My blog is nearing the state of one of the lost ones. Seven years I've worked on "Expedition Oklahoma" but this last year and a half have been the hardest to maintain interest and stay motivated. I have also spent the last six months in technological limbo; a failed internet connection and just a state of apathy about continuing to write my life down and document it one photo-essay at a time. So I've had a huge change in my life and it is truly changing and my "expedition is no longer Oklahoma" - I have moved to New Mexico. Starting over.
In 2009 I was a frustrated teacher looking for images so I could educate my students about the state of Oklahoma; when I realized I didn't know Oklahoma at all. I wasn't familiar with the history and the sense of place outside of the textbook. I could teach but I could not educate because my own depth of knowledge wasn't deep enough. So I took my camera and I started exploring when I had the idea for a blog. I wanted to learn everything I could about Oklahoma so I could become an effective educator. Here I am seven years later and I'm in a new state and I am an educator of state history - so once again I embark on a journey. My sister suggested I rename my blog to "Expedition Oklahoman"- which is a wonderful idea but it probably won't happen.
This fall I made the great pilgrimage to The Grand Canyon and it was everything and more that I imagined it could be. Less than a day's drive from my new home and I can see this incredible place. I think the last year I have re-entered the education profession after two long years of graduate school. I worked in a difficult school where I commuted a hundred miles a day. I spent 2015-16 exhausted. The pay in Oklahoma never allowed me to feel caught up with anything or enjoy my life as an educator so I decided to make a change. I moved to a state that at least compensates their teachers with a living wage (which I do not see Oklahoma ever being able to do). It is much easier to work in a position where you feel independent and able to support yourself. I also moved because my asthma is so bad in Oklahoma that it affects my quality of life.
I moved in September and it's late February now. I've appreciated the slower pace of life of living in a rural, isolated community. I've had to adapt to experiencing winter. I've learned that not everything is as urgent as it could be and staying home and not always being busy is possible. I want to find my love of writing/blogging/and photography again. I want to find a love of a lot of things again. I feel that in the last year that I've begun to lose some of my passion for living and am choosing to not explore like I had.
A few weeks ago we were snowed in for a week. My house surrounded by the towering Ponderosas and a foot of snow. I am adjusting to high altitude living and am better off because of it.
In the last year I've practically given up astrophotography and the drive to go out and work on landscapes is leaving me; perhaps this is what happens when you feel that you've reached mastery level. I grow bored once I realize I can do something and do it well, yet I know I can still improve. I've grown bored with Oklahoma and my life and I want to find the spark that keeps me interested in living again even if that means I have to do things the unconventional way.
These are low res images so they don't appear as sharp on the page. This is the first night shooting I've attempted in over a year. I love shooting at night yet I haven't worked up the courage to do much night shooting in New Mexico. The skies are dark and amazing though.
This post is all over the place. I have kind of stopped writing, yet there is so much I have to say. Perhaps with my internet working at my new home this will be a start again.