Photo by Brian Reitenauer
My friend Brian and I take a photo journey each year to one of our country's spectacular national parks. Our journeys have allowed us to drink in the amazing beauty our country offers - Acadia in Maine, Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee, Big Bend in Texas, Canyonlands in Utah, Lassen in California and so many more.
This July our destination was Olympic National Park in Washington state. Choosing Olympic in July meant one thing - this trip, like most of our trips, was not a vacation.
You see, Brian is an excellent photographer, which means our trips revolve around chasing the light of dawn and dusk. The first light of day on this trip was at 5:00 AM, and the last light of day was around 9:45 PM. That meant we were up at 4:00 AM to capture a sunrise and not back to our hotel room until 10:30 PM after the sun's candle went dim.
Given that we didn't get to bed until midnight, we essentially got 4 hours of sleep each night. Let's face it, that's not sleep . . . that's a nap.
Yet, even though many of those never-ending days were filled with long 10-mile hikes, aching muscles, and carrying heavy backpacks filled with camera equipment, food and water, every minute of the day was exhilarating! We were never tired. In fact, it was the opposite. We were alert, alive and excited!
This experience powerfully demonstrated the importance of doing what you love and doing something that stimulates your mind and body. Whether that is exploring nature, working with children, mastering a sport, building a business, being a parent, practicing and art form, or anything else that fills your heart, the power of that passion is immeasurable. And to do anything less with your precious time - the short 24,528 days we are here on earth - is the true definition of dying.