There’s a gravel road off Highway 89 in Grand Teton National Park that leads to a creek and a beaver dam. The pond the industrious beavers have created conveniently reflects the Grand Tetons in the distance and it makes for a quiet and scenic spot for photographers to capture the beauty of the mountains. The thing is, you can take hundreds of pictures of views like this but when you look at them later they never quite measure up to the real thing. There were times on the trip when I had to force myself to put my camera down and just be in the moment, to take in my surroundings without trying to “capture” something in my viewfinder for future screenings. Looking back on our vacation I know we didn’t do enough of that. We ran from one end of the park to another looking for animals and views to photograph, we hiked up a mountain, our goal was to make it all the way up and we did. At the top of the mountain we took a few pictures, drank the remains of our water, and then headed quickly back down. We wanted to experience as much of the park as we could knowing we may never get back there…plus we needed lots of pictures for the photo album I was planning to put together once I got home!
We are a busy, goal orientated society. It’s the American way to keep your eyes on the prize, to see and take and always be on the lookout for the next challenge, the next conquest. The older we get the faster the years seem to fly by and I can’t help but wonder if that’s because we are always seeking, always counting on tomorrow to bring us the better job, the baby, the love, the good health, the closure, the peace of mind, that dream vacation and whatever other dreams our little heart’s desire. We say it’s the journey that really matters yet we spend much of our lives chasing the results. I like how the photographer in my photo has stepped away from his camera. Perhaps he is waiting for the light to be perfect before he takes the next photograph, but I hope not. I hope he was enjoying the moment, not looking forward or backward, but simply looking out.