We entered the forest in a pool of light, which disappeared as the road narrowed and climbed towards the parking area three-quarters of a mile away. Redwoods shot upwards on every side, and leaned in over the road, blocking sunlight, blue sky and even sounds.
The temperature outside dropped, and I rolled my window back up to ward off the chill. We passed the parking lot, and continued up hill—the road shrinking even more in width and folding back almost upon itself as it climbed higher and higher. At last, we broke out into the sunshine again and hopped out to look at the view—the ordinary view of treetops and an indistinct line on the horizon where lower hills met the sky. I could hear a stream gurgling on one side, and a creek flinging itself over boulders on the other side.
No clue remained of the mysterious, awe-inspiring stand of giants that we had passed through just minutes earlier. After snapping a few photos, we returned to our vehicles and headed back down to the narrow valley floor. I couldn’t wait to stand next to the giants and try my skills at capturing their awe-inspiring beauty.
When we arrived at the parking lot, the clear air smelled dank and mossy, and every surface felt damp. As we walked along the discovery pathway, an occasional shaft of light would disorient me, and I would whip my head around, trying to figure out why my vision suddenly seemed clearer.
I felt frustrated by my photography skills in this new environment—where I didn’t know how to set the aperture values correctly to deal with the sharp contrast of light at the tops of the tress and the deep gloom at the bottom. I lamented the tripod I’d left at home—but when we left home over a week ago, I had no idea we’d be stopping by a redwood forest.
The group of family and friends I’d traveled with good-naturedly waited for me as I tried shot after shot. ‘If only I had come by myself,’ I thought, as I tried (and failed) once again to catch the perfect shot that would translate on a screen or photo the astounding height and breadth of a redwood; the greens of the mosses, the reds of the trunks; the shafts of light that occasionally shone through.
Finally, I decided to quit depending on my knowledge of photography. Obviously, I had stepped outside my skill set. I set my camera to ‘Auto’ and decided to let the superior knowledge of technology figure out the conundrum of sharp contrasts, my external flash and focusing without a tripod.
I snapped a photo and checked the results. The light and dark had evened out enough that I could tell that the camera had focused correctly. What a difference from my feeble attempts to create the perfect shot on my own.
And then it struck me. How often to I find myself in a gloomy place spiritually or emotionally and think that I need to work harder, faster, longer or quicker in order to pull myself out. I let my frustrations at my inadequacy fester and ferment until it seems impossible to ever break through to anything approaching normal.
As I face perplexities and situations that threaten to drag me down and feed my frustration, those are the times when the Master Photography whispers in my ear, “Set your camera to ‘Auto’, my child. Stop trying to figure it all out on your own. There is no shame in leaning on my knowledge and the experience of others—those who offer to help you are there because I sent them.” (tweet this)
And those tall, overwhelming trees which lean in and surround me and change the very weather where I stand? If I keep climbing up the narrow road, I’ll pop out in the sunshine and look behind me at an ordinary view of trees marching through valleys.
Inspire Me Monday Instructions
What’s your inspirational story? Link up below, and don’t forget the 1-2-3s of building community:
1. Link up your most inspirational post from the previous week (just ONE, please).
2. Vist TWO other contributors (especially the person who linked up right before you) and leave an encouraging comment.
3. Spread the cheer THREE ways! Tweet something from a post you read, share a post on your Facebook page, stumble upon it, pin it or whatever social media outlet you prefer–just do it!
Please link back to this week’s post or add the button to your post so that we can spread the inspirational cheer :).
I found inspiration for my Monday at #inspirememondays. Join us! (tweet this)
So, go ahead! Take the plunge and share your most inspiring post with us!
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