Ozark Exploration: Updates, 20% Off Coupon

This morning the snow fell heavy in Saint Louis. To me it was a refreshing sight from the bleak grey and lack of winter we’ve had this year. I haven’t been inspired much the last few months. But recently I started to feel that spark again. It’s been a long time since I have posted much of anything. I’ve missed a couple of updates in the last few months including a trip to Minnesota among some other events. It’s just that certain things needed more focus than others—life priorities is all. We gotta make our choices.

So we will continue forward starting now.

Setting up camp early enough in the day means enjoying the evening hours with rest and relaxation.

The recent events around COVID-19 have led many of us into positions we never imagined ourselves being in. I, for one, have found myself among the unemployed without pay for the foreseeable future. It’s an interesting feeling to say the least and I know many of us are in the same boat. I hope that through my photographs you can get an escape from reality through these times. I will be doing my best to attempt to still get out and photograph the world closest to home here in Saint Louis, postponing any trips out of state that I had planned this year at the very least until this blows over. Starting at midnight tonight, Saint Louis City and County are issuing a “stay at home” order.

High water at the Castor River Shut-Ins

These past two weeks have been rough. I have been sick with an upper respiratory infection (NOT COVID, don’t worry). Just recently feeling well enough to get out for a little head-clearing adventure into the Missouri Ozarks. Naturally missing work for those two weeks and without pay as I was a part time employee being a stay at home parent, therefore not qualifying for any sort of paid time off or benefits whatsoever certainly doesn’t help. Enough of that pity party anyhow now…but the reality of middle class American struggle made me want to get out and enjoy our forests for a moment of clarity. A much needed chance at gaining some insight on a strategy for the future’s potential problems we are all going to face. And that is exactly what I came home with.

Falling Spring Mill

Driving 450 or so miles through Ozark backroads, exploring rivers and washed out roads from high water, beautiful pine forests where roads disappeared, and a roaring fire with a few cold ones was just what the doctor ordered. I couldn’t help but hear The Who’s “The Seeker” in my head as I ventured forth. I can’t say I found an answer, no one really ever does I suppose. But I feel better knowing we’re going to be alright. So that’s somewhat of an answer, eh?

I hope you all continue to find ways to get out and enjoy nature while maintaining social distancing. I hope you all know and realize that the outdoors are a place we can enjoy and still maintain the distance from one another that we need right now. Even if you just go camping for a night. Hop on your bike for an hour and go get some fresh air. Setup your camping gear in the backyard for a family campout. Most of all, check in on your people even if it’s a phone call. We are all going to need that mental support.

Therapy

I have since deleted my social media apps from my phone. I will not be updating via social media directly any more. One of the biggest things I’ve taken from this outing is how toxic it is and how toxic it was making me. I am choosing to not lose focus by being distracted by what others are doing and focus on my family. These posts will be automatically added to my various accounts for your pleasure.

I am very happy to be “forced” to enjoy what we have right here in front of us. The things that maybe the current ways of society have made us take for granted. Exploring more of the state of Missouri. FaceTime with family. Learning new recipes for home-cooked meals. And that, my friends, is what it is all about. Appreciating what they call the little things, for they are not little at all.

Since it is now Spring, if you’re looking to purchase a print, feel free to head on over to the galleries and use code “spring20” to save 20%. Thanks everyone, be well. Sending love to you all!

—Jake

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