To Sweat or To Sit

”I’ve found [photography] has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”

– Elliott Erwitt


If you read my post a week ago, you know that I’m starting a Week in Review of fluffy” photos on this blog to give us all just a little something to mindlessly enjoy. Mind you, though, I DID do some actual work this week on the blog. If you haven’t checked out the start of my first identification gallery, you should do that after you read this, especially if you happen to share my fascination with butterflies. But back to this.

When I sat down to pick out my seven favorite photos from this week, I began to see all of the images come together for more than just face value of the subject matter. I began to see them in such a way that they told a story…a story about me…really a story about all of us.

I work a lot. My husband J. calls me a bee. Funny that the bee would now be raising bees in her very own back yard. (Sort of reminds me of that kindergarten teacher sweater that sports bears wearing sweaters that have bears wearing sweaters on them. Where does one bee or bear begin and the other one end?) But back again to this. I’m really not unlike any of you. We all work. We all work a lot. I think what sets some of us workers apart from other workers, though, is an ability to turn off the work switch and flip on the play switch…or, even more delicious, to shut it all down and just be, not bee. Be slow. Be easy. Be centered. Be grounded. For all that is holy and pure…be present. Allow yourself some moments throughout the week where time doesn’t matter. Shocking concept, right? That time shouldn’t always MATTER. If you aren’t doing this religiously, before too long you’ll find yourself flat on your back at the bottom of the hive…DEAD. And, as my bestie Jilly W. reminded me this week, the Monty Python cart master of an undertaker will come along calling, “Bring out your dead,” and your friends and family will just have to carry you out and toss you onto the passing cart.

I had this feeling while walking this week. I glanced under my neighbor’s arbor and spotted an old periwinkle clam-shell chair, sitting amidst spindly stalks of purple Penstemon, and I got this feeling I couldn’t quite place. In my heart of hearts, though, it soothed me. Something about that chair equated to everything that is right in this world. It wasn’t until my friend D. D. commented on the photo and said, “Makes me think of my Grandpa,” that I could set into words why that chair seemed to quell every bit of noise within my soul. If you’ve ever had a Grandpa, nothing about him is busy. The closest you’ll get to “busy” with a Grandpa is more akin to the word “putter,” and that’s what makes him perfect. Grandpas always seem to have time. I know mine did. I have very real, very clear images of him just sitting. Sitting and tapping his foot. Now tell me, who do you know in your life right now that you can clearly imagine just sitting? I bet you’re hard-pressed to name one single individual. That was how the chair unfolded for me. It spoke to me and said, ”At some point every week your story should end up with you as a Grandpa, even for just a few moments.” I can start out busy, sweat on my brow as I bustle here and there, packing everything I can into a day, but in the end, dang it, I absolutely should cool off, take a few long sips, maybe of some wine, and just sit in a chair and be, not bee.

The story is all right here in my seven favorite photos for the week. It’s my story. It could be yours too, if you let it.


All you have to do is pull up a chair.


All the best,

A. J.


“Dive Right In” (Metallic green Sweat Bee working the Coreopsis)


“Just Keep Moving” (Honeybee workers carry pollen into the hive and fly right back out)


“Pack it All In” (Honeybees packing different colors of pollen into the comb)


“The Cool-Down” (Blue Borage bathes in the sprinkler)


“Take a Long Sip” (Four-lined Bug sucks juice from a leaf)


“One Glass or Two?” (Nothing quite as delectable as the perfect Winecup)


“Just Be” (Enough said)

From Pigeons to Poppies

“Photography is the story I fail to put into words.”

– Destin Sparks


Where did March and April go? The past two months have been crazy in the Schulz household!!! My day job is real estate, so just as spring starts to lift off the down covers of winter and stick one toe out on the cold, early March floor, I’m diving head-long into the lap pool of work. Couple that with spring break vacation and, suddenly, a lot of balls are in the air. Over the past eight weeks, however (while I was obviously NOT writing), I still made time with J. to get the vegetable rows seeded, the pollinator garden cleaned up and ready for its impending glory and the first hive in our backyard apiary occupied (more to come on that little venture later). AND…I have SO much to talk about. Honestly, so many things have happened in my outdoor world that I could have content to write about for months! But I’m finding in this blog, career, mom, wife, volunteer world that I co-exist in with my six other selves that the “blog” part is tough to balance. Actually, it’s all tough to balance.

As I’ve wrestled with the right purpose and focus for this blog, I’ve also been working to flesh out how my true passions can be of benefit to others. I have some good ideas about big, meaty content, periodically, but I’m looking to couple that with smaller, quick tidbits that I can easily share with you throughout the week. I’m embracing this concept from blogger friend Jill Elliott over at The Someday Project. When Jill and I chatted, we talked about how everyone appreciates serious substance from time to time, but we all also need ideas and tips that we can grab on to and run with, without a lot of effort.

Even so, I’m additionally keenly aware that sometimes we just want to bring it all down even one level further to what I call the “fluff zone.” On Wednesday of this week I quipped on Facebook® that, after a tough day, I sometimes just need some solid television binging. This week, it happened to be Sneaky Pete. Loving it, by the way. But in my outdoor world, the absolute, no question, nothing even comes close to it “fluff,” that’s like a soft, cozy blanket by the fire or a hot bubble bath with a glass of champagne, is photography. When I’m behind the lens I experience the same sensation as I do when I paint…nothing else matters, and I simply don’t think. I just create with my eyes.

My camera accompanies me like an old friend these days, nearly every day of the week. So, I thought, “Why not?” Why not just share a little of what I see in my world each week and share it for the sole purpose of simply conveying art through the eye?

So that will be your “fluff” for this blog. Every weekend I’ll share my “Week In Review” of my top seven favorite photos with absolutely ZERO purpose other than to provide you with something pleasant to look at. And don’t we all just need something nice to look at now and then?

Okay…you MIGHT learn something too, if you choose to read the caption. I guess one can never fully remove the “teacher” from the “fluffer.” 😉

All the best,

A. J.


“Stealing a Kiss” (Female Rock Pigeon flirts with a male, while sitting on the dock of Sunset Bay)


“Cleared for Landing” (Honey Bee on approach to pink Columbine)


“Soak Up the Sun” (Reakirt’s Blue female spreading her wings)


“Snake in the Grass” (Great Egret enjoys a reptilian lunch)


“It’s In There Somewhere” (Bee dives head-first into Gulf Coast Penstemon)


“Inhabit the Hive” (J. and N. transfer our first package of bees)


“Channeling Georgia O’Keeffe” (Coveting my neighbor’s poppies)

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