Don’t pass it by

Jeff mowing our back yard on November 3, 2006, York County, Virginia

Jeff mowing our back yard on November 3, 2006, York County, Virginia

“There it is round you. Don’t pass it by—the immediate, the real, the only, the yours.”
Henry James

Until this year, this would be a typical sight for a Saturday in November; Jeff mowing the grass for perhaps the last time until spring.  I took this photo seven years ago, but even if I had taken it more recently, I could not have known at the time how much I would miss this seemingly ordinary sight, and how glad I am that I captured it in at least one photo.

I continue to hope, pray and believe that next year Jeff will be mowing that grass again (until cancer forced him to stop yard work, he had steadfastly refused to hire a lawn service, and he hopes to return to mowing one day).  Till then, I am looking around me with new appreciation for the daily gifts and treasures that sometimes hide beneath the mantle of their familiarity.

Right now, today, these gifts are all around you, too.  The everyday will one day be exceptional.  Don’t pass it by!

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Susan

    Another bittersweet photo. We really don’t know, do we? I’m glad you did get this picture of Jeff doing an “everyday” task that was important to him. All those years of your wonderful marriage, with the great travels and milestones, were still primarily made up of the everyday moments.

    Just a couple of hours before my father passed away unexpectedly at his home last month, my sister texted a picture of him. He was sick, so it was not a photo to post or share, but my siblings and I were all texting together (rare, because of time zones), with no idea that this would be the last photo ever. I’m grateful she sent it.

    • Susan, isn’t it amazing how often we have no idea of what will end up being significant, and what will not? The latter is sometimes more of an ongoing challenge to me than the former, as I often stress about things that ultimately do not really matter. I too am glad you have that photo of your father. Each of us, moment by moment, makes these tiny deposits in the account of our lives, but some bear far more interest than others. Thanks for being here!

  2. Judy from Pennsylvania

    I remember this post and photo from 7 years ago. It inspired me to start taking even more photos of loved ones doing ordinary things rather than posing for the camera. Sometimes I also take brief movies of them. When I look back at some of these captured moments, it warms my heart with the memories of how it was then. During these weeks of pandemic confinement and isolation, I find myself looking at them more and more. They comfort me. I think that this must very much be the way it is right now for you too.

    • Judy, yes it is. My college photography professor (who was also a friend to me and many others among his students; he was a true mentor in ways that went beyond the camera) agreed to be the photographer for our wedding. When I sat down with him to plan which shots I wanted taken– a typical practice then, and probably now– he reminded me that he was always focused primarily on the candid shot where no one was in an artificial pose. He agreed to take the usual clichéd wedding poses, but he also (with my blessing) took just as many, if not more, candid and spontaneous shots. Not surprisingly, these are the ones most loved by me and others over the years. As I write this, I realize that his teaching and practice influenced the thinking behind this post, and the photo featured here. Each of us owes such a huge debt to the countless others who walked life’s pathways ahead of us and shone the light of their experience to guide us. I’m so happy you enjoyed this post 7 years ago, and were able to find a useful meaning in it. Thanks so much for being here.

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