, dark shadows, the music turns to the hum of a carnival nightmare; gloomy and dim. Carnies bark at adults to play the games and they yell at kids, and babies cry. It all starts to swim around in a dizzying spin. When you walk out you may catch a whiff of regurgitated funnel cake. It ain't so sweet then. It can have the air of Wrong Turn. If you haven't seen that movie, don't watch it. It's horrifying. 

Then it's over. You bid it farewell in the rear view. You know the good outweighs the bad, and you know you'll do it all again next year. 


Thursday, June 11, 2015


Being a grownup is highly overrated. 
I must do stuff and I get to do stuff. 
I only get to do the stuff I want because I do the things I must. 
I like get better than must.
I guess it all works out. 
Ever say a word like get or must, and it starts to sound like it's not a word?
Yeah, that's happening right now. 


Monday, June 8, 2015

flip of the coin

I almost deleted Facebook the other day out of sheer boredom. Probably a flip of the coin would've decided whether or not to continue even writing here. 

It's different than being stuck or having some sort of writer's block. It's quiet and without care. It's bizarre is what it is. 

Going from needing to write something down to find some peace, to not writing anything and peacefully not having a second thought about it is really weird. And yet, not weird enough for me to sweat it. It's just... meh

I've been writing here for three years and loving it. I almost shut it all down a few days ago. Kind of the same way I've exited a party, slip out the door when no one is paying attention. I don't know. There's something going on in me. A movement. A change. A slight ripple that could lead to the waterfall. I'm not ready to dam it up yet. I've just got my feet dug in the sand feeling the current. 


Wednesday, May 27, 2015

rock. pavement. water.

Life, so unbelievably awesome. Look at the joy in this photo. Take it with you. On those days that you're smooth sailing until you hit a rock and it trips you and sends you tumbling towards the pavement for what feels like certain death -- take the time to rest and recover, and then get back up and go for it again. Find the thing that makes you happy. There are good times and bad. A rock could send you tumbling, or it could be skipped gleefully across clear, smooth waters. 

May your rocks be pebbles, your pavement clear, and your waters like glass. 


Monday, May 25, 2015

digging, building, growing. tyler graduated. i choked. we laugh.

My head has been busy and I haven't been able to focus on one thing for a week. I've sat down to write, and I know the tune, but I can't remember the words. So after staring at a keyboard or going mindlessly from web page to web page looking for the unknown lyrics, I got up and did things. I stayed busy; my mind busier. 

I'm generally not a crier, but last week I cried twice. I was happy, sad, angry, and nervous, and I cried. Now I'm home alone in my happy place. Everything is calm. The emotion is mellow. 

The ground was concrete hard and threatened to break the shovel. I had hit gravel and no worms. Oh shit, this isn't going to be easy. I tossed the shovel and grabbed the hoe. No use. After looking to the google gods and working on the tiller that refused to start, I cried. My brother comes home next month, we're both dreaming of fresh food, and I couldn't get a start on it. I felt angry, defeated and sad, and more sad for him. 

Then a lot of rain fell, along with my tears. I picked up the shovel again. The earth was rich and the worms were plenty. I still had no tiller, but I had that shovel and hoe, and I worked both til my back ached and my hands blistered and callused. The tears dried and the sweat fell. 

Jolie helped me rake dirt around and set the plants. Tyler and I raised a fence around our little plot to keep the deer out. He would say, This isn't tight enough, or, That isn't straight enough..., and I was all, This is PERFECT! NObody ANYwhere has a more perfect fence than THIS. I love it so much. 

I came home from work to find that Tyler had gone into the woods, found a fallen tree and secured a post to the fence to make more of a handle to swing the fence open and close. It was such a gift. 

Mostly I slept solid last week. Exhausted. My mind was still buzzing. I pulled and hacked weeds. I watched bees swarm the clover. I didn't mow because of the bees. I was going to, but there were so many of them everywhere. The queen had sent them out on their missions that day, I suppose, and so how could I mow? I couldn't. I didn't. 

School let out for the summer for Jolie, Tyler was graduating, and I felt like I couldn't breathe. All of those years watching him grow, and being a little sad at the beginning of each new school year, because I knew how fast those years would go by, had now finally come to graduation. I was choking on it. 

At first he had chosen not to walk for graduation. He didn't want to do the whole dance that comes with it all. I told him I would like for him to, but it would be fine either way, that, that was between him and his diploma. He had earned it and that's all that really mattered. In the end he chose to walk, and that made me happy. He can tuck that memory in his pocket, and just as aged things become more precious, so that memory will become for him. 

I recognized, celebrated, and applauded his first baby steps, and I did it again, along with so many other mommas, as he was called by his full name, a rare thing to happen on a good occasion, as he walked strong across that stage tall and grown. I didn't cry, but man, my heart pounded.

The first day of school his senior year I cried as I watched him walk in. We laughed when he walked out the last day. We always did on those last days of school. Celebrating Summer. Summer means everything is more relaxed. It means they're home with me. This summer will be no different, but I don't know what will come after that. I still sometimes choke. We laugh. 

My head isn't as busy now and I can name that tune. So far, we're all coming home, we're still digging and building ourselves stronger, and growing. 


Monday, May 18, 2015

this is a sweet deal for my locals

Hey Friends! 
Just a post to say that I shoot people. 
And animals. 
And landscapes.
Your favorite spot in the yard. 

Here's the deal. 

Some of the sweetest moments happen when they aren't planned, when everyone is relaxed and doing what they love to do. Whether you're gardening, having a family cookout, playing in the water, blowing bubbles, dancing, making art, or just sitting, reading a book with your favorite fur baby curled by your side... 
these are the sweet spot moments. 

If you're interested, contact me. I'm flexible with time and payment. 
I'll come to where you are (within some limits) and shadow you and your family for an hour, give or take, and capture some moments in your life. 
The sweet times. 
Stop an hour on the clock for a minute. 

Here's the other deal. Money. 

(I speak with perfected experience when I say not everyone can afford whatever. 
Because I've been there. I'm there now.)

You gift me the payment you can.
And I'll gift you a cd of photos.

Scroll down to see some of my work.

atjsmith71 at


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