It’s early morning. The heavy September dew coats the grass and soaks my socks through my boots. There’s a chill in the air that wasn’t here all summer, a fog that is slowly creeping across the field from the creek where the mudcat are burrowed into the bottom. All is quiet except for White Throated Sparrow in its fall migration distantly calling to a friend, maybe speaking of the chill in the air. The dogwoods have changed from vibrant green to a deep burgundy; they, too, know winter is coming. It’s here I am reminded I am not alone. It’s in these moments I know I am part of something much greater. This is why I bring my camera to the land.
Going to the land with the lens brings out an awareness of our interconnectedness. There’s something so beautiful about walking through the woods, often with my young children, and noticing how everything has a unique pulse of its own yet works in perfect sync with each other. This is the beauty I seek with my camera. While out here, I often ask questions: Who spreads the message to the sparrow that fall is here? Who brings the chill in the air to make the fog cling to the earth in the early mornings? Who was it that placed the droplets of dew on the dogwood leaf, so that it shines so perfectly in the morning sunlight? I am compelled to stop and capture that moment with my camera. I don’t always know the answer, but the beauty exists, and it is far too brilliant not to share.
The Center for Humans and Nature’s question, “What stories does the land hold?” further deepens my search for and understanding of our connection to the land and what it means to Onkwehonwe people (first people, original people). The answer to this question for me comes from the intersection of culture and creation. In Haudenosaunee stories, the lessons for human life stem from the land, the animals, the sky, the water. It’s these beings that teach us humility, respect, kindness, hard work, honesty, love. Once you’ve heard these stories, you don’t have to look very far to be reminded of them. They are present in the dandelion poking through the sidewalk crack, the cardinal in the city park. They are always here, our relations—a gentle reminder that we are not set apart or above, but meant to be in union with them, part of a flawless design.
I am deeply inspired by this unity, this sense of place in the natural world. The design of a leaf, the perfect timing of a fall songbird migration, and where we belong within is the story I strive to tell. The camera is the medium I use to share this beautiful truth.
It is my hope that by sharing this truth, my viewers will want to see and feel something deeper. My hope is that all may come to know of the offering of love that the land holds, waiting to embrace us.