Alaska: Golden Birch, Anchorage
This photo is part of a series of scenic images all taken on Winter Solstice 2010 and as a result they hold a great deal of personal significance for me.
Winter Solstice is the shortest day of the year and while that may not be a major event if you live in the lower 48, for Alaskans it marks the point in the year where the daylight begins to increase. Until this magical moment arrives many of us medicate ourselves with tanning beds, winter trips to warmer climes and various states of inebriation. I call Winter Solstice the "first day of summer" and for the initial few weeks we gain only a handful of seconds or minutes in a day, but by April the days are so long that at 10pm it is still twilight in Anchorage.
Personally these photos symbolize the end of a long journey across the flatirons of winter with little warmth or sunlight. For me it was the journey of going through cancer and surviving that ordeal and finding myself awakening to the "first day of the rest of my life."
Many people have told me that they are drawn to these images emotionally but they are not quite sure why, but by reading this you will hopefully understand why. The journey of a cold dark night ends on winter's solstice with the rising sun gaining in power and strength. It is time to look ahead and not behind you, to move forward and not backward and to be grateful for the present moment.
Remember two steps forward and one step back is still one step at a time.