Monday, June 25, 2012

Oregon Summer

Photo set by Chloe...

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved

I do a lot of photography of nature for this blog to honor the fact that many Gen Xers felt like they hardly got to experience nature as latchkey kids and growing up in a time where everyone started to become afraid to play outside. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

When God Visits Baseball Fields

Some people say they experience or sense the presence of God in church or some place of worship.  Many say that it is more often found in other places - in random places, or places in nature, or during some moment of the human experience.  I was at the park with my family recently, and because it's a really new park, hardly anyone yet knows about it so there was hardly anyone there.  My family and I had entire baseball fields to walk around on barefoot, the sun was bright, and the breeze was cool.  My husband took my daughter to run around in the distance.  Since there was no one in sight, I lied down on the grass for a while.  When I sat up, I instantly stood up, because it was in this moment I felt that sacred presence.   Because of the solemnity and even the intimacy of moments like these I would normally hesitate to photograph that presence, it felt in that moment that I needed to.  My cell phone camera somehow picked up the prisms coming from the rays of light spilling out onto the soft, green grass, and maybe a little bit of the profound peace and warmth I could feel as I stood there with this sense that it is all going to work out - that it is all going to be okay, that it is all going to be amazing.   Sometimes God shows up next to the spray of waterfalls, or among the incense during a liturgical offering, or in the warm embrace of someone who wholeheartedly loves you.  Sometimes, when the clouds are silver and the sun is perfect, God shows up in baseball fields.  

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe Koffas - all rights reserved

Monday, June 11, 2012

What I Learned from the Fireflies at Dusk Project

Spring came at the end of the Fireflies at Dusk project , and a tiny egg had fallen from a tree and landed softly on the grass of my back yard - it looked as if a baby bird had hatched from it just moments before.... 

I had set out to bring alive many of the things from the general collective experience of Gen X as well as specific things from my own childhood by doing the Fireflies at Dusk project.  The experience was extraordinary.  The project took on a life of its own and went in directions I often did not expect.

This is what I learned:

1) That you must demand time to stop before it passes you by.  Living within time comes when you can stop constantly chasing it.  This can be either the moment or the season.  Little ones constantly teach us how to do this.

2) You must stop and acknowledge how alive you really are.  Only good things can follow this, and you find that unexpected doors open for you.

3) When you have a thought surface in your consciousness over a long period of time, this often means you need to do something about it.  Finding old readers from my childhood that had surfaced constantly in my memory ended up causing this whole project to happen.

Pack and your bags and visit that place.
Open the book and read the story.

We often wait far too long to do things that are close to our hearts.  Why not do it now, why not do it this weekend?

When you make things come alive that are close to your heart, it will come alive for the people you love, too.  Soon  you will find that your memories become fused together -  full of the same things, the same places, the same moments.

My daughter and I held this little blue shell in our hands while a baby bird in the nest above us began its first day of life.  Little ones always stop to enjoy the miraculous while we rush by it.  If we stop and enjoy it too, it will change us.

What if the narrative of your childhood is still being written?  What if you can bring light to the places that were good and make them come alive and in the process make what was dark become less dark?   I spent a year of my life showing people I love the good things from my growing-up years and by making new traditions for my family, my hope is that others will be inspired to do the same.

What matters is bringing good things and memories to life - and what bears the most weight of all is the issue of now - the present moment.   There are children now, in this moment experiencing their childhoods and childhood is a powerful time that stays with you always.  Because it is so important, we need to do everything we can as Gen Xers to protect, love nurture, and bring joy to our children.  Whether or not you're a parent, there are always fun things you can do with the kids in your life (or even the adults in your life who are kids at heart.)

This project also turned out to be in part a quest to find my authentic self.  Sometimes we need to meet up with that person in some other city or even in your own backyard and make some promise to live with more conviction - the kind that prompts you to follow your own heart.  During this project - a project that became a journey - I learned how to be more true to the substance that makes up my soul.  And in the short time we are given to live our life, being true to ourselves is one of the most important things we can do.  Thank you for going on this journey with me.

(c) 2012 photography and writing by Chloe - all rights reserved