One of my fondest holiday memories of my childhood is getting snuggly in the car, Christmas music blaring from the tape player, riding around listing to mom yell at dad to slow down and taking in all the holiday beauty around us.
I am unable to remember the very first time we did this, but I know it was a tradition I looked forward to each Christmas season. After we took our ride around the neighborhood, we would head towards St. Anne Catholic Church in Pensacola where they had a display of Christmas lights that was magnificent, and to a child it seemed as large and grand as Disney World.
I would wind through all the paths, pointing out the different designs, trees, and bushes that were lit. Skipping and twirling through the vast archways of twinkling lights, sometimes closing my eyes as I tried to feel the magic around me. We would end the tour at the chapel where we would light a candle and on our way out, we would stop to get a little hot chocolate for the walk back to the car.
Who knew a simple holiday delight would affect my life in a monumental way. It paved the traditions of my own family as I grew older. My love for light is insane, so much so that I put my Christmas tree up by October 31st every year. My reason is simple…the longer I am able to take in the twinkling of the lights, the happier my heart feels.
I will literally turn off all the lights in the house and just stare at the Christmas tree lights and cry; when I have shared this with friends they have literally asked me if I was crazy. It doesn’t matter what season of life I am walking through, they can be tears of joy, sadness, mourning the loss of loved ones or pets, the feeling of nostalgia for a sweeter time or even feelings of rejoice in the hopes of beautiful and full days to come. There is just something with those little lights shining bright that brings my soul a happiness that is indescribable.
I believe its my love for light that drives my inspiration in my photography work. So when my son began showing an interest in photography, I knew we had to have a little date to look at Christmas lights and photograph them together. All too often I take my photography entirely way too seriously and I don’t go back and play because it’s not technically correct. But this week, I challenged myself to put my lens in manual and focus everything by hand. Oh my heavens the images with bokeh were just sooooo beautiful. Here are a just a few of the images I snapped from the Christmas Reflections in Defuniak Springs at the Lake.
I hope that you stop and take in the lights the next time you see a display. Just sit, take deep relax and release all the stress you are carrying, stare deep into the lights and feel the healing take place in your heart, as you take in the beauty.
XOXO – Tiffany Shae
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