MENDING – The Healing Power of Nature

Hope Rising

   The Story Behind Hope Rising 

  With the passing of my beloved wife Myriam, I found myself in a state of mind that I wasn’t accustomed to, one of having to deal with grief, and the mending process that follows.  I’ve gone through the passing of my parents and friends, but this was different.  Myriam was my greatest inspiration, my mentor, my greatest fan, my one true love, my soul mate.  As a result, I found it very difficult to see any beauty in life and just as difficult to show that beauty in my nature photography – not to mention actually being able to go out and do my photography.

    I received a message of condolence from fellow photographer Joseph Rossbach, and in that message Joe shared….”Stay true to your passion and nature will help to mend some of those wounds.”  Now Joe is probably thirty years younger than me, but his message was wise beyond both our years – and he understands.  We share a common passion for nature and photography, but in my grief, I forgot that beyond the beauty that surrounds us everywhere we look, there is so much more.

    On a cold and rainy January morning, I forced myself to leave the house to run errands.  At my first stop, I reached into my pocket to pay for my purchase only to realize that I had forgotten my money.  So, I returned home to retrieve my wallet, and then made the return trip to pay for the purchase. Not a good start to the day.

     I then set out to find a new winter jacket.  You have to understand that I HATE shopping, especially for clothes.  Myriam always took care of that chore and did it so much better than I ever could.  She had an incredible feel for “the bargain.”

     My first stop, I found a jacket, but of course, they didn’t have it in my size.  The second stop, I found my size, but of course, they didn’t have anything that I wanted – I’m just not a leather jacket kind of guy.  As I left to continue the torturous search, I was feeling the frustration of this cold and rainy winter’s day, and was fighting a strong urge to give up and return to the warm comfort of my home, a blanket and a nap.

     Standing in the parking lot, out of nowhere, a calming peace came over me.  I paused, looked to the area behind the retail outlet’s parking lot, and before my eyes was a beautiful wooded valley with striking trees shrouded in a blanket of fog.  I’ve been to this area many times but never noticed the beauty of this small, wooded area.  Surely this was a gift that was meant for me.


    I spent fifteen or twenty minutes soaking in the beauty of the moment….BUT….I didn’t have my camera.  I was torn between just staying until the moment disappeared, or trying to run home – AGAIN – to retrieve my camera and return, hoping that the vision would wait for me…they rarely do.  Retrieving my camera won out, so I rushed home, got my camera and returned to a vision that was even more beautiful than the last.


    I spent another hour oblivious to the cold, oblivious to the rain, becoming one with my gift – all sadness gone, all grief evaporating into the beauty of the healing elements of nature.  At this moment, I knew that Myriam was still with me, that she gave me this gift to remind me that I must go on.  I must continue to create.  I must continue to share through my art, through my writings, through my teachings.


    Myriam always encouraged me to remain true to my soul, to present nature, not as the lens captures it, but as I see, feel and experience it.  Always reminding me that photography isn’t about f/stops, shutter speeds, or equipment.  It’s about seeing, it’s about feeling, it’s about learning…learning about the people places and things around me…and most important, learning about me.  And, when needed, it’s about healing and mending. 

     Joe was right “…and nature will help to mend some of those wounds.”

     Since then, Myriam has sent me many other signs and gifts, letting me know that it’s OK to move on.  It’s OK to feel alive.  It’s OK to experience all the universe has to give. It’s OK to always have a special place in my heart for her.  While I miss her terribly, as do all that knew her, I can relive our moments together and smile and feel the warmth of her love and acceptance of me…our total acceptance of each other.  I’m truly blessed to have had her in my life even if it was too short a time.

     Myriam’s birthday was on August 21st.  In honor of that special day, I made it my quit smoking day.  I’ve come full circle….from not caring much if life went on or not, to wanting to LIVE!  To experience all the joys Myriam is sending me….to treat each day as a precious gift… love and be loved and to share that happiness with all.  We have so little time here.  Accept the healing power of nature and thrive!  May God bless you and may the light shine upon you each and every second of each and every day.

11 comments to MENDING – The Healing Power of Nature

  • Jim Wallace

    Good photography and good writing. What you have done is more than just take lemons and make lemonade. You have demonstrated, as so many artists have, the power of channeling the negativity of your grief into the positivity of your art and your life. Keep up the good work.

  • Thanks for sharing this Bruce. I’m always amazed at the healing power of nature, and how it appears for us when we most need it.

  • Liz Bowles

    I am so happy you have been able to come full circle Bruce…I know it has been and is a very difficult journey. It is beautiful to me that you can see Myriam’s signs…and are choosing to LIVE…I am sure that is what Myriam wants for you. Hope you are doing well with your quit smoking day!!! What a wonderful tribute to your lady love. I am sure she is VERY proud of you!!! I am looking forward to your ongoing blogs and works…you are a wonderful teacher and inspiration to us all.

  • mairyann wrentmore

    This was such a lovely blog. So glad you can get out and appreciate the beauty around you and interpret that beauty with your camera. Myriam would be so pleased. You honor her memory with your photography.

    with love and light,

  • martha castillo

    Bruce, just learned of your terrible loss, via Aletta’s recent Facebook posting. I am so sorry. I only met her once, when you two were here in California. She was truly a beautiful soul. I am glad to see that you are able to face life again, and honoring her with your ‘quit smoking’ day is wonderful. May you continue to feel and live the gifts she brought you.

  • Well spoken. I have tears rolling down my eyes. You have emotionally touched me with your words. You should put this statement with your art pieces that you shoot that your wife hand a hand it.You are a team. It is obvious.
    My deepest sympathy.

  • Thank you so much for your kind words, Gayle. Anytime I can touch somebody with my words or my work. Your being a wonderful artist yourself, you know that many times we have no idea if we are accomplishing what we set out to do. They only way we do know, beyond sales, which is secondary to a certain extent, is when people share their thoughts with us. One of the main purposes of my photoblog is to share my thoughts and ideas and, more importantly, my readers share theirs. It is through this dialog, we all have the opportunity to grow. And yes, Myriam and I were definitely a team….an experience that I hope everyone can experience in this lifetime. She had a tremendous influence on everything I’ve done and, hopefully, I can keep my heart and mind open enough to continue to learn and grow because of our time together.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your memory of Myriam, Martha. She, indeed, was an exceptionally beautiful soul that touched the hearts of all that were fortunate enough to have met her. There is absolutely no doubt that God has reserved a special place for her in heaven. Even though she has left this realm, I’m so fortunate to be able to feel her presence in my every day life – “…to feel and live the gifts…” that she continues to bring me each and every day.

  • Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Mairyann. Myriam didn’t go out with me to shoot very often, opting to go with me those times when I was shooting by myself. I think that she enjoyed watching me more than anything. What she really loved was the experience of going through all my unedited work and picking out her favorites. She would then make a list of the images she wanted….what she called her “goodies” with a request to work on those first which, of course, I always did. Just before she died, she asked me to make a few promises, one being to continue with my art. It’s been a difficult road trying to get back on track to keep that promise, but I feel her trying to help me along the way.

  • Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts, Liz and Eric. One of the most precious things about photography is the people that you meet along the way. Meeting and getting to know you and Eric in the Smokies was one of those precious moments. And you know the promises I made to Myriam, one of which is to share my knowledge and passion with others. I thank YOU for allowing me the honor of giving you all any help that I can. The circle never dies if we open ourselves up to the possibilities offered us. I’m looking forward to one day showing you my West Virginia.

  • You’re welcome, Robin. Thank you, and everybody else, for taking the time to read this post and sharing your thoughts with me as well telling others. Beauty surrounds us everywhere if we take the time to open up our hearts and minds to the possibilities. I’ve been blessed to have received that gift and continue to receive the gifts that Myriam left me as well as those that she continues to send me.

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