Monday, June 2, 2014

Of Transitions and Treasures

by Dotti

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven.
                                                                         ~ The Book of Ecclesiastes

It’s that time of year again, isn’t it? I call it the season of transitions, this season of graduations, weddings, anniversaries. {Today just happens to be my wedding anniversary!} There is a common rhythm to our lives: infant, toddler, preschooler, elementary school, middle school, then the first ‘big’ one – high school followed too quickly by the really big one – college or career or military.

And it doesn't stop there. The transitions continue: graduation, graduate school or career, perhaps marriage, and then perhaps grandchildren. All these things come in their own seasons and we are powerless to stop them. We move from young adults to middle age to older adults. Our heartfelt protests will not stop the march of time and the transitions of life.

The big one. The one that allows our ducklings to leave the nest, leaving us with an empty nest.

My little duck family seems to be better prepared for that empty nest than we humans do. They nurture their young while they need it and then push them out on their own. All of us, I’m sure have witnessed the mother bird teaching her young to reach farther and farther for the food she brings until they realize they can fly on their own, they can find their own food.

But for so many of us who are part of the human species, it doesn’t go quite so easily and smoothly, does it? It’s something we’ve talked about many times here at FOL, readers and contributors alike, how we ventured into photography to help fill the void in our lives. Not all of us, but many of us.

Photography itself is a transitional experience, a journey. We pick up the first, simple point-and-shoot or 35mm camera. Oh, my! This is fun. So we graduate to our first DSLR. Oh, wow! This is even better. Then we might move to a fancier DSLR, more lenses, and possibly even more accessories. But in the end we learn that it isn’t the equipment that makes the photo, it’s our vision, and our hearts, and our imaginations as well as the desire and will to continue to pursue our passion, to push through the periods of drought until passion and creativity return.

Whatever you want to do, if you want to be great at it, 
you have to love it and
be able to make sacrifices for it.
                                                                      ~ Maya Angelou

We all know that Maya Angelou made the final transition in her life last week. What a treasure she was! {I know - you were wondering where the treasure came in.}

I had the privilege of hearing Ms. Angelou speak at the college where I used to work. She is as regal and as poignant, as wise and as funny as you always imagined she would be. She spoke from the heart; she sang; she laughed; she cried; the whole gamut of emotions. What I took away from her that night was her intense desire to spread love and acceptance and tolerance and peace - for we are all human.

{That very night, we learned of the invasion of the first Iraq War so I will forever connect those two events. And the dissonance they brought to my heart.}

But, anyhow, as I thought about my post today, I googled quotes that are attributed to Ms. Angelou. If you admire her as I do, I suggest you do the same. There were seven pages of them on Brainy Quotes. I copied 36 into my ‘quote doc’ and could have copied many more. They are well worth your time to read them.

Early in her life, she learned that she could - and wanted to - write, particularly during her mute period. Once that voice was unleashed, it was never again quieted. And, oh, my! How much she had to say. It boggles my mind that one person could have such insight, such pathos, such depth.

So I’ll leave you now with this quote from Ms. Angelou:

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel.

Be sure to check out the Monthly Focus tab at the top of the page. This month's theme is 'Patterns' and you'll find more information and inspiration under the tab. It should be a fun month!


Sarah Huizenga said...

What a great post Dotti! She was a truly amazing woman. If we all could be 1/1000 of what she was, the world would be such a better place.

kelly said...

a beautiful post dotti and a perfect way to start the week. ms. angelou was such an inspiration...i can only image how moving it must have been to hear her speak in public.

susan said...

Oh Dotti… how I love this post. Transitions are not always easy and this hits home more than you know. Thank you for touching on this subject… for the thoughtful tribute to Maya Angelou… and the lovely photos as well. I'll leave you with this last thought that came to me while meditating early this morning… just before dawn. 'The sun rises. The sun sets.' And it went over and over in my mind, repeatedly. Life is a continuous motion, full of transitions. It's up to us to trust in these transitions and embrace them, wholeheartedly… as best we can. {{{hugs}}}

Unknown said...

Wonderful thought-provoking post today, Dotti. Transitions ... I love that you reminded us that we are powerless to stop them. It makes it easier to accept. I would have loved to have seen Maya Angelou speak. I think I'm going to try to find a good book about her work ... do you know of any?

Cathy said...

Yes, transitions, our lives are full of them. Why we fight them I don't know... what a great post and tribute to an amazing woman. I envy the fact that you got to hear her in person.

terriporter said...

So many times I see a quote or hear it and think, "Oh, I love that!" and it turns out to be one from Maya Angelou. Such an amazing person she was and what a thrill to have been able to see her in person! I have never been one to like change and yet, when I realize I have no control over some of the changes in my life, it helps me to stop and remember that time will move forward whether we want it to or not and to fight against it is fruitless. Thinking of them as transitions rather than changes is a good way to remind ourselves that they are natural and to accept and even enjoy them. As much as I miss my children being young, I love that they have grown into people I enjoy being with and I am so proud of the men they have become. Nothing stays the same and sometimes the change we fought against will turn out to be something even better.

Deanna said...

A beautiful post, Dotti. We all have those transitions to journey, some more gracefully than others. But life continues and it is in the acceptance that is the true reward. A lovely tribute to Maya Angelou and you have given us my favorite quote from her. I have been thinking about that quote quite a bit lately, how simple, but how powerful!!

Kim Stevens said...

Yes, Dotti...we were on the "same page" this week. Change, journey, transitions....sometimes they are hard, sometimes they are just long, but there is always something to learn through them if we are willing. Although, lately I could do with a little less learning, if you know what I mean.

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