Walnuts and Sand
I heard someone talk about priorities once. The idea of the message was this: You have a cup of sand, a handful of walnuts, and a jar. Think of the jar as your life, the walnuts as important meaningful experiences, and sand as the stuff you need to get done but don't add any value. Now, if you spend your time filling the jar with sand there won't be enough room in the jar for all your walnuts. In other words if work emails, homework, cleaning your room, facebooking, etc, are your first priority, you won't have enough time in life to do things that you love. You need to re-prioritize your life to make the people, hobbies, and experiences you love come first. By doing this (filling the jar with walnuts,) you fill your life with things that really matter, and guess what? After you put the walnuts in the jar, you will still have room for all your precious sand.
I used to get at all my friends about this, because too many of them put these stupid meaningless things first. "Sorry Joe, I can't go hiking. I've got homework." Yeah you may have homework, but five years from now are you going to look back and think, "Man I'm glad I didn't go hiking that day. That homework was just so important." No. Five years from now you're going to look back on your life and wish you had spent your time doing more meaningful things, because when it comes down to it, the meaningful things are the only things that matter. You may think I'm stupid for saying that. Obviously the meaningful things are what matter. Yet how many of us spend our time watching TV, playing video games, browsing social media? If you actually believed meaningful things are what matter, you would spend a heck of alot more time doing said things.
I guess what I'm trying to say is go spend time with someone you care about. You'll probably have to sacrifice in some way, but that sacrifice is insignificant when compared to the importance of human relationships. Even in the Bible it talks about storing up treasures in heaven, but what do you think those treasures will be? Will it be that perfect test score you spent so much time studying for? Your degree? Your successful job? Your car, your instagram, or your humble abode? No. None of those things matter. The only thing that matters are the relationships you build along the way, and those are the only things that last after you die.
This weekend I went on one of the best trips I've ever been on. It was going to be sort of a last hoorah for Nick, Ian, and I before Ian went back to college, but only Ian and I could make it this time. Anyway, we drove to some unnamed road 20 minutes out from Crater Lake to camp for the night, and discovered the most incredible camping spot around. As we were setting up camp, the stars began to unveil and man, were they amazing! By far the best stars I have ever seen so far. I mean I had heard of the Milky Way before but didn't really know it existed until now! Also, I'm not sure how many of you have ever seen a moonrise, but it is an astonishing experience, especially when you didn't even know there was such a thing.
So we camped under the stars, woke up with bacon, and headed out to Crater Lake. We did this hike up to the highest point in the area (which wasn't as bad as I thought it would be,) and rested at the top for a while. I've seen pictures of chipmunks in popular places such as these, but I've never gotten to experience it firsthand before. They were so amusing! It was fun up there. Peachy people, swell view, and lively chipmunks. Later we decided we would camp at Diamond Lake so we could go swimming and have a fire, but someone stole our firewood, so that didn't happen.
We ended the night by going back to Crater Lake so I could get a really good star shot. This was a great example of walnuts and sand: A fantastic photo, or some much-needed sleep? To me it wasn't even a choice. I had scouted the area earlier and found the tree I wanted to photograph, but the moment we started walking over, we saw some other people arrive at the tree with all their gear. I was bummed, so we walked over a little ways and I found a different one. Then we waited.
The thing is, no one has ever taught me how to take a good photo of the stars, so it's been trial and error for a long time. This particular night though, I figured out the exact settings I need to get a great shot without an excessive amount of noise. I have to say, I am really happy with the result.
**Update (7/27/16 11:52pm): I submitted this to the "Beautiful Destinations" assignment for National Geographic Your Shot which ends in 10 days. As of right now, it is the 12th most trending photo out of 6,597 submissions, and it's only been up for one day :)