Another Year Older

Fall Picture Tiles

For some reason I missed noting last Friday’s 6th Anniversary of In a Dark Time, either because I was getting tired of it or because I had something better to do, two things which are probably more closely related than I’d like to admit.

In a slight moment of nostalgia, I went back and looked at some of the very first entries I’d written and was somewhat depressed to discover that the grim outlook I’d foreseen for Afghanistan has, indeed, come true. After six long years the country seems no better off than when we invaded, and we are still fighting an uphill battle to win the allegiance of the people.

I was also saddened when I realized how many of the bloggers I linked to in those first few months no longer blog. For better or worse, that small, tightly knit group no longer exists

On a happier note, I was struck by how much my own site has evolved in those six years. What started as a simple posting to the web with no comments, no graphics, and no permanent links has evolved into a very different site where visitors have become an active part of the exchange of ideas if they care to. Without those regular readers and their comments, I doubt that I could have kept at this for six years.

I’d like to think that my writing has improved considerably because of my nearly daily writing. It’s certainly become easier to write than it was originally. Of course, if it hasn’t become better that would make me a liar when I told ex-students that the best way to learn to write is to write.

I’m pretty sure my photography has improved, too. Taking photographs regularly forces us to see more clearly and to look for new ways of seeing in order to take better pictures. That was made clear when I was exploring some ideas from Shelley Powers’ upcoming book on photography and web graphics. As part of that reading, I was going back through all the photos that have appeared on this site, and, though there were some very good shots taken from the beginning, it seemed to me that the photographs have improved as steadily as the writing has.

Though I haven’t had the time to go back and arrange photos chronologically, this little retrospective suggests improvement to me. I’m looking forward to assembling more of these galleries in the future, because looking at slide shows of my shots allows me to see more clearly those photos I really like, and, hopefully, produce more like them.

If someone had told me six years ago that I would attract over a million visits to my site, that I would now average over a thousand visitors a day (more visitors than I drew my first six months) I would probably have dismissed the idea with a loud guffaw.

10 thoughts on “Another Year Older”

  1. That’s a nice heron show, Loren. I like seeing them all together. I think Gallery going to suit you nicely.

    I think we all face a time when we re-think why we’re here and where we want to go with our spaces. Unfortunately, as you noted, some people leave, which is an unhappy experience for the rest of us.

    All we can do is appreciate those who remain, such as yourself, that much more.

    (PS Thanks for the plug for the book…)

  2. Your gallery page. Wow! What a treat!! Good to see some of my old favorite heron portraits and a few I don’t remember seeing before because I didn’t have a computer and didn’t read blogs until at least four years after you started posting.

    And I like the fall color sestet at the top of your post today.

    I went back and read your posts from September of 2001, starting from 10 days after September 11. Was quite moved by the first one where you quote the lines from “In a Dark Time.”

    Having not even finished my first year of blogging, I am grateful that you have shown that it is possible to keep a blog going in a lively manner for six years. As always, thanks so much for your steadily evolving writing and photographs.

    In many ways it is still a dark time, but your eyes have not stopped seeing the world in all its complexity and beauty, whether currently blogging with the old enthusiasm or not. I’m grateful that you’ve been inspired to write and take photos for the past six years.

  3. Happy 6th anniversary! I recently discovered your blog and I instantly became a fan of your blog. Thank you for sharing all your inspiring photos and thoughts on various subjects.

  4. Thank you or sharing your thoughts and “eye” with the rest of the world. I, too, wish I’d started reading your blog when you first started posting; it would have served as a ray of hope in otherwise often terrifying times. All the best to you.

  5. Loren, my daily visits to your site for over a year now continue to be inspirational and thought provoking. Through your words and photographs you show a positive attitude towards life that I can only struggle to imitate. Congratulations on the anniverary.

  6. Many congratulations, Loren. Your site gives me inspiration each time I look in. Your photography is now perfectly stunning; the writing I thought was always pretty damn good. Your lovely heron showcase reminded me of some haiku I wrote a while back. I dedicate them to you.

    herons at dawn
    stalking the slow streams –
    hungry ascetics

    heron priest
    with pointed beak
    penetrates fish hearts

    but heron priestess
    plumbs their souls
    with piercing eyes

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