Friday, April 13, 2012

One Stroky’s Journey: Photography Post-Stroke

In the spring of 2010 hubby Walter and I headed to the Smoky Mountains for a pre-Easter trip. We planned to do several photo safaris. I was on the prowl for spring wildflowers. Hubby ‘s passion was capturing images of moving water.
Sharp-lobed hepatica

That March 30-April 3 trip was a little early for the prime spring wildflower season, but a helpful ranger who was a wildflower fan clued us in on spots where blooms were appearing. Our days devoted to recording our “finds” on the mountain trails were exhilarating.

To get close ups of Smoky Mountain flowers, I hiked, jumped flowing water, crouched, kneeled, sat, scrambled up and down steep banks. Every flower I photographed sparked a hunt for its name. And that search was another adventure. The species I identified with field guides or with the help of fellow enthusiasts that I encountered were rich treasures for me. I posted photos of that 2010 trip: a few of the wildflowers here and other snapshots here.

Easter travel plans for 2011 were interrupted by the stroke that launched me and my hubby into an entirely different kind of adventure. With nearly a year of being a stroke survivor behind me and encouraging improvement in my mobility and stamina, I was thrilled when hubby proposed a jaunt for the week preceding Easter.

First stop on our itinerary was our eldest son’s home near Atlanta. I had been nursing visions of a repeat of our 2010 photo fun. Those visions vanished with my first impulse to snap pictures of our grands.

I still had photo fun, but of necessity my photos of grands and for the rest of the week were usually taken from where I was sitting. And even though the results didn’t always measure up in the quality department, they are fulfilling their purpose of helping me remember a week of good times. So here are the first of several installments.

Nate, right, and Flat Stanley
Grandson Nate’s spring break homework assignment was to take “Flat Stanley” on the family’s “staycation” activities and document Stanley’s participation. Sunday after church we all gathered for a family portrait to record the beginning of Flat Stanley’s adventures with the Skupien family.

Our son Walt prepares for the photo.

Granddaughter Charlie . . .on the move and up close

Luke, our oldest grand, showed off his new braces and BB wound, the red dot just below his cheek, while daughter-in-law Sarah proudly showed off Luke.
Luke and his mom Sarah

Late afternoon on our first day, I was resting and reading a book. Stella, nearly four years old, bounced into the bedroom. She rarely walks. She bounces, skips, runs, climbs, twirls and even crawls. She announced it was time to get up. Then she promply climbed into bed with me and snuggled. When she saw my book, though, her attention took a different turn.

“I’ll go get a book from my room and read it to you,” she said.

She bounced up the stairs and returned with several tattered board books by illustrator/author Leslie Patricelli. Stella proceeded to “read” the books to me. The photo below is out of focus, but I don’t want to forget these moments.

Stella reads.

Happiness is snuggling with one of my favorite little sprites while she reads a couple of  books, multiple times, by one of my favorite kids’ illustrators/authors.

Stella’s choices for my listening pleasure:


  1. You must have been in absolute heaven, I know I would have been. Ella and Anne are actually starting to really read to me! I love it, but the time of me reading to them is fading away quickly, a sad thought...

  2. These wonderful photos are priceless - and your grands are precious!

  3. I love those close ups. How sweet that she wanted to read to you. Smart grand young-un you have there.

  4. What a nice time you had! Your grandkids are adorable, and your DIL is very pretty.

  5. Oh they lift the spirits don't they. I for one like the close up shots. Very inventive. Dianne

  6. what a wonderful trip you had. i know you miss the hiking and climbing but you did get good photos and have so much fun with your family.

  7. It doesn't matter whether you are up and running, sitting or lying down; grandchildren provide endless joy and you have that.

  8. Treasure the moments...

    I love that you were able to not only have these times with your family, but that you were able to photograph them.