19 Feb


“We Americans are trained to think big, talk big, act big, love big, admire bigness but then the essential mystery is in the small” — Jim Harrison

We were away, and it was much needed.  Doubt had crept in.  Our little world had taken a turn and much of the unspoken support we relied upon had become suspect.  Along with the broken snow shovel and old clothes, friendships had become frayed, and as if we were traveling familiar terrain in an unexpected snowstorm, we had come up short, lost in a sea of white, unsure of the direction home.

Walking along the Delaware, we swap Heath’s camera back and forth.  The hills are quiet, and the river speaks a language I don’t know, hiccuping, groaning, and burbling its way through a world slowly becoming solid.


We see things differently.  Heath fascinated by the small and near, while I look for sweep and curve, trying to take it all in.  But his eye is good, finding the beauty at his feet while I continue to scan the horizon.


Comfortable with the stillness of the day, he’s a pleasure to walk with.  The incessant banter of our life at home has settled down, and we listen to the water and the wind as he walks on, stopping occasionally to look around, as if searching for signs.


Watching him, I search for signs myself.  What does he see?  In a brain whose synapses gather and splay like a flock of birds, what does a snowy day in the Catskills look like?  How does it feel?


People are hard, and those that appreciate us are rare.  That’s true for anybody.  The natural world, though, that’s something different.  Perhaps it’s where we can best appreciate ourselves.

I hand him back the camera and he snaps the shutter, catching me unaware.  Taking a moment to check the image, he nods, and walks on.  I catch up, and walking beside him, we follow the river home.




7 Responses to “Flow”

  1. Tim February 19, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    Your writing keeps getting better and better…or your subject does. Either way, a pleasure to follow.

  2. Lucille Pirri February 19, 2016 at 1:53 pm #

    As usual, beautiful writing. Always look forward to your insights on the world. Heath’s a pretty good photograher. Love to all, Lucille

    • dtoddbell February 19, 2016 at 2:03 pm #

      Thanks Lucille. Hope you’re keeping warm.

  3. Grandma (Mom) Bell/Collins February 19, 2016 at 4:04 pm #

    Life does have its ups and
    downs. Friends come and go. The hardest are those we love. That is life my son.

  4. Diane Honeyman February 19, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    I absolutely love this piece.

  5. Shelli Heath Wright February 19, 2016 at 7:34 pm #

    Such beautiful images…both in writing and pictures. Thank you. I just love this.

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