Opening My Eyes

I was checking out the Huff Post Arts page yesterday and found a really inspirational article I just had to share. It's called Relish the Art That Surrounds You by Agnes Gund. The main premise is that we should take time to appreciate the beauty that surrounds us wherever we are. This line sums it up nicely, "I'm talking about the ubiquitous examples of the lift, the alert, the surprise and small thrills that come from acknowledging the loveliness that is both momentary and constant in the every day, ordinary encounters of our lives."

I was actually thinking about a post like this for awhile but just didn't have the foundation until I read this article. She says exactly what I was thinking far better than I could so I do hope you check it out. Ever since I took up photography as a hobby/new obsession I really feel like I've begun to see the world differently. A day doesn't go by that I don't frame an image in my mind as I'm walking down the sidewalk or driving down the street. I used to be so much more in my own head, not noticing the world around me as I do now. I see the world in images now and am constantly amazed at the beauty I encounter in my own little world.

Sunset with cross

She talks about places that she goes to explore beauty where she lives in New York City. I don't have the diversity of this local but I think I have just as much beauty to explore in my own neighborhood. So here is my own list of places in St. Charles, MO that I have photographed and can go back to time again to discover more beauty:

  • St. Charles Frontier Park. This includes the docks and riverfront views in the top shot. There are also countless festivals and gatherings held throughout the year that are not only great photo ops but just lots of fun.
  • St. Charles Borromeo Cemetery. This old cemetery was founded in 1856 and has some of the most important residents of St. Charles buried in it. It also has lots of really cool old statues and headstones that I love to photograph. I caught it right at sunset with the big cross for one of my classes earlier in the year.
  • Busch Wildlife Conservation Area. This is only 20 minutes from my house and is a wonderful opportunity to explore nature and discover beauty anytime of year. I definitely need to get out there soon to capture the season change and some fall colors. The goose in flight is one of my favorites that I've shot there.
  • Lindenwood University campus. This is my alma mater and is one of the oldest schools this side of the Mississippi. I can practically walk to the campus from my house and there is some amazing architecture and walking paths with beauty to explore right next door.
  • Frenchtown. This is the old Main Street of St. Charles and in addition to great antiques shopping there are also beautiful old buildings, a working trolley, horse drawn carriages, and other seasonal opportunities with people dressed in costumes.
These are just the ones that came to my mind this morning. I didn't include anything on the other side of the bridge which opens up a whole other world of possibilities.
Goose in flight

I know it's a cliche, "to stop and smell the roses", but I guess that is what I'm really trying to say. I'm really thankful for all of the beauty I'm lucky to have around me. I love our little corner of the world and as much as I wonder about what else is out there beyond my neck of the woods I really wouldn't change things one bit.


Vicky Bell said...

I think the we are all better off when we cultivate a mindful awareness of the good and the beautiful all around us. It's easy to forget to do that and it really does need to be a conscious effort- but it can become habit with practice. Kierkegaard said "We create the world we live in" and I believe that- that if we change how we think we change how we live. Great post.
Vicky Bell

Ann said...

Excellent post Paige. I couldn't agree more. I know exactly how you feel because before I got interested in photography I never realized what a beautiful place I live in. Even the most run down part of town takes on a whole new beauty when you see it through a photographic eye.
Your photos are excellent and I just love the last one

Anonymous said...

So true! Especially when you're feeling stressed. So many times people skip right over the beauty surrounding them. Great post!


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