Clearly Love


If I doubted before, I am now assured.

Not cocksure, but a believer.

Beneath trees dressed in mist, I walked on mushy earth and in clouds that reached below my feet. In Mariposa Grove, the trees are rooted to long-ago generations and are witness to eons far gone. There, trees are tall enough to see the far-off clearly, even on the foggiest afternoon.

I found I had no lens to capture their whole. I never got a just-right angle that enveloped the entire perspective. The fog provided plenty of interest, for sure, but it kept me from nabbing the broadest view.

I remembered this when I sat down again at home to write about love.

What had previously popped into my head and spilled out in page was this:

A cowboy once told me that there’s no truth to love.  He claims it is mainly in the imagination, steered to the front of the mind by desire and the comely swagger of romance.

 “Steady,” he said,  “Don’t go that way.”

“Why not? ” said I. 

“Love is a bad habit that keeps you coming back even when you know it ain’t right,” he replied.

That seems harsh.

Still harsher: 

“We put blinders on horses so they aren’t distracted or spooked.  That’s what love does to people.  You only see what your rider wants you to see.”

I replied with my short take on love:

“It’s like a roller coaster, and you’re in the cart screaming to beat the band and your hands go above your head on the downhill and you can feel air between you and the seat.  Then you hit uphill and you hear the clickety-clack of the chains as they struggle to pull you back up.   It seems as if you’re not going to make it when suddenly you look around at the grand view from the top and you slowly feel the momentum start again.”

He didn’t buy it.   

Here’s his next vision of love:

“It’s like riding a saddle bronc.  That’s the toughest event in the rodeo.  You’ve got to sync with a being nothing like you.  You say a word to the good Lord before the chute opens and just hang on.  You never know what a bronc’s gonna do.  There ain’t a rider that can’t be throwed and it’s a damn hard landing.   Gravel don’t taste good–nobody comes out feeling very good at the end.”

We bantered, back and forth, but I failed to persuade him that love was worth a chance.  He was as done with it as he was the circuit.”

Feeling unsatisfied with my recollection on paper, I looked out at the early snowfall. The storm had moved out and in the clearing light I saw the far-off peaks had gone from snow-capped to snow-dressed overnight.

Then came to me yet another way to think of love. Maybe love is what you see when the fog of desire lifts slightly and the storm of attraction begins to move on. Could it be true that love gives a broader view of things and is strong-footed against the fog and storms of life? If you stand tall and on your own and allow your years in life to give perspective, can you get the just-right angle and see the whole of love?

Oh yes. To see love clearly.

I could be accused of being a romantic–hopeless, hopeful or otherwise.

But I’m a believer.

Are you?

75 thoughts on “Clearly Love

  1. Absolutely I am a believer. In the love of others, and of nature and right now of your writing with both pictures and words. Just beautiful from all those perspectives.

  2. Why not believe? What else is there? Cynicism is for amateurs and it gets old quick — although I still love your cowboy with his world-weary tone! Great stuff, Stacia!

  3. This is another spectacular post! Your images are not only beautiful, but your prose is thought provoking indeed. I have been married to the same man for 53 years and the mist has definitely cleared. Our love has stayed constant whilst ever-changing. I think we both admire each other for our different strengths, and enjoy our vast differences if they aren’t too exasperating.. I think admiration may be the key word for clear love, and mutual admiration the glue to love’s longevity.

  4. I, too, am a believer. Unfortunately, what I know now (and perhaps your cowboy knew), it is also very hard to find. I commend both your prose and your etherial images. Your work is truly amazing.

  5. Such interesting photos, such deep thoughts here.

    I’m a believer in Love. I define love as action aimed at spiritual growth [kind of from Scott Peck’s The Road Less Traveled], so I find your metaphor with the trees to be perfect. Growth, perspective + the mystery inherent in fog = Love.

  6. Forests, fog, love – you are talking my language! Perhaps the presence of a little mist hanging low diverts our attention from the warts and boils of the relationship. I’ve been married 28 years and we dated for two, so I say we’ve been together for thirty years. Must be doing something right, so yes, I believe.

  7. I loved your post… both your words and your beautiful images. I am a romantic myself, but I believe with all my heart that love opens us up to the wonders of the universe, and of life itself. I can understand the cynics and the skeptics. But I think that this sort of view point is a defense mechanism. Maybe it comes after some hard falls. But it gets in the way of what is most precious about life. I choose to go your route. Thank you again for an exceptional post.

  8. i SO believe, Bella, and I so love your thinking/writing mind. (and that doesn’t include your photos which deserve their Own mention…simply beautiful!) I’m a little slow to the party, not reading until Saturday morning, but what a lovely way to enter the weekend, on fog and wing!

    • Not much is left, without it. I was at first disappointed that it was so foggy because I envisioned photos of the trees against a bright blue sky but ended up thinking the fog was the nicest thing that could have happened. Isn’t it true that nature sometimes knows better what is good for the camera?

  9. I thought I would allow myself to be so stupid as believe in love again for all the reasons the cowboy said. But love found me and has a way of being very convincing. I love your writing, your photography and this post. Brilliant.

  10. I am glad love found you and you have allowed it to blossom. Thank you, Livvy, for your encouragement. I enjoy the honesty and open sharing of your blog and am happy for your happiness 🙂

  11. Ahhhh…’s hard to be outside and not be inspired by things bigger than yourself. Things we have no control over. Love being one of them.
    You may not be satisfied, but to my eye, those photos speak volumes. Thanks

  12. Your posts are so wonderfully thought-provoking. The concept is so nebulous to me, I’m not sure I can wrap my head around it, and I feel as if there are many types of love. They all trace back to nature, and to an innate feeling, for me. With children and pets, I feel it is totally unconditional. And with my closest adult relatives and friends–even when foggy with doubt and disappointment–I can still–on some level– feel the love ring true.

    • I figure if we can still feel the love ring true, we’re good. I kinda go overboard with the thought-provoking sometimes, I think, but that’s what seems to show up 🙂 Thanks reelingintheyears.

    • I’ve seen the cowboy’s perspective too, but somehow time and my journey have expanded my point of view. For which I am grateful. I hope that for you, too, Kourtney. And thank you.

  13. Beautiful thoughts with beautiful pictures. I know my comments on your posts look repetitive. But you always come up with such deep thoughts and equally wonderful pictures. 🙂

    • I am glad you like my pictures Arindam. I get a bit bogged down in the deep thoughts and sometimes wish I could write a funny and witty, more humorous post, but it doesn’t seem to happen. Thank you.

  14. The images you captured are, as always, incredible. But as I look at those trees reaching into the sky, I have to wonder what’s happening underground. Are their roots intertwined, and so are they helping each other stand against the wind? Maybe love has just as much to do with what we can’t see.

  15. I’m a believer too, but I’ve been around so many nonbelievers that I’ve begun to treat it like a secret. For me, love is seeing the good and bad in each other and loving each other anyway. I think this is different from being blind, willful or not because here we do see, but we also accept.

  16. I am a believer and I think your cowboy friend is mistaking falling in love with true love. True love takes time to evolve. It needs that first spark of falling in love, but that in itself is not guarantee for anything beyond the first excitement. That first exhilarating time does put the blinders off, though, but when you start to see beyond them, when they finally lose their grip, you will eventually see clearer than any time before. I love this post – and the pictures are fantastic. I believe if you had had a wider lens to capture more of the forest, the pictures would have been less strong.

    • Munchow, you not only have a fabulous way with the camera but you also have a fabulous way of expressing thoughts and getting to the crux of the matter. Thank you. I think you are right about the wider lens 🙂

  17. This is amazing, Stacia. All of it. Amazing. The pictures are wonderful. I think the fact that you couldn’t capture it all poetic, too. You cannot capture the full beauty of love.

  18. Hello Bella! I’m so glad I came across your post via Rufina. Your photography is magnificent, all the more so when captured in that mystical haze. Trees in fog becomes a metaphor for what love is. Love is a mystery, beyond words.
    Walking around in nature that morning, being at ease with the trees… I can definitely feel the love. Thanks for sharing your vision of a better world. Peace to you!

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