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California / Horizon / Impressionism / Inspiration / Photo Log / Photography / Seascapes

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December 26, 2017. The Sea Ranch, Sonoma Coast, California. It had been stormy. We spent Christmas hunkered down. The coast had been battered with wind and rain. For the longest time, it seemed, we weren’t sure if it would go on and on or if the rage would finally be over. We drifted off into an uneasy sleep with nothing resolved. The morning was still unsettled. But then suddenly it was over. The midday brought calming weather as the Earth shook off the pummeling it had recently endured. We were bathed a sense of optimism we hadn’t felt in some time.

And so it is here.

But as it is here, the horizon is perched on a precarious balance. Where, exactly, does light become dark or dark become light?

That’s up to us.

We’ve heard the word “healing” often in the past few days. An appropriate term.

We can say with some truth that certain individuals have been stirring the pot. They seem to be out, but they won’t leave without a fight. But the more important fact we must face is that the pot was already there to be stirred and the pot is made up of all of us — or at least nearly all of us. There may be a saint out there that I’m unaware of.

For years I’ve heard people on all sides say that they don’t understand, can’t fathom, can’t or won’t tolerate the viewpoint on the other side. They act superior. They say derogatory things, criticize, berate, and too often threaten. I say “they” as is I’ve never been a part of it. I wish.

There is healing to be done. Almost all people are good people at heart. They have their experiences, joys and hardships, beliefs, biases, and blind spots. Some are hard to understand.

But honest conversations with real give-and-take — face-to-face, not on social media — can work wonders.

It’s up to us.

(Nikon D750; Nikon 28-300 f/3.5-5.6G Zoom. RAW processing in DxO Pro; Editing in Adobe Photoshop.)

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The Author

California based fine-art photographer featuring abstract, impressionist, and minimalist seascapes — near and distant — and floral-based images. Fine-art photography can be seen at All original images on this blog are copyright 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Michael Scandling. All rights reserved. No images on this site may be copied, duplicated, reused, published, or re-purposed in any way without express permission from the copyright owner, Michael Scandling.


    • Thank you very much, Steve. I am familiar with the book and agree with many of the ideas that it presents. Being one who tends to cut to the chase, I do believe that honest, non-threatening communication can work wonders. Of course, that’s a big ask. Both people have to be willing and both people need to be willing to examine their own beliefs as well as try to understand the beliefs of the other. Starting with a common agreement, even if it is as prosaic as “we both like hamburgers” is a start.


      • Backing up to examine beliefs is important. If it turns out that two people work from different premises and value things differently, there’s no reason to expect them to come to the same conclusion about a given issue.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly. The trick is to very very gently probe the premise. Probe too deeply too quickly and the person will feel threatened and lock up tight. This is something that might take many many conversations. Short ones. Over a period of months. Maybe years.


  1. We need a better grasp of this truth: understanding isn’t necessarily equivalent to agreement. Far too many pleas for ‘understanding’ come from people who are convinced that their view of things is the only correct view; their pleas often are little more than veiled attempts to force agreement.

    That said, I had an interesting afternoon and evening that seems to have confirmed your contention that “honest conversations with real give-and-take — face-to-face, not on social media — can work wonders.” I shared a back porch, beer, ribs, sausage, peach cobbler, and a lot of conversation with friends. No tv blared in the background. No one had an electronic device in their hand, and no one was texting and talking.

    Most importantly, no one was atttempting to persuade anyone into their ‘camp,’ even though there were Trump supporters in the group, as well as Biden supporters and a Libertarian who voted for neither. Because it was a social gathering, horses, hunting dogs, and funny neighborhood stories were topics of conversation, but inevitably politics and the pandemic were discussed. Sharp differences about everything from the election to remote learning to mask-wearing emerged, but no one yelled, and no one called anyone names.

    I’ll spare you the play-by-play, but I will say this — by the end of the evening, it had become clear that everyone present knew at least one family where someone had been “banned” or shunned because of their views. In one case, grandparents are being denied the chance to be with their grandchildren. In another, a decades-long marriage is being dissolved because one partner supported the ‘wrong’ candidate.

    Everyone agreed that if the nation is going to heal, it’s going to have to start in relationships, in friendships, and in homes. That’s not a bad conclusion; it might be a good starting place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with every single word. And again, in case I wasn’t clear, I also agree that understanding doesn’t necessarily mean agreement. It is not an existential threat to fully understand where someone else is coming from. But, unfortunately, it seems that too many people think that it is. Can we all agree that we like beer, ribs, sausage, peach cobbler? I think that’s an excellent start. Just have to keep going.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll have to pass on the beer, ribs and sausages.. but I’m sure I could manage several helpings of peach cobbler !

        Seriously watching, from the UK, what is happening in the USA is like my worst nightmare. There is precious little integrity and even less kindness.

        Healing will be long and difficult.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll save some peach cobbler for you. What is happening in this country is horrifying. The most clever satirist couldn’t outdo it. In this past five or six years, and especially this past year, all social veneer has been stripped away and what is underneath is not pretty.


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