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Ithaca NY

Just some stories in the lives of passionate people. 


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Nature's Palette Through My Lens

Brendan Davis


The Hudson River rolls on silently as it has for thousands of years. Its color inextricably tied to the atmospheric conditions of the time. Silently sunlight melts into dusk and then darkness. All the while the river moves millions of gallons of water ever so silently towards the ocean in a cycle repeated since the glacier that carved the river melted. Our lives move on in a continuous motion as we pass each day from sunrise to sunset. Our moods reflect the day’s events just as the sky impacts the color of the river.  The natural beauty is unparalleled for those willing to make the effort to see and appreciate it.

The stunning beauty of a sunrise, the brilliance of a sunset, the turbulence created by a storm, mirrored reflections of mountains and sky on a placid river are all transient lasting barely moments before each new canvas takes its form. It’s a metaphor for life and at the same time an escape from life. Which of life’s problem is so insurmountable that a rich, magnificent, breathtaking view of a sunset can’t push it out of your mind? What worries won’t evaporate like water on a hot skillet while gazing at the splendor of nature’s palette? Beauty is all around for those who will take the time stop, look and appreciate it.                                                       

Fortunate are those who seek beauty because they will find it. Find it in a sunrise, the sunshine, a sunset; find it in the darkness and even in the fog.  The darkness offers a serene kind of beauty if you are willing to explore and appreciate it. Everyone knows what a sunset looks like, but have you ever wondered what the moon setting over the river looks like? Arise at four AM, get dressed, go down to the river and you will find out. Peace and tranquility rule; the sounds of silence join forces with the beauty of nature to provide an incredibly moving experience.  

Is it a gift or is it desire? What do you do when there isn’t a beautiful sunrise or sunset to take your breath away? Say, “Woe is me?” No, that is the time to look to your left and right and down on to the ground.  See and appreciate all that is around you. Who uses their imagination to see and photograph a snake made out of driftwood or to play with shadows upon the reeds: The artist, the child? Are they one in the same; possibly, not necessarily.


I love Boxcar Art, graffiti because I can relate. An artist in seclusion spends time painting a piece of art he knows he will most likely never see again and that he’ll rarely get credit for creating. The artist works rushed, pressured by the need to complete their task for fear of either getting arrested or worse yet, having the train move before they can complete their masterpiece. The next day the boxcar is gone and along with it their artwork. A slow smile forms on the artist’s face because he knows the masterpiece has left to go on tour. It will be seen by people traveling along the highways and byways all across the country and in doing so, receive far greater exposure than it would ever get hanging in a gallery. Such is the price of anonymity. However, I have seen it and appreciating its beauty captured it. One person walking down by the river looked to his right at the railroad tracks instead of to the left at the river and because of that simple act, when that boxcar is either repainted, gets crushed or sits rotting, rusting, flaking on some rail siding, that beautiful piece of art will live on.

Many walk along never seeing the beauty that surrounds them. The fortunate can see and enjoy that which surrounds them and then there are those who can capture that beauty and share it with others. They are doubly rewarded first in experiencing it for themselves and secondly by sharing it. As my cousin Gerhard wrote to me, “Thank you for letting me see the world through your eyes!” Such is the reward of pursuing your passion. Such is Ras Life.