Independence Day 2020

The finest rockets ever seen:
they burst in stars of blue and green,
or after thunder golden showers
came falling like a rain of flowers.

Samwise Gamgee’s Contribution

From Frodo’s Lament for Gandalf

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

July 4, 2020

A little late, I know. These things take time. 

Independence Day, the day of our Nation. The birth of the United States of America and how We define Freedom. An appropriate time to reflect on the importance of internal values, life changing events and the movement forward!

The United States was founded on the principles of Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. We celebrate the 4th of July every year to come together as a people and remember what makes We the People of the United States so unique and diverse. 244 years ago, a group of people, young and old, came together to create a document to define themselves a free people, independent of one “whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant”. Please take some time and read the Declaration of Independence for yourself. It seems to fill me with hope and belonging. A sense of ownership and pride. A way forward forged by hard work, patience and an iron will.

These feelings are repeated in our recent endeavors attributed to the latest adventure.  Meredith, Sadie the adventure dog, and I embarked on a journey for work and learning to Santa Barbara two years and some months ago. It was quite an experience. I worked, for a time, with a company that manufactured microscopic silicon mirrors for the transfer of data via fiber optics. Meredith worked for the County of Santa Barbara developing a dental program for the benefit of the underserved populations. We came away with battle wounds, as it were, and a few souvenirs. Attending one of the most beautiful campuses in the U.S. for two years and successfully expanding my repertoire was a profound achievement. 

Two weeks ago, we followed through on a decision to relocate to Bend, Oregon. It was a long process. We weren’t even sure we wanted to at first. After a tour around the state and a few conversations, it was the first ever location, for us both, to be in a place we chose rather than a place we lived in for work. Jobs are important, of course, and we have our plan for stability, but Bend is supplying us with the space, light and a view that we were craving. For me, at least, Independence Day was the day it all sunk in. We had climbed on the roof of our new place with a perfect view of the peak of Pilot Butte. They had one of the best firework displays that I had ever experienced. I have seen shows from hotel rooftops in San Diego, from the deck of the USS Midway, backyards, television, and even from the city of San Francisco and this beat them all. To sit on the roof with the best company in a new place, experiencing a show that will dazzle me for years is, as my dad would put it, unglaublich (incredible, unpayable). It was almost as if the fireworks were a “welcome to the neighborhood” gesture from our new home in Oregon. I spent 12 years in California between the military and striking out on my own. I am very excited to embark on the next leg of my journey. 

I am happy and proud to share some of my favorite images that I took that night with a Nikon Z6 camera and a Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 lens. The images are long exposure and anywhere from 3-15 seconds.