I think I may have used this picture for a blog post last year. But I truly love this image. I have never before felt so surrounded by a bower of flowers in a place that was so gorgeous and peaceful. Although, as I recall, it was a bit chilly that morning at Magnolia Plantation outside of Charleston SC in the spring of 2019. Had I only known that that would be the last photo workshop that I would be able to attend for almost two years. I have really missed these wonderful and special opportunities to grow and learn as a photographer, not to mention the wonderful friends that I have made. For those who have passions, you will understand what it feels like to have opportunities to totally immerse yourselves for several days in something that means so much to you in the company of like-minded people. This particular image speaks to me about that kind of immersion experience. In order to capture it, I had to duck down and walk under other dangling boughs of flowering azaleas before I could stand up under them to take this shot. For awhile I was surrounded by such unexpected beauty. It was just me and them. Yet the paths are beckoning, saying, "But wait. There's more." And there is. I know each of us can, and should, find the thing or things that make our lives special and worth living to the fullest for as long as we can. For me photography has given me reason to get out of bed and witness the dawn, even on the coldest of mornings. It has taken me to places I might have only dreamed of going to. It has taught me to look at the world, even the least little thing, differently, to be more aware of my surroundings, like paint or wall paper peeling away, rust, the life cycle of something as mundane as a common dandelion, or the faces of both happy and sad people, and much more. When I was returning from my first photo workshop in the fall of 2012, I knew that I was now a changed person. I would, nor could I, look at the world superficially again. I saw myself now as a real part of something so much bigger, something that was meaningful in both the big and the smallest ways. I now have a thirst to find, view, and then share in the best way I can this world. This means I have to move out from under this bower of flowers and follow that beckoning path beyond. And it is easy to follow that call.