A Photographer Learning to See with Words

What a small stone Gathering Means to Me
by Teri H Hoover

I am a happy photographer and a reluctant writer.

Growing up, my family took small hikes and big camping trips. Small stones would always find their way into my pockets. Heaving his brow into a knot, my dad would growl and fuss, muttering, "what are you gonna do with all them damn rocks?" Six kids collecting stones, weighed him down. Despite the growling, every trip would yield a cache of small stones that "had to stay outside."

Fast- forward 40 years or so. Each one of 6 children have healthy collections of stones, sticks, bones, leaves, and nests, inside their homes. I think my mother played a key role in our collecting. She never seemed disturbed by the stones -it was my fathers words that weighed her down. Sadly, this may still be true.

Writing (I wrote back then) and collecting stones and photographs every where I went was how I survived being a teenager. Unfortunately, I could not write after the age of 22 - my interior landscape frighten me too much. I took refuge in photography to tell the story.

So this is a return to the edge of me - where I end and the hole begins. And I do mean hole, not whole. Exposed-the photographer walking the path of perseverance in writing. Initially begun in January 2011- I wandered a two mile path-called the Huckleberry Trail in Blacksburg, Virginia. I bundle up against the elements, and my thoughts flowed into words. So filled with seeing - I walked right through winter, into spring. Riding high and feeling balanced.  When the exterior harshness subsided, I was surprised to find I was left with a much harsher interior landscape- exposing fault lines, fissures and heartbreak. It took me a few weeks to realize; if I could walk the exterior landscape of winter I might apply the same idea toward my inner landscape.

The breath of God, found in my very own breath, keeps me grounded. Clear seeing, blended with physical movement, will bring me home. Faith is not "having" faith. It is believing  faith has you in the palm of its hand- and it will carry you safely to where God needs you to be. The journey continues...