Tuesday, November 27, 2007

What Inspires Me

DC Blogs is holding its first annual photo contest. The theme is "What Inspires Me."

A week or so ago, I asked my readers to vote on four pictures I couldn't narrow down. The winners were my early morning picture of the statue of Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial and a lotus flower in full bloom with a hovering bumblebee that I took at the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this summer.

Lincoln Memorial at Sunrise

As a toddler, my parents lived in the D.C. area for a couple of years before decamping back to the Mountain West for 20 years. Some of my earliest and most vivid memories are of the Lincoln Memorial. It's Parthenon-like qualities inspire reverence and awe in me. Add to that the legend of Abraham Lincoln, and I am moved every time I visit this memorial to America's 16th president. At a time when our nation was shattered and divided, Lincoln--with quiet grace and dignity, but with firmness and resolve--sought to end the conflict between our states and reunite its people. The sad history of Lincoln is his death. Had he lived longer and overseen Reconstruction in the South, what kind of nation would we live in now? And what lessons are today's leaders missing that they could have garnered from Lincoln's simplicity and humility? When I find myself frustrated by the direction our nation is headed, I turn to Lincoln for solace and the hope that once again we can rise above our arrogance and be people of unity and peace.

Lotus and Bumblebee, Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

Having grown up in naturally beautiful surroundings--the high mountains of the Wasatch Range, the plains of Wyoming, and coastal California--I'm always on the look out for beauty in nature. It's not hard to find, but sometimes it's hard to capture adequately and with any kind of justice to the creator of such beauty. That's why when I captured this image, I was jazzed! Nature always leaves me awestruck--especially when it is powerful and evocative. When I look at this picture, I feel like perhaps, just maybe, I can accomplish anything. I also believe that, if there is some Great Divine Something, s/he was generous and let each of us play a part in creating the elements that contribute to the beauty in our world. It's an odd philosophy, I know, but what nature ultimately inspires in me is the belief that creativity lies within each of us. If I had a pad of paper and crayons on the day the earth was created, I'd like to think I contributed something beautiful like this!

Photo copyright: D.C. Confidential

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