On May 16 of this year I was asked to photograph a new adventure race. The creators of the DirtyFeat race were at it again. This time they established Lansing’s first kayak race. On a cool, foggy morning I joined a group of about 60 people; racers, volunteers, coordinators and fans, along a four mile stretch of inner city rivers. With my camera tucked inside a backpack I raced along the Lansing River Trail on my bike, visually documenting the progress of 40 kayakers. The process was relatively simple; check in at the Lansing City Market, leave by van to the race start near Frandor, enter the water in your kayak, and paddle back to the market. Jeff Smith, who is one of the creators of this event, said it was such a simple process that it could be recreated on almost any water way, at any time of year. There’s a hope to host it twice a year. Not only was it a great way to get out onto our amazing rivers but proceeds from the race benefit the Friends of the River Trail. If you’d like more information you can find it at the RedPaddle website. A full set of photographs can be found here.
When snowfall and thunderstorms meet on a crazy night in mid Michigan it creates fog; dense, thick fog. I was so captivated by its etherealness I decided to go walk in it. My house sits in a bit of a gully, between multiple hills. I joke, but to get to my house from any direction you have to go uphill and then downhill. My walk to Meijer is literally uphill both ways and I’m not saying that in a Parks and Rec kind of way. It takes a while for the snow to melt around our house, even on a 50 degree day. Yesterday was no exception. All around my house and yard was this super thick fog yet as I drove to Lansing the fog became thinner and more sporadic. I realized the melting snow had ended any hope of walking and photographing the fog. However due to a few events there was still a very odd feel to this walk. The first was a horrific car crash that happened on I-496. The accident itself occurred at around 7:00 a.m., however as I drove past at around 11:00 a.m. the entire 5 lane highway was abandoned. The only thing on the highway was the 5 crashed cars and a completely burned out 6th car. Two police cars were positioned to block any car that might have made it onto the highway that somehow got through multiple road blocks further up. There were no movements. Had I not read about the crash on line I would have been really shocked by this scene. However knowing that a life had been lost in this tragic crash also left me feeling quite upset by having passed it.
found at the corner of Donora and Mt. Hope. The letter is written from a son whose father was tragically killed.
Then on my exit off the highway I came right up alongside one of the folks that ask for money. Whether their decision to stand there comes from true need or some type of scam, seeing them there often saddens me. I still get tears thinking about last Thanksgiving when our entire family, dressed in our fancy clothes, and joyously talking to each other about the great meal we were about to consume at grandma’s house drove by this woman on the side of the road. Her sign read; “Pregnant and homeless, please help”. It wasn’t so much what her sign said as it was the day in which she stood there. Here it was a holiday of thanksgiving, a day to be grateful. And here she stood all alone, in the cold. Didn’t she have family? Did she have no one to cook for her? The sadness overwhelmed me and I burst into tears. We drove back around the corner and my husband got out and handed her $5 after I insisted we do something. Maybe I played into the game. Maybe I should have had a stiff upper lip and told her to go learn to fish instead of handing her one. I couldn’t. I wanted her to know that someone cared. I wanted her to know that someone saw her and acknowledged her on this Thanksgiving Day.
So here again, I sat for a seemingly endless time trying to avoid the gaze of this man, praying for him and hoping he could find what he needed.
My final unusual event was actually a positive one. As I walked along my walk, finishing off sections of a neighborhood I mostly had walked before, disappointed by my inability to capture gorgeous, foggy photos, I found a hidden treasure. I’d heard of them before and had no idea I was sauntering my way towards one. Up ahead of me amongst a sea of browns and dismal grays sat a large mailbox, practically glowing in bright rainbow colors.
Except it wasn’t just any ordinary mailbox. It was a library! I had stumbled across a Little Free Library!
This little gem completely changed my mood. It reminded me quite a lot of my Finding Rainbows blog.
So today’s moral is; lift the fog. Look around you and find the joys, even the little ones. Be aware of those around you. Pay attention to those in need. Can you help? Did you try? Lift the fog and enjoy life! Grieve the losses as it makes you appreciate what you have all the more. And when something really great comes along, revel in your blessing then reach in and grab at it.