“So often I fear the unexpected, wishing to micro manage and control every little detail. But I’m finding out those unplanned, worst case scenarios can actually be wonderful.
Tonight everything went wrong and nothing went as planned. At first I fought off tears as my vision collapsed before my eyes. But time wore on and we got caught in the rain, stripped raw of all the extras, completely bare with one another. I am happy and fulfilled and reminded of just how grateful I really, truly am.”
– november third, 2017
We scheduled a photo session for early November. Actually, this was a re-schedule from one that was supposed to happen the week before. But the rain came, so we changed the date lest we got caught on a mountain top in the pouring, lightening-stricken storm. So the next week, with a 47% chance of rain, we drove back out to my favorite place on earth for a chance to take some beautiful family photos.
Well, let’s be honest here – it didn’t just rain, it poured. With just a handful of cars parked below the hike and rain falling down in sheets from the dark clouds, it was impossible to tell who was where or what to do. Finally, in a lull from the wind and just sprinkles instead of buckets, I saw our photographer sprinting from car to car, looking for us as well.
There was a choice to make: to go ahead and try to get some sort of rainy-day, family photos, or reschedule for another day.
My heart was heavy and I could feel tears threatening. These photos were for more then just a picture to put on a Christmas card or hang up from our wall. They were for hope and life and moving forward after loss. They were a celebration of our family, of our baby girl, of our life as messy and complicated as it was.
So we choose to try.
I listened to our photographer as she encouraged us to drive a bit further down the mountain into more wooded, drier ground. Away from the fog that hid the views, and into the covering of trees. We followed her down to a slick and wet portion on the drive filled with fallen leaves and deep, muddy puddles.
This place was a bit of magic.
With vibrant, autumn-toned leaves, the trees surrounding us were at the height of fall. It was still muddy and wet, with the trees acting as just a broken filter between us and the rain. Oddly, I breathed deep and could relax.
The past two years have been challenging. Full of broken dreams, unexpected failures, and harsh realities, it hasn’t been a seamless transition to the mountains we now call home. With some travel planned for the future, with a lot of uncertainty and unknowns, we wanted to specifically remember the beautiful moments here, not just the broken. So in an effort to pick ourselves up and dust off and prepare for the days ahead, I scheduled this session.
Even with the rain, with the cold, with the rescheduling and uncertainty – it couldn’t have been more perfect.
How fitting it was, after nearly two years that have grown and stretched us more then we could have anticipated, we would celebrate it with another unexpected but growing experience? In the rain, with my husband and baby girl, we actually genuinely, truly laughed. We forgot our cares. We forgot our expectations. We let it go and just moved together. While the rain poured on top of our heads and trickled down our faces, we kissed and we dreamed and we were grateful. Letting the water shower all over us – removing all of my make up, drenching our carefully coordinated clothing and making it heavy, waterlogged, tough- embracing that moment was healing for my soul.
I experienced in those fleeting twenty minutes the saying that everyone says but nobody really means; that life is what you make of it. Even in the rain. Even in disappointments. Even in the worst of weather and the breaking of dreams.
There’s a beauty in that, isn’t there? That everything can be crashing down around you, but yet there is still joy. There is still hope.
I cling to that hope. Hope for better tomorrows. Hope for restored dreams. Hope for sunny days and passing storms and a happiness that can’t be shaken.
I wish for these things. I hope them for me, and I hope them for you.
All photographs taken by the lovely Christine Farmer.