According to a recent New York Times article, scientific studies have shown that expressing gratitude can improve one’s health and lead to less anxiety and depression. Also, as the article puts it, a “new study shows that feeling grateful makes people less likely to turn aggressive when provoked, which helps explain why so many brothers-in-law survive Thanksgiving without serious injury.”
In my own life it is easy to get caught up in the rush of family and profession and forget about all that I have to be thankful for. But it is important to step back and remember from the heart one’s blessings. In that spirit here are a few of the things that I have to be thankful for:
- The ability to enjoy empty spaces of the wilderness and come back to a joyful family life
- A loving spouse and partner in life
- Four healthy and happy children, particularly Katie Rose who is a living miracle
- Eyes to see, and the skill and craft to render what I see
- Living parents who still enjoy the world
- Food, clothing, and housing for my family
- Friends to photograph with, and photographers from all over the world who write to me about photography
- The joy of making beautiful images, and the thrill of seeing my images published widely
I suggest making your own list of things to be thankful for. Your list doesn’t have to be complete—and probably can’t be. Making this list will help you get through the holiday season with elan and aplomb; and besides, as the New York Times will tell you, it is good for your health!
About the photos: These images are of the Eureka Dunes. Located in the remote northwest corner of Death Valley National Park, these are the tallest Sand Dunes in North America.
When the wind blows, which in the desolate Eureke Valley is almost all the time, and if the sand dunes aren’t too wet, the dunes reach a harmonic. It is as if they were playing a tune.
Wandering the crest of the Eureka Dunes at twilight a few weeks ago listening to the music of the sand I shot these images, trying (with only partial success) to keep the sand out of my gear. It is quite a shuffle to get the tripod off one’s backpack and the camera out, protecting both and the gear bag from the blowing sand.
My thought with these images was always monochromatic, and I intentionally created images that used noise to seem a bit gritty. Gritty, but beautiful—like the dunes themselves!