Today, I am both honored and thrilled to have a guest post from my dear friend, Cari Gesch. She’s my favorite photographer and hiking buddy. I hope you enjoy her thoughts and her photos as much as I do!
Recently, someone asked me a thought-provoking question: “Where is your happy place?”
I responded, full of snark: “You know I can’t tell you that. It’s a secret. If I go telling people that, you never know who will show up and interrupt me!”
Later, I got to thinking about it and thought to myself: Does it have to be an actual place, or just a state of mind?
If you asked most people that know me where my happy place is, the overwhelming response would be the Columbia River Gorge. Really, what’s not to love about it? Waterfalls, basalt cliffs overlooking the Columbia River, moss-drenched forest and all of the treasures the farmland of the Hood River Valley has to offer. It’s perfect.
Another response may be “On the Hiking Trail”. I work in the heart of downtown Portland, surrounded daily by traffic noise and the accompanying smell of exhaust, constant streams of people, and the occasional “Occupy” protest which brings riot police and swarming news helicopters. Sometimes the only way I can truly escape from the stresses of life is to retreat to a hiking trail. Urban noise is replaced by the sounds of rushing water and birds calling to each other in the trees. Exhaust is replaced by the earthy smell of the forest air, and streams of people, by the occasional fellow hiker, smiling as you pass on the trail.
Or maybe the answer is when I am out exploring the wonders of Oregon with my two girls, ages 11 and 5. The wonder and joy in their faces as we play in the outdoors certainly brings a happiness to my heart. If you ask my youngest, she will tell you her happy place is anywhere there is water, rocks, sand and/or sticks.
My true happy place, however, is not so much a particular place, but a state of mind. It’s when I see something so beautiful or amazing that it almost cannot be believed, lift my camera to my eye, bring a scene into focus with my lens and press the shutter. That moment, when I know I have captured an incredible image to share with those that could not be with me there, that is my happy place.
So tell me, where is your happy place? Is it going to a spot that holds a special place in your heart, or is it doing something that you truly love? Or are you afraid to share for fear someone will interrupt you there?
You can find Cari online at her Wahkeena Exposures blog or store. All of the photos above were taken by her (except the one of her five-year-old playing in the water, which was taken by me and loaned for this post). She’s fabulously talented and her sites are well worth the time to browse! Also, you can find her on Twitter as @mahjerle.