Friday, August 22, 2014


I recently read a fascinating article in The New York Times, Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain, by Daniel Levitin (I came across this article by way of Austin Kleon’s newsletter.)

The article presents solid science to back the notion that we need time off from work.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, there’s a reason:  The processing capacity of the conscious mind is limited. 

We need to turn off the multi-tasking mode and turn on the mind-wandering mode, resetting the brain and providing perspective. 

This brain state, marked by the flow of connections among disparate ideas and thoughts, is responsible for our moments of greatest creativity and insight, when we’re able to solve problems that previously seemed insolvable. You might be going for a walk or grocery shopping or doing something that doesn’t require sustained attention and suddenly  - boom – the answer to a problem that had been vexing you suddenly appears. This is the mind-wandering mode, making connections among things that we didn’t previously see as connected. 

On a recent summer’s day, I wandered with a friend, off the beaten path.  We talked about art and creativity, photographs and writing. We snapped pictures, each in our own way, and enjoyed the solitude of comfortable companionship. 

I asked to take her picture, because suddenly the most compelling aspect of the scene was her – and her passion for the ordinary people who make a life down rural roads without pretense.  

This picture of my friend, Candice Ransom – a Southern writer,  sitting in a rusty metal chair, on a make-shift porch, in front of an abandoned trailer that was once someone's home, down an old country road – is how I see her, as her truest self.

When I showed the picture to her, she laughed and quipped, "When did the girl who wanted shiny new things from the mall start wanting rust from junkyards?" And when she showed the picture to her big sister, she exclaimed, "Well, it's a good picture of you, but I hope people don't think you live there!"  

A few closing thoughts from the article . . . 

Daydreaming leads to creativity.
Taking breaks is biologically restorative.
Naps are even better.
Take regular vacations from work.
Set aside time for contemplation.

I’m linking up with Kim Klassen, and my Friday Find is the importance of wandering aimlessly.


  1. Such a good piece and I love your thoughts here, what fun to do just wander with a friend and come upon this find. I love these and your thoughts for this Friday some to ponder.

  2. wonderful. I love the rustic quality of things and people.

  3. I'm using this photo as my profile pic on Facebook--people are wondering where the heck I am! As we shot pictures--me aimlessly snapping as always--you said you were trying to find the photo. I stepped back and watched you, hoping some of your magic would rub off on me. I never dreamed that I would be "the photo." Just as I never dreamed that anyone could find my true self on camera. It was the place, that slant of sun that summer morning, the feeling I was working on a project that mattered and made me happy . . . and a friend who could see it all.

  4. Your lovely post reminds me of the quote ' Not all who wander are lost.' Wonderful images. Your turned the abandon trailer into a piece of art. I think I need to wander more often...

  5. What absolutely yummy images! oh I would love to come across such beauty. I love your post today - so thoughtful and compelling.

  6. I look at your photos and see how you've taken something that in reality is not " pretty" to look at and tranformed it into stunning photos. For a new photographer like myself, it's amazing. I smiled as I read your story as I had the opportunity to meet with a blogging friend last week to spend the day photographing out and about. Thank you for sharing this!

  7. What meaningful time you spent with your friend! Love your images and am drooling over that rusty chair, worn out table and screen door (props on the brain!). Truly inspiring post!

  8. Lovely post and stunning images. How wonderful to have a friend to wonder with, to discuss art with, and how brave of her to have her portrait taken - so inspiring and so beautiful.

  9. you have made the most ordinary look so intriguing...telling a story of the past without words...
    and yes, the brain does need a rest from time to time...that's why there are warm summer days and lounge chairs under the umbrella...

  10. Oh am I so happy to have stopped. I was on the edge of my chair with your blog post and your images. Yes I knew that from taking the long road and the long road back. Its simple yet it is complex being that we all get caught in this even though we know it and know it well. Thanks for posting this...xoxoxo Many Hugs

  11. You have the most amazing way with you photography! You make junk look like priceless treasures.

  12. Magnificent photos and fine processing of a photo!

  13. lovely post and photos! thank you for stopping by last week and for your lovely comment. funny when we 'meet' others so similar here in this space...
    love the posts i've read here, and your pics.

  14. I smiled at your post .... I could just hear that big sister saying that she hoped no one thought your friend lived there ..... that would be the sort of thing a big sister would say! Great images .... transporting the viewer right along with the both of you on your walk.

  15. Love these photos! Seriously- that door laying against the wall takes my breath away! Really like the photo of your friend as well. Wonderful post- I had read that NYT article too- good stuff!


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