Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, '09

On Sunday, July 31, 1994, my older brother Sephton Frank Naylor, was killed in a car wreck on his way home from a fishing trip with his young family. He was 26 years old, and had three small children.

The loss of Sephton was an incomprehensible loss to the entire Naylor family. A deeply spiritual person, he had probably only begun to catch a glimpse of his potential; and we can only wonder where his gifts as a Shaman and Healer might have taken him.

I was 16 at the time, and I vividly recall standing in the funeral home as many, many people walked through and quietly paid their respects. Countless nephews and nieces that respected and loved him. People that had grown up with him, and many people that he had worked with over the few short years.

"A terrible tragedy," we all said. And it was. I still remember walking in the room and seeing the haunting looks in his small families eyes. An incomprehensible loss.

But then again, maybe there was more to it then we know...

Maybe the Naylor family was in real need of a spiritual giant on the other side, working in their behalf. Maybe there was more that he could do as healer there, working with us on a spiritual level. I don't know, but it just might be the case.

In the Bible, in 2 Kings chapter 6, the king of Syria learns that the prophet Elisha is in a place called Dothan, and he sends an army to "fetch" him. The story says that there was a "great host" of horses and chariots, so use your imagination there for a number. But in any case, it was enough of an army to scare Elisha's servant.

The story continues:

"And when the servant of the man of God was risen early, and gone forth, behold, an host compassed the city both with horses and chariots. And his servant said unto him, Alas, my master! how shall we do?

And he answered, Fear not: for they that be with us are more than they that be with them.

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha. "

This memorial day as we go out and visit the graves of our loved ones, and recall the tender memories that we have of them, and as our hearts ache for the loved ones that we have lost, I want to leave people with a simple thought:

Your loved ones that seem gone, are in fact with you, working for you, and doing everything that they can to help you. It might be possible that they are able to help you more then if they were here. I don't know that, but it just might be the case. So take heart, and try and be comforted. Feel them, and even talk with them.

I'm not saying that you won't miss them. I'm not saying it won't hurt. And it just might be that way your whole life.


Sometimes, you can still be graced a little bit with their presence. And someday, you will see them again. I can promise you that. And in the meantime, they will help you, maybe more then you know.

This photo was taken at the Fort Lawton Cemetery, located within the grounds of Discovery Park in Seattle, Washington.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

One year of publishing...

Yesterday was the one year anniversary of this bog. Really, it’s a little amazing to me, and almost every time I log in to my blog page, I wonder a little at myself. Being a person that loves to keep my life, and my doings, so private and secretive, it’s really weird that I would be publishing a blog with my thoughts, writings and photos.

I’m also surprised at the way that it has changed over the months that I have been publishing. I’ve had some people ask why I write a blog. They ask why I take pictures. I usually answer, "I don’t know", but that’s not entirely true.

It’s interesting to note the paths that life leads us into. The original reason that I even started this thing was a slightly ridicules childish fantasy. But it seems like things are larger then me, and it seems that even though I may have reasons for doing things at one point, they seem to sometimes end up as something much different then I might have imagined.

I don’t know what will become of this blog. I don’t know what will become of my photography. I suppose that everyone in life wants to make some sort of a difference in the world. I feel like it is a little pretentious for me to think that this blog is, "making a difference". But I can hope that somehow, my life and efforts can be used to somehow touch others, to somehow become a catalyst for comfort, hope and change.

We live in a world that is so full of pain, sorrow, and heartbreak. Just last week:
  • I went and watched The Soloist, and I left pondering about the 90,000 homeless people on the streets of LA, and the countless homeless people the world over. People dying from disease, hunger, and tragedy...
  • I talked to a friend of mine that had broken up with the guy that she had been seeing for eight months. She was heartbroken, and she said some line about things like that making you stronger. I told her I thought that line was BS...stronger for what? Harder? Colder?
  • I talked with a dear friend that was struggling with her marriage and was deeply hurt. It seemed that she didn’t know how to go on, or what to do. I knew not what to say...
  • I found out that someone that I had recently become acquainted with had lost her sister in death about a year ago, and she was having a hard time with the one year anniversary...
What can I say to these sorts of things? What can I do? I don't know. And yet, there are happy things. Last week on the flip side:
  • I talked with dear friend of mine, in her fifties, that was excited about the prospects of a new relationship that she is in, after having been single for about ten years..
  • I shot an engagement photo session for a young couple. Such an amazing experience it is, to watch a young couple, excited to embark on a journey through life together.
  • My sister gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. I visited her, and listened, as she recounted the love that she realized that she had for this little girl before she was born.
  • I watched a new mother with her little girl, as she held her, and talked to her. Her dad worked on something close by. I watched as the little girl watched her dad, her soft brown eyes intent on his every move.
  • I watched a friend that had been childless for 14 years of marriage, as she held her new little baby boy, and cooed at him...
Life happens. What can we say to it? What can we change about it? Really change? With our puny little arms? I don’t know that we really can. Not without the help of our dear Father in Heaven.

In short, I continue to publish this blog for the same reason that I continue to photograph.

I feel called to.

Plain and simple. I don’t know why. I don’t know what good it does. I just feel like right now, it is something that I am supposed to do. I trust that. It might just be practice for something that is yet to come. Maybe it does good, and maybe it does not. I don’t know.

And another reason. I love the creative process. I love it when I start with a blank sheet of paper and emerge with a written piece. I love it when I drive down the road, or when I walk across a park and words come into my head. I love it when I pick up my camera, and I loose myself in my surroundings. To where time and place almost don’t matter, and it is just me and the camera, the light, the scene. I love it when I look at a photograph later and it takes me back to that second, that moment in time, the things that I felt, the things that I thought, the things that I hoped for. Sometimes it is sad, and sometimes it is happy, but it is all real. I don't really get inspired by my own photographs. I simply remember...

Some artists start with an image in their head and create that. I don’t. I don’t see it until it is there in front of me. It is the evolution of the subject, the writing, the photograph, the drawing, the song, or the dance, that I love. The change, the design on the fly. The complete lack of planning and structure. A sort of free-flowing creation that creates an exhilaration in my soul, and my spirit.

I suppose it is something that you have to experience to appreciate...

This photo was taken at Martin’s Cove, Wyoming. I was deeply moved while I was there, and the area is very sacred to me. I was coming back from New York via Wounded Knee, South Dakota, and I drove right past it, quite on accident. I had no idea I was going to pass it.

The people of the Martin, Willie, and other companies that embarked on the journey that ended in the death and suffering of so many, were undoubtedly remarkable people. I believe that they were people of faith. People that cared, that believed, that trusted God.

My ancestors were among those that struggled with the Willie company in that area, so I stopped and hiked around. I got there at dark, so I couldn’t stay long, but I did make it back to the actual campsite of the Martin company and I took this photo. I like it because we all have a path in life, with shadows and bright spots, sorrow, pain, happiness, and joy. And we might not see the end of the road right now, but somewhere on the horizon, there are bright areas, and all things work to the good of those that love God.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

A Tribute to Paul Cardall...

Paul Cardall is one of my hero's. He is a fabulous musician that has done huge things for the music community here in Salt Lake. I've been listening to his music for years, and it never ceases to touch me.

A few years ago, I bought one of his albums for a dear friend of mine as a gift. I e-mailed him and asked if I could meet him and get the album autographed. He told me that he had a signing already scheduled at a local store. When I went down to the store, no one else was there, and we talked for a few minutes. He smiled at me with a mischievous smile, and asked me what I wanted him to say on the album. "Nothing too heavy," I replied. He chuckled a bit as he autographed the CD.

We talked a bit about his albums. "Paul," I said, "you realize that Hymns One and Hymns Two are totally different." (For those of you that don't know the story, Hymns One was recorded on the spur of a moment while they were in the studio recording another album. Hymns Two was a planned recording.)

"I know," he replied. "The first one has magic."

What a perfect way to describe it.

About two years ago, I attended a concert by him at the Rose Wagner Theatre. It was a small and intimate setting. Just him and the piano. A wonderful setting and a wonderful concert, I sat in deep introspection through most of the music.

Paul Cardall has fought Congenital Heart Disease his whole life, and he is currently on a waiting list for a heart transplant. I want to recognize him while he is alive, and I hope he is with us for some time to come. I'd love to hear him again in concert.

I wanted to post this photograph, and when I read Paul's blog today, I knew what I was going to write to go with it.

This shot was taken in the Sacred Grove on the Smith Farm in Palmyra New York. This is my shot of the grove. And by that, I mean that this is the one that you would find in my house, on my wall. I took the other one to depict the common story, and it is clean of me. This one however, has me all over it. I adore this picture, and I am dedicating it to Paul Cardall, his efforts, and his inspiration to me.