THROUGH MY LENS: smoke and mirrors

A plume of steam from the local paper mill rises into the evening sky, Glens Falls, NY

Pollution seems to have come a long way in the last thirty or so years. Most of the time it’s cleaner these days, like the vapor trail of steamy wastewater I drive by when I head in to work at the hospital. Sometimes it does funny but beautiful things to the sky, mixing with existing water droplets in the clouds, catching the rays of the setting sun, creating a show of colors and cloudscapes that never look the same twice.

Granted, I’m relieved to know that it’s not harmful chemicals being pumped into the sky or the rivers anymore. People figured out the problems before it was too late. People saw the harm, and knew they needed to change.

And now there remains this evidence of correcting past mistakes. We can change, we can recognize our flaws and try to do better. I think it reflects the nature of things, too, that even with ugliness and waste, with bad decisions or losses, in a place or a time when beauty, grace, or redemption seem far away, there is always hope for something good still to come, to make change happen. We just need to open our eyes and look ourselves and each other straight in the eye, asking, who do we truly want to be?