Friday, September 23, 2016

brighter days

In the midst of it all, I picked up my camera again. I'd ignored it for a year- it was suddenly too complicated for my slow, foggy brain. Besides which, I wasn't entirely sure I wanted to remember this strange season, not in high definition anyway. 

Ever since David and I started dating I've meticulously documented our life together and created books of printed photos every six months. But the previous autumn, winter, and spring were nothing that I'd want glossily displayed on our living room table for friends to browse through. No wedding books or printed wedding photos either- I was terrified that if I kept getting sick, or if the medicine did not work as it does not work for so many people, I would have to leave Dave and go home to my parents house. I had to wait until I knew I would be okay enough to be a wife, till that time when everything wasn't so fragile; then the wedding would be real, then I could display photographic evidence of our marriage. 

By summer I was feeling better, better enough that not every one of our excursions was tinted with anxiety and fatigue. In the summer we would go days without mentioning Lyme disease; it began to feel like an afterthought. And so I created a beautiful book, filled mostly with swimming holes and waterfalls and rivers and lakes. When the book arrived in the mail, I declared summer officially over.
So I picked up my camera again, still rusty with the dials, but that will work itself out. I'm taking on work and marveling at how simple, even enjoyable, the articles feel as I type them out on my back porch. I still can't work from the coffee shops- noise is still very difficult, and I like sitting on our yoga bouncing balls instead of chairs. Chairs are too rigid, they make me squirm. One week I took on one article with Rootsrated, apprehensive to say the least. I remember earlier this year, sitting in front of the screen and crying, not understanding why my brain had forgotten how to write, how to form sentences, why my hands were shaking too hard to type. 

The one article took me a week instead of a day, but I got it done. The next week, somehow, I took on seven more. After that week, researching or writing from noon to ten pm I realized with a jolt- oh, hey, I'm back to work. How funny.  

When Rootsrated called and offered to send me to Nebraska to work with their Destination Marketing Organization, I was confident that I was well enough to travel. Believe it or not, it's rare to get to actually travel as a travel writer. I cover the Asheville area and the greater Southeast for the majority of my work, so I'm able to write from memory or imagination. But Nebraska? I know nothing about their outdoor scene, I'm excited to travel there on Tuesday and see a brand new landscape. 
I am looking forward to working again as a photographer. If you are local to Asheville and interested in a cheap session, send me an email : We can do a natural setting or someplace funky in town with all the crumbling stone, graffiti and railroad tracks. Because I'm just getting back into it, the rates are super cheap. 

I'm a strong proponent of photo shoots just for the hell of it. I don't think they need to be restricted to engagement, wedding and babies. I love shooting people just out with their friends or with their partner, no particular reason except they want to capture a nice day, a nice season of life. 

For New Englanders, I'll be home in Vermont from October 3-October 14th if you'd like to meet me there. 
I hope you enjoy these shots from a recent Saturday in the Blue Ridge Mountains with Erich and Melanie. It's so beautiful here. Autumn is off to a troubling start; this has been the warmest September on record and Asheville ran out of gasoline. My hope is that when I return from my three week trip to Nebraska and New England, the days will be crisp, the leaves on fire, and the blood they take every two weeks from my brachial artery will contain no more of this monster. 

If you're new, this blog is nearly 10 year old. You can read the whole story of my battle with Lyme Disease by clicking here.


Jessie said...

Beautiful photos! I wish I didn't live across the country from you. Are you planning any trips out West? Because I would seriously consider driving up to Seattle (from Portland) to do a photo shoot with you.

Melina said...

Hi Jessie! You never know- Seattle is always in the back of my head. It feels terrible to be so far from that city where so many of my best friends still live. Perhaps in the Spring I'll head up that way- we could do a cherry blossom photo shoot!

Molly said...

If you ever make it out West (more Utah than Washington) and want to shoot an Airstream, that would be super fun! I loved your card, and keep meaning to write back. I've been thinking of you all summer and glad things are brightening!

Beth said...

Melina - Hello....from Lincoln, Nebraska. Surprising huh? I have been a quiet follower of your blog (very quiet I never post a comment anywhere, or on anyone's blog) for several years and have thoroughly enjoyed your words and photos.
While I know you don't know me from a can of paint, if you need a contact for anything while you are in Nebraska just reach out and let me know. I work for the University of Nebraska and would be happy to help if you needed anything. You don't say if you will be in the eastern or western portion of the State but plan for semi cooler weather. Hotter than Betsy here these past few days but storms are coming in Saturday and that will cool things down to normal fall temperatures. Safe Travels.

Julie P said...

If you make it to Boston let me know. I'm a long time lurker but would love to meet you and take you up on a photo shoot!
So glad you are feeling better and working and creating again.

Elisa {With Grace and Eve} said...

Oh that's so wonderful to hear. Your photos are beautiful x

Melina said...

Julie, hi! Thank you for commenting! I will absolutely let you know when I'll be in Boston. I'll be there late night on Sunday but taking the dartmouth coach up to Vermont right away. I'd love to meet you- I grew up in Boston and I bet there would be some great places to shoot along the esplenade or in the commons.