The Edge of Autumn

“A pathway into autumn… I like this. It’s how I envision the fall.” She turns and flashes me this image. It is one in a series of autumn shots around Kamyk nad Vltavou in Czechia, taken on my last hike in October. 

She leans back into the pillow, continues to flip through the photos, and stops when she comes to a poem I had written in the spring but tossed away.  She reads it out loud:

The sorrow of her tears – rains of nourishment

The tease of her smile – flowers in bloom

The softness of her breath – causes me to catch mine

Unrequited love, it’s the rejection of Spring

Hurts like hell but shouts to my soul: I’m alive  

I cringe. Not only do I suck at poetry, but I don’t get it for the most part. Still, I can’t help trying. Sometimes I hear a set of lyrics or a poem and dream of writing something as beautiful just once.  

Her laughter breaks my thought. “In the spring, these words could have brought tears to my eyes. Now, they make me laugh uncontrollably.” 

I join in her laughter.  There’s no hiding her honesty.  

As with my fool’s errand of writing poetry, 2022 has been a year where I’ve felt the edge more than ever. From the beautiful chaos of Czechia, returning to nature in the States, and now in Hong Kong, preparing for my journey behind the Great Firewall of China and its shroud of quarantine.

This edge is a dichotomous path. Either I fall into a deep abyss with no retreat or, with a touch of hope, fall into another realm of a brilliant universe. 

“You are looking forward to China, aren’t you?” She asks, knowing the answer. She understands the stress and the friction of contrasting thoughts.

Is the world moving too quickly, or am I moving too slowly?  I feel the friction grow.

“Friction is what life is all about, and I can help you understand this. It’s within the power of a muse.” She winks, “We can bend time and alter perception – it makes life more interesting. All I ask is for you to take me to the edge… to see the realm of possibilities.”

“Cheers to your genius. Teach me to bend time and perception, and I’m yours. By the way, why have you shown up now? I’ve so much to do?” Surprised by the tension in my voice.

Peering at me, she says, “You fascinate me. I’ve bounced around, mused for women as well, but working with men is so much easier… and this is my true feminist nature speaking.” 

“I agree, men are superior,” trying to finish my packing, I look up with humor,“…and this is my feminist side speaking.”

“I miss the springtime you.” She wryly adds, “you were nicer back then.”

“Ah, yes. The spring me. The spring is an idealistic, crazy, and happy time,” I retort. “Autumn suits my cynical older age.”

A flush of images sweeps past, each taking me away to a different time and feeling. The photos reflect an autumn to remember in Kamyk nad Vltavou. Magic all around, everywhere in this beautiful land.

The season has been kind to me. A time when I usually exhale and begin to wind down for winter. This year, it’s the freshness that surprises me. I envision a fascinating new world in front of me, cloaked in fog – an invitation to a new adventure.   

Her words break my spell. “I’m fascinated because we walk the same trails and view the same countryside… but you photograph a world I don’t see.” Her eyes want to say more but stop at a simple question. “Why is that?”

I ponder this, twirling her words around the universe I hold inside my head, blown away at how infinitely more complex and intriguing the universe she hides in hers.

Everywhere… we walk, bumping into strangers who hold insights within their universe but we are too caught up in ours to notice. We all seek our edge, curious about its potential but fearful of going one step too far. 

The scene of Hong Kong glistens from my window. This is where life diverged for me – I jumped in head first, leaving one life behind. Maybe this is why I see the world differently.  

Rhetorically she asks, “Since you are not answering, I’ll ask a different question. Do you know what makes you special?”

I can feel myself tighten up and ask, “What’s that?” Expecting another quip.

“You make my heart beat sideways…” She swings her legs down, zips up the last bag I have packed, and walks to the door.  

In a typical state of confusion with her, I ask, “Sideways?!?”

That delicious laugh of hers. “Well, the first time it happened, I thought it was indigestion, but then I realized you bring out something special. A spice that makes the world a bit better even with the tragedy you call poetry.”

She runs her hands straight through me. “This mythical edge, it’s where the heart beats sideways… the sense of being alive.” Time stops, my perceptions change, and she teases, “This is what fascinates me.”

This edge I wrote about earlier in the Czechia spring, this edge of hope, of fear… the edge of something spectacular.

“How to describe?” I look and her, trying to verbalize being seduced by the edge, this ultimate point of friction. Action is required: retreat and survive or pursue and risk it all – rare moments to wake up the soul.

I try to recite the appropriate Hunter S. Thompson quote from the past but fail. “It’s the greatest mystery out there.” I muse, “Those who understand the edge have gone over it, never to return, so no one knows. It’ll always be a mystery.”

“You may think I’ve seen the edge, but no. When I feel it, I can’t run away fast enough.” The disappointment in her eyes makes me chuckle. 

This is the beauty of friction. It protects us from going over the edge; it connects us – it slows us down. Creates heat. Creates life. Our bonds become stronger over time, and the increased friction slows us so we can make better decisions.

My worry? The physics of friction will inevitably grind me to a halt.  

She recovers from her disappointment to ask, “Who is happier? A soul who dives into the chaos of life and lives through a series of adventures, or takes the same seat every day, watches the world pass, and simply exists?” She lightly taunts me.   

My immediate thought is to choose the adventurer, but a stoic also realizes it takes all types of courage to face the unknown regardless of risk. Whether it’s a stereotypical life of an accountant, which society paints as safe and secure, or an adrenaline junkie’s fix to risk body and soul. Both hold the courage of life to be proud.

“It depends if I’ve had my coffee or not…” I linger. “We have courage in different measures based on our circumstances. The beauty of all those different universes floating in the minds of those we bump into daily hold pieces of the answer.”

“The edge, the edge, the edge…” She pouts. “Take me there!” laughter again erupting.

“This mythical edge, I have no idea if I’ll ever see it, and I like the idea of it being just out of reach.” I sing along with Nick Cave as I grab my bag and head for the door, the lyrics from my demon muse churning in my mind.

One foot out the door, and these are the goodbyes that make leaving Hong Kong difficult. I feel myself blush as she closes the door. In doing so, as intended, she has opened another. 

I am off, my soul plowing through quicksand as the world moves further ahead.

What’s this? My heart… it’s beating sideways. I smile at the idea that this may be indigestion.     

114 Comments on “The Edge of Autumn

  1. Such a beautiful writing ! But as a photographer, my attention went also to your pictures. I must admit that you manage both skills. My compliments for this blog.
    Have a nice weekend and many greets, Rudi

    • The autumn this year in Kamyk started late, but then we had both warm sunny days interspersed with rain, and it made for a beautiful setting – and perhaps the best mushroom season I’ve ever seen. The hikes I took over the season were each different because of the changes in nature… really a special feeling. Thank you very much for the nice comment, Rudi, and I wish you a great holiday season!

      • Thanks for your reply and I also wish you and your whole family a great holiday season 🙂

  2. So wonderful! Life is all about taking risks, being an adventurer and being courageous. You’ve captured so much here in your writing, from your Universe in the edge of Autumn. Loved this post, thoroughly enjoyed your writing and your pictures are exquisite. And, for the record, your poetry’s much better than mine! Sending love and warmest wishes from down under.

    • Agree; there is something about taking risks that makes us appreciate the life we have… and the life we can create ahead of us. I think this is also what the autumn season brings to us, a bit of reflection on the year and the changes in nature (discarding the leaves and problems of the years) so we can start new again once spring arrives. With this in mind, it makes settling down for winter a bit easier. Thank you very much, Miriam, and I wish you a great spring/summer down under 🙂

  3. Hello Randall,
    Such a beautiful post focusing on my favorite seasons – Autumn.
    It seems like you are about to enter the next exciting adventure/stage in life.
    May you have a wonderful season ahead!

    Your friend in Japan,

    • Hi Takami, I hope the autumn has treated you well. This time of the year is also my favorite. Spring and summer have so much energy, but the cooling down of autumn and its vibrant colors make me love this time of the year. It is nice to be able to come back to Asia again – and I look forward to a visit to Japan at some point. Take care, and wish you well.

  4. Such beautiful words. You paint pictures with them, besides your stunning photography.

    I see a book filled with them. Have you thought about it, Randall? Or have you written a book that I don’t know about?

    • Thank you very much, Vicki. This is such a nice comment to receive, and it made my day. Ha, how I would like to have the patience and talent to write a book ~ with accompanying photos. It may be possible, but I’d have to rely on the old saying “a picture paints a thousand words” and cross my finger that they hold at least a few hundred. Wishing you well down under and that your holiday season is one that glows. Cheers to the final month of ’22. Take care.

  5. Always happy to see your posts pop up Randall, always enjoy your unique perspectives on life. And you DO get around, don’t you 😊?! Loved your images in this one, especially your mushrooms and the beautiful closing capture. Happy to hear you’re back in HK, a bit worried about the China situation these days. Good for you for taking chances but staying mindful – life on the edge indeed. Enjoy the ride but be careful my friend. I look forward to seeing your thoughts as you settle in. Goodness knows we don’t see the real story of everyday life in the news reports. Will be thinking of you and enjoying your adventures vicariously as always!

    • Flying into Hong Kong was pretty special. Three years away, I hadn’t realized how much I missed the place. It has changed a bit with all the uncertainty, but in almost every other aspect, it is still the thriving, creative city I fell in love with… I didn’t expect this. It is always so wonderful to hear your feedback on my posts, and yes, you rightly understand my state of mind in still taking chances but also being mindful of measuring the opportunities/risks. I wonder, though, if knowing fewer opportunities lie ahead am I becoming more or less risk averse?!? I need to continue this trek to find out! Thank you very much, Tina, for the supportive words – they truly are appreciated. I wish you and your family the best this holiday season in your oasis on Kiawah Island ~ take care 😊

  6. Ah Randall. Such strong images. Those mushrooms! The view of Hong Kong’s harbor. The icons with a battered tin of pineapple pieces. I am impressed with your eye for micro and macro detail. And, there’s poetry in your prose. Safe travels, my friend.

    • Wonderful comment, John. The photo you mention of the icons and pineapple pieces tin was my favorite shot ~ for me; it holds this timeless feel that I admire about Hong Kong so much. It does not surprise me that it caught your eye as well. The sharp contrast between the nature of Czechia and the surroundings of Hong Kong is stark, but there is comfort in both places, which makes me feel at peace with my travels. Enjoy the last weeks of autumn in Hood River, and may your holiday season be spectacular. I usually stop off at the Full Sail brewery in Hood River with my sisters around this time of the year before heading back to Pendleton, so a little sad I will miss it in ’22.

  7. Truth and beauty well-captured, Randall. Always a pleasure to see one of your posts. Happy trails. 🙂

    • Thank you very much, Eliza. This has been another strange year, but the world is starting to return to normal ~ truth and beauty are leading the way. I love the comment “happy trails” I use it often and think about Roy Rogers & Dale Evans 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful holiday season of happiness.

  8. This is such a gorgeous post Randall. The story completely engaged me, so much that I barely noticed the photos (which are also gorgeous) and had to back to explore them. You have a poet’s soul and gift for weaving words and photos into a beautiful experience. I admire you living on the edge and having so many adventures. More and more I seem to choose comfort and safety even as I wither into boredom. BTW, I love your muse. She seems good for you. Happy adventures!

    • This is such an uplifting comment, Brad. Thank you very much. With your nice words, my muse has left me for a bit now that I am in China ~ and she is on her way to pay you a visit. All I can say is treat her well and be careful… but not too careful! The beauty of Czechia is still on my mind even as I sit here in China, which also has such unique beauty. While a bit different than any other I’ve spent before, my holiday season should bring an adventure or two. It would be an excellent way to finish off ’22 and prepare for the mystery of ’23.
      Looking forward to all future adventures and look forward to seeing what the next year has

      • Thank you for the wonderful gifts Randall. Your words also uplift me and I will treasure time with your muse. Maybe she’ll inspire me to dance sideways into an adventure!

  9. I love your posts, Randall, and your beautiful images. What a gorgeous glimpse into life on the edge of…. possibility, I think. “This is the beauty of friction. It protects us from going over the edge; it connects us – it slows us down. Creates heat. Creates life.” I would like to create a little more friction in my life, and you’ve inspired me to move out of my comfort zone. So many possibilities. Enjoy your travels. 🙂

    • This year, the fall surpassed expectations in color and lighting… it seemed to invite me to go a bit further in the woods and stay out a bit later ~ which made me realize that getting out of our comfort zone inspires creativity. You make such an excellent comment, Diana. Thank you for the inspiration, and interestingly, the line you quoted came directly from the accompanying photo ~ where as long as there is enough friction for footing, life can take root anywhere and flourish. It makes for a good lesson for us to seek and explore, too 🙂 . I wish you and your family a wonderful holiday season and to pursue the many possibilities. Take care.

      • Autumn here lacked the usual display of color, but I still love the season, everything about it. And a wonderful quote. Your post made me think about my remaining years and how I really don’t want them to be too comfortable. An adventure must be in the works. 🙂

  10. It was good to see a new post from you come across my email! I was engrossed in the story of your muse as much as the stunning photography. She had some thought-provoking things to say about living on the edge.

    • Thank you very much, Liz. This post was fun to write, as there was much inspiration I could pull from this year, and even with restrictions with work & travel, things are moving along, even if slower than usual. Autumn is always a good time to reassess the year for me, so along with the autumn scenes, it was a perfect melding of photography and writing. Wishing you well with your writing, and very much looking forward to it. Take care and enjoy all December has to offer.

      • You’re welcome, Randall. Thank you for the best wishes for my writing. The first draft of my novel-in-progress is in the “let it rest” stage until January. I’ll be very glad to get back to it and start the revision process.

  11. I love the richness and rawness of your posts Randall. Your demon muse, friction, sideways beating heart is always fascinating and inspiring. Thank you for your words and beautiful autumn photos. Mushrooms and landscapes are a lovely composition. Be safe and well 💕

    • The landscapes of fall were something else this year. It was inspirational every time I went outside. A couple of weekends, I had to remind myself to leave the camera at home, or I’d never leave the hills. Thank you for your comment, Val; it means a lot. I like how you mention the rawness of my posts because sometimes when I write, it makes sense to me… but I wonder if it may be a bit rough in thought and not the most refined writing. 🙂 Wishing you a great December ahead and a magical holiday season.

      • Thank you Randall. Rawness and authentic feeling go hand in hand. It’s part of the highs and lows of life and the awakening of spirit.
        Wishing you a wonderful Holiday Seaaon 🤍🕊️🤍

    • Thank you very much, Georgia. I wish you a great finish to the year ~ still hard to believe it is almost over. Take care ~

  12. You say you struggle with poetry, and don’t really “get it.” I can relate. But yet each of your pictures is a little poem, and your words draw their own pictures. That should be enough for any poet.

    • It is good to have someone to commiserate with regarding my poetry shortcomings 😂. I like how you put this, Dave; our creative nature in writing/photography or whatever we enjoy in creativity can be poetic. Much like watching an incredibly talented musician or athlete, there is poetry in their music and/or motions we get absorbed in… it is inspiring, which is what artistry and creativity are all about. Thank you very much for your comment, and I hope all is well in Oregon…
      I look forward to returning after the new year. Enjoy the holidays and take care.

      • I have to admit, reading poetry often leaves me yawning, and I haven’t managed to get much past haiku trying to write it. But if a picture is worth 1000 words, why shouldn’t it say something poetic?

        Maybe some day when you’re back in Oregon we could get together for a photo shoot somewhere.

  13. That first photograph is so inviting. I can imagine stepping into it and hearing the crunch of autumn leaves under my feet. Your words conjure up so many vivid images. What a wonderful piece of writing. I love how you are embracing the friction of life. May it bring you many memorable adventures in this new season of your life. Wishing you a smooth transition.

    • It is funny; the first photograph is similar to other fall shots I have seen and admired taken by others, but I’ve never photographed such a scene before, so I was happy to have the chance. The colors of autumn this year were such that they should last me through the bleaker/grey skies of winter… or at least I hope that is the case. With the year ending, it is good to review the year and find the areas to increase the friction of life in certain areas 🙂 Wishing you a great holiday season in Portugal, Jolandi, and your continuing adventure.

  14. Sideways is good. I it “the road less traveled by”.
    Very neat text my friend. I will have to go back to it…

      • A delight to read and visit here, walk the edge, contemplate friction, and watch you muse with your muse—all within the backdrop of your beautiful images and travels. I’d say you have it all, right here!

      • “Muse with my muse…” I like the way you put it 🙂 Yes, so much in life to explore and to learn. Wishing you a great ’23 ahead, Ka. Take care.

  15. Randall, such a beautifully written post. And accompanying photos. The muse was spot on in her words about the mythical edge and your heart beating sideways. Don’t think it’s indigestion. It’s the excitement of adventure, and she knows all about that in her travels. And while you are in Hong Kong write about it, please. Have a wonderful holiday. Be safe & happy. 📚🎶 Christine

    • Hi Christine, I hope you had a wonderful Christmas holiday and a great time as you venture into the new year. Being able to go back to Hangzhou this past month was perfect ~ although I could have done without both the quarantine and outbreak during my time there 🙂 I am now back in Hong Kong for a few days before flying out, and I’m counting on another great year in ’23. Wishing you well, be safe and take care!

      • Thank you, Randall. Best wishes for you in your 2023 adventures. Stay safe while traveling. And please write about them. 📚🎶 Christine

  16. What a beautiful place Kamyk nad Vltavou is! It’s funny how you brought up the question of whether an accountant is happy with his/her life as I just had a similar thought this morning after returning from a week-long trip to Cambodia (my first international holiday since the pandemic). Tomorrow when I return to the office, I believe some of my coworkers will find it amusing and bewildering that I didn’t post anything on my social media during my absence (not that I post often anyway). Sometimes I do wonder if they would be happier if they knew how fulfilling traveling can be. But people are different, and what works for me doesn’t necessarily work for others. This is such a thought-provoking post, Randall!

    • This is a perfect point, Bama, and one of the fascinating things about life ~ there are endless avenues to find something valuable and to learn. For me, you, and many others, traveling and exploring new cultures and setting off on adventures is where our heart starts beating a bit faster. And sometimes, this could be a field in our backyard, building something in a workshop, and even within the pages of a book. It brings to mind the old saying, so much to do and so little time 🙂 Thank you for your insight, and I wish you an incredible ’23 ahead. Take care.

  17. Ah, a lovely and familiar puzzle — is the optimism of spring more beautiful than the reflections of fall? Why do we always have to leave something behind to go somewhere else? How can we arrange our sentences to better describe things that can’t be pictured? Beautiful images and words as always. ❤️

    • I love this, Alina. Within your first three sentences, you say so beautifully and concisely what I was trying to say throughout my post 🙂 It is funny, this year, the optimism of spring hit me a lot stronger than the reflections of fall, and it is the first time in my life I truly felt this… it is such a surprising and nice change of pace. With this, I am hoping for even more in ’23… why not?!? Cheers to a great year ahead for you too! Thank you ~

  18. This post reminds me of something I always have in the back of my mind: If you really want to see, get a camera. Then, it never matters what season it is or where you are because you see what really is, right then. And it’s always beautiful.

    • I agree, especially in nature, where it is so easy to get lost in all the sights – from the grand to the minute – with a camera in hand, new perspectives open up so much easier. And with nature, there is beauty to be found in everything. Thank you for your insight, and here’s to new photo opportunities in ’23. Take care ~

  19. Hi Randall, Your beautifully written post is a reminder to leap out of our comfort zones, feel the friction in life and embrace the edges. I smiled at your line, “Autumn suits my cynical older age.” I can relate. Your masterful photos accompany your words beautifully. I wish you safe and happy travels and a wonderful holiday season.

    • Thank you very much, Jane. And yes, if there was ever a line that wrote itself, this one is it 🙂 My having to head back to China over the holidays was one I initially was a bit bummed about, but then as you say, experiencing such friction in life is a good thing ~ learning something along the way, and it makes us grateful for what we have. Wishing you well too ~ take care.

  20. Hi Dalo. Took me a fortnight, but I finally managed to read your text. (Copied to word for better pondering…)
    Compliments. On so many things. Are you actually back in China, or “just” HK? Or was HK a gateway? 👏🏻
    Edge and friction… Two words that pretty much sum up what is going on. The world is indeed moving very fast and at different speeds. “Tectonique des plaques” I guess. (Don’t know how to say that in English but I’m sure you will catch it.
    It did remind me of the road not taken. That is always the right choice. The one less traveled by… And as you probably know form the Tao, the important is not the destination the road (Tao)
    Sideways heartbeats… That’s a very good one. Might stir a story. Who knows.
    The edge? One has to cross the edge. I have a few times. Last time I really crossed the edge was too many years ago to come to Latin America. In 2017, I was wondering whether I shouldn’t cross another edge to Asia… Who knows.
    Compliments again on your text, your reflexion, and your photos.
    Who’s the lovely Chinese Lady on the boat? (I seem to remember an old post of yours in green tones, with another (or the same?) lady, about Absinthe?
    One day you will tell where you work that you may hop from HK to Czech and back to China. (All the guesses I make are Classified…)
    Take care. Merry Christmas and a great new year… 🤗

    • Hi Brian, great comment to come back to, and thank you. Yes, HK was a gateway into China (Hangzhou), and I enjoyed my time there. I spent a lot of time in Hangzhou exploring the Westlake area, which is simply incredible. Great food, environment, and people there are thriving. I arrived back in HK a few days ago and now taking a quick trip back to Czech before heading to Seattle at the beginning of January. There was a bit of friction with Covid blasting through China, to the extent that I only went to the office/factory for a couple of weeks. But like you say, the journey is most important. The charming lady is a writer/yoga instructor I met via my blog, and she is different than the lady in the absinthe post… We were exploring Tai O in that photo. Wishing you an excellent finish to ’22, and perhaps in ’23, we can meet up somewhere: Mexico, Asia… and one edge I hope to cross is traveling through Patagonia… 🙂 Take care, my friend!

      • Glad you could get inside China and back. I take it you speak at least a bit of mandarin or cantonese? (I would be fascinated to learn… just picked up a few words of Hokkien in Penang… LOL)
        Tai O? I had to look it up. It might be featured in my mother’s movie. There is a fiserhman’s village in it, though it may only be Aberdeen. Maybe you can share the movie with HK friends when I post it. (I will, they might be able to identify some places…)
        You too take care…

    • This is a perfect comment to read to finish up the year. Thank you very much, Alison. It seems to be out here in China for the past couple of months, and all the activity here is a poetic way to finish ’22. Wishing you and Don an incredible ’23 ahead and look forward to hearing all the new stories you create. Take care ~

      • Thanks Randall, wishing you a fantastic ’23 too! I’ve ground to a (temporary) halt with the stories – all of Greece as yet untold! I’m in Oz for 2.5 months with family and find myself living a completely different (but wonderful) life, with little room for the old activities both externally and internally. I plan to catch up in ’23, back in the quiet Canadian winter.

  21. “. . . but a stoic also realizes it takes all types of courage to face the unknown regardless of risk.”
    My dearest Dalo, your post speaks of a poetess’ soul, a soul yearning for change and wide open opportunities. What does one do but fall deeply into your words and smile, knowing you too seek the unknown. I adore your posting, images and poetic offerings today. You make a woman feel quite normal and unafraid, leaving her willing to lean into new. My heart is insisting I create challenges in 2023. To seek beyond what feels comfortable. I look forward to placing myself in new. To soak in what doesn’t make sense and thrive within. Your post offers confirmation. Your thoughts and voice encourage.
    May your journey ahead be full of challenge and may your muse be right beside you. Safest of travels to you, friend. Take care of you, Sir. What would this life be without a Photographer Philosopher Extraordinaire. ♡

    • I like how your heart insists that ’23 is the year to create challenges – to seek beyond what feels comfortable – this is an excellent way to start the year, Aud. Find a path to create a memorable ‘now’ and see where it takes us. Also, I can’t help but smile at the idea of you falling deep into my words as well… another good way to start the new year 🙂 There is always something nice about reminiscing about the year that just finished, and as crazy as ’22 was in terms of work/travel and things not making sense, it worked out well because of the chaos. It is funny how putting ourselves in an uncomfortable position can light up the day. Thank you very much for your comment, Audacious, and in return, I must say what would life to be without the redheaded poetess 🙂 Take care, my friend!

      • Always have and will continue to fall deeply into the mind of your very talent and creative soul. A mind, strong enough to see the importance of chaos, is one I enjoy learning from. Sooo much growth comes from it. I smile, let out a little laugh, I mean there’s a reason we laugh when others may cry – experience. Life truly is something. Many hugs, Randall.

  22. Well dear Randall, what a delicious piece of writing my friend.. I like the idea of ‘Bending Time’ you certainly have a wonderful gift of capturing the ‘Moment’ within each and everyone of your beautiful images..
    ‘The Edge’.. dear Randall, is where you take many of your viewers.. You transport me at least to the edge of wonder as I see through your camera lens your perspective through the lens of your eye..
    But your philosophy on life is for me the added bonus… For there you certainly hold a gift of Seeing deeper into Life and those around you most certainly SEE you…

    May your New Year bring you nearer to the Edge of Wonder Randall, and may you continue to Bend Time within each moment of your shutter lens..
    Happy New Year, for 2023, may you continue in your safe travels sharing the beauty of Earth and Life..
    Sue ❤

    • Thank you very much, Sue ~ there is always a little excitement when finishing up another year. I figure any year is a success when we approach the end and begin trying to bend time so we can get just a little bit more out of it 🙂 As always, I am optimistic about ’23 being another year of discovery and growth with both the camera and words. I wish you a great year ahead and for you to continue to touch those around you. Take care ~

      • Likewise dear Randall, May 2023 bring you every success and more wonderful expanses and views along with your wise philosophy on life..
        Best wishes ❤

  23. Dalo, this post is wonderful! I can’t even say what touches my heart more – the masterful photos or the emotional text full of life experiences. Both together make me think about our unique, amazing world full of wonders and our small, short life.
    I like your thoughts: “my soul plows through quicksand as the world keeps moving forward.”
    For the new year I wish you that some dreams come true, some new ones come true and some old ones stay alive!
    🥰 💕
    Rosie from Germany

    • Thank you very much, Rosie, for your comment. You say it very well; we have a genuinely fantastic world full of unique wonders that we only have a short life to explore. This makes dreaming all the more critical, as it allows us to experience much more than we otherwise would have. Wishing you a marvelous ’23 ahead, Rosie, and take care!

  24. May 2023 be “an invitation to a new adventure.” I’m looking forward to the changes of angle in perceptions that will come with a new version of us.

    • Thank you very much for the nice comment, and I am excited to see where this new year of ’23 will take us. It is always part of the fun of a new year to wonder how we will evolve and how the year will transform us as a whole. Cheers to a great year ahead!

      • Merci de prendre le temps de partager vos pensées en les présentant avec vos fabuleuses photos. Brillant !
        Merci de répondre à chaque commentaire. 🍄

      • Merci beaucoup pour vos gentils mots et vos conseils, et vous souhaite une merveilleuse journée et soirée à venir 🍄

  25. Ah! My friend, Randall. Your words and your photos are the very best of poetry!! I loved and needed this post here this morning…thank you! I hope the new year finds you exploring everything your heart (and muse) desires! ❤

    • Thank you very much, Lorrie. I am looking forward to what this year has to bring ~ places and people to explore in the year of the rabbit, and I hope it treats you well too!

  26. This post washed my eyes in vibrant colour! Wishing you all the best for this new year Randall, including some wonderful adventures.

    • Thank you, Andrea. There is always a bit of mystery to begin the year; this one seems to have more than I remember of years past. It is partly due to the world opening up again and an overall greater sense of adventure… but with a healthy dose of caution. Wishing you a wonderful year of the rabbit ~ take care.

  27. Hi Randall, First, I’m not sure what you mean when you say you can not write poetry. Your prose is poetry. Beautiful writing and photographs. I had to go back to see the photographs as the writing captivated me.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts about moving here. I’ve been on the same boat, the last quarter of 2022, as I had to move too. ‘The edge’ is exactly where I was. I don’t wish to be there again and hope 2023 is better. Like you, I focused on seasons, too, as I was feeling low and hoped Spring would come soon. I’m not sure it’s here, but I’m working towards it. I hope your journeys feed your creativity and keep you happy, safe, and at peace.
    Happy 2023 to you! 🙂💐

    • It is funny; poetry does mesmerize me with words like music does ~, and I suppose when I write or photograph some of the spirits of poetry and art, I glean from others inevitably shows up. This is the beauty of life and the art/words from the past; it influences and makes the world a bit sweeter for us all :-). Thank you, Smitha, and I hope your new adventures are off to a fresh start this year ~ and your creativity continues to bloom. Cheers to a great year of the rabbit ahead.

  28. ‘This edge is a dichotomous path. Either I fall into a deep abyss with no retreat or, with a touch of hope, fall into another realm of a brilliant universe.’

    Your posts have a way of opening my mind and heart to explore the path less travelled.

    And as I stand at the precipice of any decision these days, I am more inclined to he thoughtful, present and patient before I step forward. This could just be old age ha, but also because of this I am taking more risks and saying yes more often.

    I gather from you posts you are not someone who takes compliments easily. However, you should be so proud of your work and the accomplishments you have achieved. You are an inspiration to us all 🙏🏻🌈

    • Hi Karen, you made me think about how I approach decisions these days; my view of taking more risks has changed where. I don’t do things I may have done in my 20s, but as you mention, my mind and heart are even more open to exploring the path less traveled. Getting older makes us a bit more patient and thoughtful, which contrasts with the understanding that there is no better time than now to create a new experience: –). Thank you very much for the comment and very nice compliment ~ it has made my morning today, and I appreciate it very much. Wishing you an excellent start to the Year of the Rabbit, Karen. Take care ~

  29. Dear Randall
    what a wise muse you have. Siri 🙂 and 🙂 Selma immediately fell in love with her. I suppose every man needs such a muse. When I looking back then it seem to me that I learned everything important from a muse. Aren`t we lucky to have one?
    I can very much relate to your text. Thanks a lot 🙏 🙏
    Take care
    The Fab Four of Cley
    🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Thank you, Klausbernd. I think my muse comes from the same school of thought as Siri and Selma ~ which makes them so valuable, yes? 🙂 A little inspiration from those around us is where we can gain true wisdom and create those moments that make life all it can be. My best to the Fab Four of Cley! Wishing you a great weekend and start to the new year!

    • Thank you, Hien, very much for your words and the link to the video; it is fascinating! I nodded in agreement for much of the footage; it was the first time I had been introduced to neurogenesis. The time when I wasn’t nodding my head, the lecturer (Sandrine) was teaching a concept I’d never considered, food texture, for example, and I loved hearing the new information. I wish you an excellent beginning to the lunar new year ~ take care!

    • Thank you, Rabirius. It seems of all the seasons; autumn is the one where words are almost unnecessary.

  30. Reading your posts, Dalo, I can’t help wondering how I can comment in such a way as to be able to refer to most of the things you mention and describe, for they all are nice, and so… it usually is something that draws my attention more which eventually… makes up my mind, so to say. 🙂
    “I cringe. Not only do I suck at poetry, but I don’t get it for the most part. Still, I can’t help trying. Sometimes I hear a set of lyrics or a poem and dream of writing something as beautiful just once.” I was somehow surprised to read this part, in this dreamy or meditative post, since… not only have I always been under the impression that you really get poetry, but also you write and express things poetically all the time. Both in your posts and your comments. 🙂 And if you mean rhyming verse, that is only the form, isn’t it? It may happen, it may not… rhythm and rhyme, but more important seems to be the spirit of what we write, its soul, heart and pulse perhaps. And its tendency to take our minds off of the often too mundane world and life and everything… this if I were to speak from my blog experience and all.
    Not to mention the lovely word and image combinations that feel like windows to somewhere or some time else so beautifully. Your photos are fantastic, always feel like unique portals towards peaceful places and spots.
    Wishing you a nice and productive new year, Dalo… “as the world moves further ahead”. 🙂

    • This is such a sweet and beautiful comment, Nicole. Thank you. It is interesting you mention the piece of poetry in terms of rhymes, as this is the exact piece of poetry that I have zero skill in 🙂 So at this level, a poetic verse can leave me spinning in one place. However, as you describe so well, the type of verse I like and feel has to do with “the pulse” of the writing. When a bit of the person’s soul can be found in the words and writing, it is an opportunity to slip into a different realm of reality, where I find beauty in writing. Such type of writing tends to keep me centered as the world moves further ahead 🙂

  31. So gorgeous. The writing. The words. The photography. All so gorgeous. Heart beating side ways —gotta love that!!!! 😊

    • Thank you very much, Dawn. Autumn is the time for me to reflect on the year… and prepare for the cold winter ahead 🙂 I wish you a great start to the Year of the Rabbit. Take care ~

  32. Amazing friend and dialogue, R. You are a rich man on this count alone. Stunning photos I have missed, and as for your poetry, well, that is this blog.

    • It is so beautiful to hear from you again, D. Thank you. Much like a muse and good friend, your words are the best type of poetry. Wishing you an excellent start to the lunar new year ~ may the year of the rabbit treat you well.

  33. Dear Dalo, maybe you shouldn’t put pressure on yourself to understand poetry – I often don’t understand philosophy and I don’t understand why I don’t understand it ;). I think you have to feel it or both ……. Words and understanding may then come on their own …..
    The way I read it now, you can definitely do poetry/philosophy. The pictures reflect your feeling and your words literally bubble over – a very special, own language. Thank you for your courage and all the best

    • You have wonderful advice, Ariane. Thank you, and I think to get poetry (or philosophy), it is important not to worry about trying too hard to understand, but instead to just let the words flow and get a feeling as if looking at a photograph 🙂 I wish you a great start to this new year. Take care ~

  34. This is a beautiful post. I’m not sure how I missed it.

  35. Ah, those captures! Just exposes the subtle and fascinating of the mycological world. I did the same this past winter, with far less splendid results I might add. Don’t the fairy carpets of mosses just make your imagination soar?!?

    As to the edge…many of my friends claim that is what I am doing, from their safe(r) spaces. Yet it doesn’t feel like it to me. When I can quit work, then I might get edgier 🙂 They’ll have to be cheap thrills, though, LOL!

    Great work, as always.

    • Moss is the most underrated destination I know 🙂 It invites the imagination to explore and think about things I would never have considered before… Thank you very much, and wishing you many happy trails and safe travel!

  36. Such a beautiful post. The edge… The edge is like all those unread books that surround us. A possibility. Or rather, we surround ourselves with books (and bucket lists, movie lists, song lists), so that it’s harder to fall over. You write beautifully and in different directions. Sideways, perhaps.

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