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  • Writer's pictureMichael Kennedy

Beyond Excellence

Updated: Jul 28, 2023


There was no denying that the daylight was rising with the irresistible force of the solar system behind it.


In these moments you feel thoroughly attuned, fully immersed in the very heart of euphoria. A sense of the ultimate. You recognize something is at play much bigger than yourself.


Like a line from Longfellow's Tales of a Wayside Inn, it "touches the deep, mysterious chords, that vibrate in each human breast alike."


You are spellbound. And you want more of it.


But what is it? Read on!


Stand still like the hummingbird. But not too still.


Like the hummingbird, these special moments seem to be fleeting and evanescent. But maybe they're there to remind us that every experience should be viewed as a blessing.


Below is a collection of photographs to help define this feeling of reverential respect mixed with wonder and curiosity.


It's the emotion of awe.


While excellence is an inward quality of being outstanding or extremely good, awe is an outward quality, where attention is focused on people, places, and things beyond ourselves. It's not ego driven, but wonder driven.


I hope these images, four in each group - Into the Wood, Sunrise, and Sunset - resonate with you and give you a new way of looking at things.



Into the Wood

The mighty Juniper Tree: bent, twisted and sculpted, into a masterpiece by the wrath of Mother Nature.


Haunting, watchful eye on Granite Chief Trail


Giants: Redwood Forest


Eagle in the wood on Shirley Canyon Trail


Sunrise

Morning Magic on the Truckee River.


Lake Worth Beach Pier Sunrise, Lightning Storm


Like honey, the morning light bathes the landscape, rolling off the granite peaks and melting onto the trees and wildflowers below.


Tahoe City Marina Sunrise, an awakening.


Sunset

Baker Beach Sunset, the glow is intoxicating.


Kings Beach Sunset, a royal feast for the senses.


Sand Harbor Beach Sunset, peace manifest.


Sunset Surfer, San Diego. Gotta follow the sun.


Awe can be found anywhere. It costs nothing. And scientific evidence supports that experiencing awe "can help you live your best life." Psychologists confirm the emotion of awe plays a big role in our health, happiness and wellbeing.


As Henry Miller says, "It's through the eyes of the soul that paradise is visioned. If there are flaws in your paradise, open more windows! Vision is entirely a creative faculty: it uses the body and the mind as the navigator uses his instruments."


The search for awe is a worthy one. It’s begging to be discovered... in a walk in the woods, in a sunrise, a sunset, or wherever you happen to be. It requires nothing more than curiosity and wonder. And a conscious effort to get outside yourself.


***



Hello! I’m Michael Kennedy, Olympic Valley, CA resident. I’m a freelance writer, photographer, and teacher. Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed it, please share with others. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story. If you're interested in any awe-inspired photos in this post, or in my gallery: click here, or just call or text at 530.608.9150. Let me know what size you want, and I'll send a quote. My email: michael.kennedy999@gmail.com.


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