We’re excited to welcome this month’s “Be Our Guest” blogger Cathy Sly. Cathy believes that any magical light we can bring into our day is worthy of our gratitude. She does this best with her camera, chasing down light, zooming in and out, and pairing it all with truthful words. She lives in Western Washington with her husband of forty plus years in the home where they raised their three sons. When she is not writing or out taking photos, you are likely to find her covered in flour working on that perfect loaf of sourdough bread or with her hands deep in the soil of her many gardens. She is currently looking for that perfect beagle pup to fill their home with love and joy. You can find her on her blog, Knee Deep in Weeds (www.cathysly.com) and on Instagram @cathysly. Please welcome Cathy to ViewFinders!
A few weeks ago I lost my muse when our eleven year old beagle, Basil died very suddenly of spleen cancer. It was twelve hours of tests, fear, coming to terms with what was, what had to be and then doing it. The house and my heart are empty without him, and while that is to be expected, what surprises me more is that I am really having a hard time picking up my camera.
Basil had been with me from the beginning of this curative photo journey. He came into my life when I was in need of some extra love, joy and healing. He was there when I wrote my very first blog post (scary and yet invigorating). He accompanied me as I set out to do my first 365 project in 2013; a daily practice which cultivated itself into daily mindfulness and gratitude. I kept that practice up until the day of his death. Our daily walks, long and short were an important part of my day. He smelled his way along our chosen path, while I documented the world around us. We were a team.
Today I am struggling to find my pace without him. And to be honest, I have yet to walk the familiar trails we walked so often together. The practice seems hollow and empty, so for now I have let it go.
Over the past week or so, I have begun to see that daily practice in a different light. I find I miss the routine and anticipation of uploading my camera card at the end of each day. I also miss recapping my day in some manner. Discovering beauty and gratitude in my ordinary yet magical life, and documenting it in some manner, became much more to me than walking the dog. I have been thinking of how this might look for me now, how I might go about it, without my muse.
Over the years Basil helped me hone in on my photo style. He helped me discover what fills my creative heart with joy, and he allowed me to take time to develop my skills. He was always up for exploring with his nose, while I worked on getting just the right shot. He was patient, letting me do my own thing, yet always willing to pose. He was the gift I did not know I needed.
For now I am back picking up my camera each day, even when it seems fruitless. I am working on engaging with the world around me while tossing some ideas around in my head of how I might best document my days.
I am also looking for a new puppy.
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See you soon.