What many do not know about my history as writer and photographer is I created a website for trucking families on my graduation from Northern Michigan University in 1997. The website was homeroad.com and I ran the website from my living room near Gwinn, Michigan. I eventually sold the website to layover.com and came on board as their managing editor. With layover.com, I traveled as a photojournalist taking photos with the ‘company camera’ at truck shows in Dallas, Las Vegas, and Louisville. This was my first experience as a photographer in a professional manner. I knew absolutely nothing, but I was developing an eye for what worked, what drew interest, and fell in love with color, light, and contrasts.
Life threw me some curve balls and due to a divorce, I walked away from my life in trucking to work on healing my soul. I worked as an AmeriCorps worker in Gwinn schools, attended massage school, and returned to my interest of nutrition and natural foods. Along with healing, came a new relationship to a man who hiked trails with a camera. On hikes, I would bring along a disposable camera and click carelessly exhausting my 27 images long before the end of hikes. I eventually purchased a digital point and shoot, then a bridge camera, and finally a big girl DSLR. I was discovering a new genre, photography.
Love of the trails led to becoming a trail runner. I often ran with a camera. But as I healed my soul, and gained fitness, I also began collapsing after races. Irony, as I healed my soul I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, Celiac Disease. Try as I may to heal my body I was reaching roadblocks. I now had to learn to listen on a deep internal level to the needs of my health. I stepped away from running the trails and back to hiking with my camera.
As this autumn approaches, I am feeling the strength of brining my journey to others, to bring words, photos, and story together to help heal others thru my experiences.
Beach Bound, Day Two was set up the night before with coworkers. We would wake and meet-up and visit the beach at Lil’ Presque Isle just outside Marquette up County Road 550. Three girls, one boyfriend, and a beach. Perfect! We arrived prior to 1pm (work 3-11 shift). We walked thru the tall red pines to an open and almost completely vacant beach. The water warm enough for me to dive in! Not bad for Lake Superior in early July. But then came the black flies. So location for Beach Bound, Day Two rearranged locations to a tropical paradise with honeysuckle, red rose, a crystal clear warm pool and a new friend. Funny thing is I (we) still arrived at work early on Wednesday. But I was sooooo relaxed. BTW–>Not much progress made on the book today!
Dead River I-IV
(all rights reserved)
Part One: An evening with Mike on the Dead River Basin had me reflecting. I was thinking of May Erlewine, her music, her lyrics, her voice, and how I needed to be lulled by eddies. I was entranced by the surface tension of the water. The thickness of the water. Viscosity. The reflections of forest and sky. Upsides. Downsides. And how needy I have felt the last few days.
21.5.800 Day Four
It’s raining, again. The yard looks wild. I’m drinking too much coffee on a Friday. Yet I had nine hours sleep. My body requested it and me, I gave-in. Allowance.
The view of the lake from my hill looks misty and haunted.
Used up the leftover chicken broth to cook white basmati rice and then snipped in some fresh parsley and I set aside a big bowl for Mike’s meal tonight.
If I am to allow certain extravagances, I must strive to use all resources available, wisely.
Like cooking up baby carrots that look to dry for salad.
It is easy to stay in today. Rain. The last day of my workweek. The last night in a string of 3-11pm shifts. If I thought this week was difficult, how will I react after next week?
I must remember to ease into each day. With Breathe. With Chanting. To Stretch.
I’ve lowered the impact on my body less running, more biking, more yoga, more sleep.
My thoughts are distracted by the rain today. It is heavy. Not in strength but it looks thick and the drops large and they fall with plunks on the deck. The traffic going by hisses with spray and the dryer in the laundry room buzzes and the snaps on my pants tap and clink.
I’m craving midnight colored skies with the orange glow of campfire and the sound of night birds.
The cat tries to seek out my lap as I type. Even he is seeking some warmth. It’s tropical out there, the pinks and whites of the roses standing out against brilliant green in the dark of a rainy day. But it is cold. Damp. Wet.
I had forgotten to cross out the days on the calendar and was stuck back on Saturday of last week. Have you ever done that? It is an odd occurrence for one who lives by day planner. I eeven missed meeting earlier this week. I must have not opened the day planner at all this week. I did not know I had missed the meeting until I walked past the wall calendar and it whispered for me to look-up, look-up.
I phoned my apologies.
I shorted myself an hour of pay by missing that meeting. But I had gained and hour of sleep. I wonder which was the more valuable. (We both know this answer).
The coffee feels good. Both the mug on my hands and the warmth in my belly.
The cat has decided to sit next to me. He is not in lion mode but in kitty mode. Trying to be cute and not a bother so I will share my spot of warmth on the couch and mabe give hs ears a rub.
Never turn on the television when home alone. I like the quiet. I long for quiet.
Even the raindrops are loud today.
And the dryer.
My thoughts are short and not fluid. I need to walk riverside. I need to dress for play and hike a trail. I need to lay on sand in the sun. I need spark. Blue. Stone. Quartz. Granite. I know I need the trails of Wetmore and Lil’ Presque.
I can take you there.
I want people in my life who offer warmth and cheer. Who are genuine. Who find blessings in ladybugs and dragonflies. Orange daylilies. The value of an apple tree with a dead branch. Birds perched in song. A sleeping mourning dove on top of a birdfeeder.
I can take you there, too.
Have I ever told you that I want to open a healing center. Not in the coty. But where yards open on lush gardens with birds. Where hummingbirds visit for nectar while massage is received?
Have I ever told you this space would have daily soup and smoothies?
That here people would meet for tea and chat?
Tai Chi next to the pond. Yoga in the yard. Laughter.
I can take you there.
Word Count: 662
How do you approach the shore? As a child I approached two different ways. If in the presence of others, cousins, summer friends, aunts and uncles, parents or grandparents, I rushed in. Running full-steam all knees and elbows and a splash was soon to follow. When alone, I was a whisper, trying to not move the tiny grains of sand. Walking lighter than a feather. Attempting to leave no trace of myself, not even a shadow. I was magic and no one knew but the shore.
This morning the frost on the coal piles at the Shiras Steam Plant looked like snow. Could the frost really be that thick?
“People ask where do you live. I bet it’s beautiful,” they say.
I Live in South Marquette up the hill from Lake Superior. I have an almost romantic view if you hold up your right hand, squint and block out the power plant.
When students realize I walked to school in order to sub-teach they ask, “Where do you live?
Less than 10 minutes away.
They ask, “In the rich area?”
This was about 2 weeks ago and we were having some class discussion on the lack of sidewalks in this neighborhood. How walking in the dark before school is dangerous and how people are in such a hurry with cars they don’t even bother to look for skateboarders, walkers, and people on bikes.
But we do value our bikes in Marquette.
And I’m glad for the paths I walked on this morning as I hoofed to Michigan Works and a training recertification.
But I arrive and find out I was sent to a training that happens next week and I am out 8 hours of pay for today. So I make lemonade, or applesauce, it is fall. I sit my butt in a chair, wait for my boss to pick-up her phone and start looking for that next job.
I think me like unsweetened applesauce, chucky, with cinnamon and that apple orchard taste of the cider mills in northern Oakland County. I am thinking Yates. I am thinking hayrides. I am thinking of crisp walks and the crunch of leaves. But this is the Upper Peninsula and here we have no cider mills, just corn mazes and it’s no wonder I look for work so often.
I’ve renewed my commitment to walking and reducing my carbon footprint. It’s a commitment that fuels my art in such green ways. It is awesome to be blooming when the leaves get crunchy. Juxtapositioned, I am.
Pockets empty and light –abundance can fill me up—I’m ready.
Apples still hang from every tree even though the limbs are bare. Orbs. Rotting. Shrinking. Waiting for the bear on his journey to winter. We all have our journeys and the trip isn’t cold if you jog the path. I am speeding toward my next stop. I am sure with all this walking and running I will arrive breathless and with rose-apple cheeks.
I was bit by black flies today. Lying on a purple and white striped beach towel, I tired to ignore the bites, the wind whipping sand at my body. I felt in the way of drift and time. What was the essence of those long summers at Cathead Bay? Mike ponders with me in our Sunday morning bed—the expanse of time in which to do nothing—or everything I add. So this afternoon, in my hopes of doing everything, I headed to Wetmore Landing and here I lay in the way of wind and time. I worry that my weight loss has left me looking like a 45 year old woman with clothes that look old, worn-out, and baggy. I am wearing cut-off jeans over my too large swim suit. I’m alone accept for the two girls on towels, and the two boys on rocks, and a family drinking bud-light and doing crossword puzzles. I play with burying my own legs to keep the flies from them. The girls watch drinking their bottles of red Gatorade. Over the rocks comes a boy. He begins crazy construction of a sand castle and moat. He’s in the zone. Separated by this giant granite rock from family, he constructs molding and digging only with hands. Mother appears over the crest of rock and calls, “Brian!” He does not respond. He scoops water and sand. Mom locates the boy and turns back over the rock, back down to her hollow out of the wind. Aunt Linda chases young children down the beach—headed back to the car after what looks like along day hiking.
I walked the wooded trail. Returned by way of beach, greeting each dog, black lab, golden, Shepard, mix. I’m putting off good vibes and they know it. Today I did get time to stand still for a bit. Long enough to scribble words in the margins of this book. Long enough to remember I need bananas from the co-op. Long enough to let hot sand ease some tension from my neck and shoulders. The blue of Lake Superior is powerful in all weather. I gaze out in prayer, hoping to carry some of that power and energy into my work week. Hoping to keep some clarity of who I am instead of the labels that categorize my life into pockets of time and energy. Too often, it seems the clock dictates who I am or what role I play. And, me, I have been telling myself for years I can do anything for a day, eight hours, for the next ten minutes.
I am a participant in the…
Free Write Fling with Cynthia Morris–31 Days to Loving your Writing!
Tomorrow I will scramble eggs after a run on hemlock shaded trails. I will meditate on the image of a father and a young blond-haried son on the dock at Teal Lake. Fishing before 9a.m
I was driving to work, a Ziploc bag of honey-nut cheerios wishing for bananas and a day to read a book straight thru on a deck overlooking blue waters. It’s who I am in summer. Who I was. But now I work where I can.
My physical therapist says—you can do all you need to, right? And my anger rises at the lifestyles I have surrendered. I think of fingertips, a slow trail on water, and a slow crawl towards what’s next. How I am afraid to dare.
Massage practice closed now 4-years. Lost. Seeking harbors. That’s where I’ve been
I want to tell the physical therapist I most certainly cannot do all I need.
Words are an offering I write them on gum wrappers as a gift. Joy. Want. Hope. Art. Be. Zing. Drift.
Green ripples to gold and copper shining thru the ore dock of my photograph.
I feel the need to travel. (I wonder if Raphael will guide me.)
You know one of those long drives around the shore. Some great lake shore. Michigan highways. A curl of black-gray ribbon winding ahead into a mirage that never reflects. I approach and it is gone.
To me, images are like writing. A photo a piece of parchment on which cherished things are recorded. This image is from my Memorial Day trip to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. The delicateness touched me. And, tonight, as I listen to Barack Obama, our Nation’s President talk about family and his job, I feel quieted. For now I see hope again after a somewhat dark day.
You see I was feeling down. Scared over money. Wanting so much.
But I was reminded by our President, my partner Mike, and Leon Katona, that I have so many reasons to be thankful and grateful.
Kim Nixon Okay, it’s time to list my gratitudes cause I was gettin’ a bit too f-in murky (feel free to add your gratitudes as comments).6:28pm
Kim Nixon at 6:30pm June 3
I am grateful for the greater range of motion in my shoulder. I am grateful for my sparkler. I’m grateful for the iris, lilac, apple blossom, and the sail boats headed out on Wednesdays. I’m grateful for the dinner invite on Tuesday (my daughter’s home).
Kim Nixon at 6:33pm June 3
Kim is grateful for her job, the people she gets to care for and their families.
Leon Katona at 6:36pm June 3
I’m thankful that I got to see your work at the DeVos the other day! AND that when I went to Peter White I picked up a copy of “Health and Happiness” and saw that you had an article in it!! =]
Kim Nixon at 6:38pm June 3
Kim is grateful for her ability to lose weight and her recent successes. And also for the leftovers in the fridge.
Kim Nixon at 7:53pm June 3
Holy crap–Leon you just made my day!! :-) There are two of my articles in H&H. Okay I cannot feel down on myself right now.
Leon Katona at 9:06pm June 3
I loved your self-image and healing article. I think it really shows that you’ve become more comfortable by submitting that piece. Really lovely work.
Kim Nixon at 10:12pm June 3
Okay…wow…it’s true so much is changing, has changed. Sometimes it is hard to remember even recent positive changes.
As I eat this low-fat raspberry muffin I ponder deceptions. We’re surrounded by the titlt of truths. My coffee cools. I consume my muffin. The train whistle haunts me at 2:30pm. I’m engineered that way, always curious. The conductor, is he content? Can he daydream on the job? Like me, until the iron mine detonates, a daily blast, jolting me back to reality and shaking the stemware in the cupboard.
My parents visited tiny rural airstrips, watched single propeller planes make successful take-offs and landings. Sitting silent with paper cups of coffee, never holding hands. I wonder what it did for them? Did it bring order, predictability, like the 2:30pm train. It was a Sunday thing, like church, sitting in the backseat of the brown jeep by the runway.