Two years ago, shortly after declaring “I never get sick,” I fell incredibly ill with whatever was making the rounds at my daughter’s school. I was supposed to spend the week at the embassy showing and selling my prints of Belgian sights, but while loading my car on Monday, I broke down into tears. The idea of trucking my stuff from the parking garage to the embassy store just seemed way too much for me and I knew I wouldn’t just be able to push through like I normally would. So I called to postpone the sale and curled up in the fetal position on the couch.

Next morning was no better and I knew there was no salvaging the week for Arklahoma Muse. My daughter was also down for the count, so we got as comfortable as possible. At some point that morning, Facebook posts started popping up about a possible bomb going off at the airport. And then a little while later someone thought they heard something had happened at a metro station. Knowing that the city was about to go on lockdown (Brussels came to a standstill for three days after the attacks in Paris), my daughter and I ran to the grocery store to stock up on essentials.

Turns out that terrorists had indeed set off a bomb at the Brussels airport as well as one in a metro car at the Maalbeek station (near EU buildings and various Embassies). The chaos at the airport, reported in the news outlets, was heartbreaking. No one knew who was hurt, who was dead and who was safe. Public transportation in the city came to a standstill and travel by foot was about the only option for most residents for the remainder of the day.

I can remember thinking to myself that if the bomber had attacked the metro just one hour or so earlier, the body count would have been so much higher with the morning rush. Then it hit me. I was supposed to be on that line, at about that time, on my way into the embassy for the second day of my sale. Now the train that was hit was the line 5, and I traveled on the 1 line.  But the two lines converge for several stops through the center of Brussels. The bomber jumped on the first train that came into the station and it could just as well have been the Line 1 train instead of the 5. I have never been so glad to be so ill. My guardian angels were at it again in their funny way.

I was too sick to make my way downtown for the vigils and the peaceful protests that told the world that we would not be cowed by terrorism. I was too sick to go downtown to photograph the streets that were empty except for soldiers and other crazy photographers. And it was a couple of weeks before I could muster up the gumption to visit the memorial at the Maalbeek station.

When the dust settled, we lost friends, colleagues and family members from our Tri-Mission community in the attacks. Some colleagues swore off ever riding the metro again and those family members who were already afraid to go downtown just avoided it even more. But I refused to let random terror dictate what I would do and whether I would continue to enjoy the city I had come to love.

I still stand by my conviction that life is full of unpredictability and that crazy people hell bent on causing destruction can hit ANYWHERE. Events in our own country, including in places where violence rarely erupts, have proven to me over and over again that you never know what is going to happen or when. I will continue to enjoy the things I love and I would go back to Brussels in a heartbeat.  I send much love to those affected by the attacks and to Brussels in general. May nothing like this ever strike there again.

Super Blue Blood Moon or Blue Super Blood Moon or Super Moon Blue Blood…

I actually managed to get out of bed early, walk the dog and be back in time to set up on my balcony to catch the Super Blue Blood Moon this past Wednesday morning. After the initial cloud cover cleared, I was cheered that I would actually get some great shots as the lunar eclipse changed the moon from white to red. My hopes were dashed however when the low lying clouds out of the north that often envelope New Providence’s west end rushed in to swallow the moon just as the color was beginning to change.

Guess I’ll have to be ready next January 21st when the next blood moon visible from North America comes around. Fingers crossed the clouds will help a sister out and stay away!

Here you can get just a tiny idea of the color changes between the evening and morning moons. I wanted to get a greater contrast, but it just wasn’t in the cards this year.


Living in Color

Hello! So almost four months, and a visit from my youngest child, into my new life in the Caribbean, I feel like I’m finally getting a sense of my new home. The differences from my life in Europe could not be greater. Instead of free reign over miles and miles of cities and landscapes, I am limited to an island that is half the size of Tulsa, OK (my home city). Due to security concerns there are many parts of this island that are off limits to me. Add to that the tracts of land that are “exclusive,” and therefore not accessible without paying out large sums of money, and my world has significantly shrunk.

Photographically speaking, I could not be further from the wood and stone, browns and greys and deep forest colors that I am used to in my photos from Europe. The naturally sepia toned hues that dominate my personal favorites are absent in a country that is perpetually sunny and devoid of ancient ruins and hardwood forests.

However, there are pockets that are just explosions of bright colors. I decided my goal for this tour is to attempt to capture photos that celebrate that vibrancy. This means a major shift from my proclivities – from those shots that bring the viewer a feeling of spookiness, melancholy and nostalgia. I am still finding old historical houses and buildings that are in dire need of some love and restoration and you can bet that I am all over those. But while here in the Bahamas, I will be making a greater effort to make great photographs that are sunny, bright and convey a much different atmosphere than what I am most comfortable showcasing.

Hog Island Lighthouse

This is the oldest lighthouse in the West Indies, located at the tip of Paradise Island (formerly known as Hog Island), at the entrance to the Nassau Harbor. We finally made our way down to Junkanoo Beach (close to Fish Fry) this morning to grab a couple of shots of this iconic lighthouse. For the last several months I’ve been wondering where all the seagulls that you typically find near coasts were. Turns out they like the harbor downtown!