By Virginia Parker Staat

One of David’s and my evening rituals includes sitting on our deck, enjoying the antics of our many bird friends. It is a quiet and simple time for us. It is a time of decompression from the day and whatever challenges may have come with it.

This particular evening, I sat with my camera in my lap, hoping to catch a glimpse… and maybe a photo… of at least one of the five baby Carolina wrens that had fledged several days earlier from their nest outside our living room window. 

The sky was heavy with clouds. Just for a fleeting moment, however, the sun broke through, illuminating an American goldfinch perched on our bird feeder. In that moment, a single shaft of sunlight turned something simple and ordinary into something exquisite. 

American Goldfinch
American Goldfinch. © Virginia Parker Staat

Over the years, I have discovered the power of simplicity. It has become the keystone to both my writing and photography. In writing, simplicity brings clarity. In photography, simplicity allows the focus to settle on the main subject without distractions. 

Simplicity is also the reason I seek nature. Being immersed in the outdoors allows me to be free from the hustle and bustle of life and brings a sensual experience to my world. It helps me find balance and to recharge.

After this past year and its uncertainty, I think we’re all yearning for simplicity. We’re longing to feel a breeze against our skin. We’re longing to hear nature’s whispers. We’re needing to be stirred by something larger and deeper than ourselves.

I know that many of you also share my yearning to immerse yourself into nature and revel in its simplicity. It is as vital to us as breathing. It’s the reason we write and photograph the great outdoors.

David and I are packing the camper to make our annual trek into the wilds. Our journey will end in Alamogordo this September at the RMOWP conference. We hope to see each of you there. Once again we can share our love for the outdoors and the simple joy of seeing friends and sharing experiences. It will be simply wonderful.