This afternoon, as I paused while photographing a cascading creek to listen to the water, I realized I’d been neglecting to slow down and appreciate just being where I was. Too often I get wrapped up in the idea of making sure I’m taking advantage of every hour of the day; I forget that my work benefits from those moments I take to connect with where I am. I told myself that while I may have stopped working at 11:30 am, I’d already put in 6+ hours, with busier days before this one.
Again, this evening, as I sat in my campsite, I felt the appreciation for what I’d not been taking the time to fully experience. The chill of the evening mountain air, scented with campfire and forest, listening to the birds and shuffling of leaves in the trees, drinking a cold beer and waving hello to passing campers. Coming in every night just as dark settled in and doing little more than getting comfortable and falling asleep in order to have energy for the 5am morning…that’s not really the best way to appreciate where I am.
I think sometimes being a solo traveler brings on a certain amount of guilt. I’m not being social with someone, so why am I not working? Shouldn’t I be taking advantage of this time to get as much work done as I can? Maybe its been too long since my last trip that I forgot how important it is to Stop and Listen and Relax!
I also forgot how important it is for me, personally, not to stick too rigidly to a plan. Just because I said I’d be here for a full week doesn’t mean I have to be HERE for a full week. I had thought to meet up with some other photographers, but when that plan fell through, there was no real reason to stick so closely to this side of the park.
Following that vein of thought I’ve decided to venture into areas of the park I have not explored yet. I’ll check out Cosby and just wander round a bit. Maybe I’ll go explore southern Virginia…
I’m happy with the work I’ve done so far. The trip has been worth it for that, and for reminding me how to properly appreciate what I’m doing. Perhaps, also, for showing me that while the Smokey Mountains are a beautiful place, I enjoy this particular location more when I have company (I assume because I’ve visited so many times WITH company).
So, my only plan beyond now is to explore Crosby, hit the flea markets this weekend and venture North sometime this weekend.