This Land is Your Land

In Community, contemplation, Conversation, Life, Road trip
Scroll this

We will talk about this year for a long time. The one where we were frustrated, angry, and exhausted. We will tell stories that reflect how we feel about our country: both anxious and hopeful.

In spite of it all, we will remember that there has been beauty in this year. The day I took a detour to the lake. And the fisherman cast his line over and over in some meditative dance that seemed to have little to do with actually catching a fish.

When the community pool sat empty and children couldn’t gather to swim. And they decided to camp in the backyard instead.

The times I took off for country roads, weaving through rows of cornstalks, passing barns and silos, the miles speeding by.

When I walked around the neighborhood looking for something to photograph and there it was—the asphalt covered with a blanket of mulberries.

These are not photos excavated from archives of times before, when things were good. No, these are pictures from real time, just now, when things are a mixture of both sweet and sad.

These moments of wonder make my heart swell. They are pictures that stop time, not really telling a story, but certainly suggesting one.

This land is my land.

How can I help make it a place of inclusion and equality? A place that embraces diversity?

A land made for you and me. I hope we can write a different story.

“To refuse to participate in the shaping of our future is to give it up. Do not be misled into passivity either by false security (they don’t mean me) or by despair (there’s nothing we can do). Each of us must find our work and do it.” – Audre Lorde



  1. So good, Donna.
    Yes to what is both sweet and sad. Yes to writing a different story. Yes to finding our work and doing it.

    • Michelle, I didn’t really plan it on purpose, but this post came out on the first day of early voting in Virginia. After we voted (masks on and safe distances apart), we sat outside the registrar’s office for a good while just watching people come and go. We tried to imagine a hopeful future. And I kept going back to some of the lessons I’ve learned from you – gratitude always. I love how you’ve found your work. I can see you are working in your ‘sweet spot.’

  2. Definitely a sad, quiet beauty in all of these shots. And yes, I’m hoping someday soon we can write a different story.

    • Susan, I love how often you are able to tell a whole story with a single image and beautiful turn of phrase. I took so many pictures trying to capture the Americana theme without using cliches or preconceived notions, but it was a challenge. Your words mean the world to me – because sad, quiet beauty was just what I was feeling.

  3. Donna,
    This is such a good reminder to us all. Thank you for writing a different story, one full of beauty and hope.

    • Cathy, If there is ever anyone who can make me feel hopeful, it’s you. Time and time again, I’ve learned from you how to write a different story – for our selves, our families and now for our home – our whole world.

  4. …“I hope we can write a different story“… let us all do that wherever we live on this planet and let us do this together!
    Your images that embrace the everyday, the now in companion with your words are full of power, beauty and hope, thank you!

    • Corinna, I am continually impressed with the power of this collective. How we lift each other up and help each other to discover and explore and consider and think differently. Surely, this is the heart of creativity. Thank you!

    • Maite, Thanks so much! You know that feeling when you come across a scene that takes your breath away, and you just know any picture that you might take just won’t do it justice? That’s how I felt on that summer day. I know it’s not a majestic landscape of mountains or a waterfall, but I sometimes think we overlook those everyday landscapes. I once read a photo book, The Vernacular of Landscape (by Subjectively Objective) and it forever changed the way I view landscapes. And I really love a fresh perspective. I find myself questioning every assumption these days.

    • Kirstin, I think your recent post and this one are linked by the same lifeline – your words – the power of awe. Writing a different story is about not taking anything for granted. It’s about the power of attention and seeing both the smallness and the grandness of this world. Photography is simply a tool for seeing. Yes!

  5. What a shot of beauty and hope this post is! I’ll certainly come back to it. Thanks for your lovely images and words, Donna <3

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.