Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond the Door


Within the ever-enduring half-life of grief–the Carbon 14, if you will, of dubious metaphorical chemistry–I remain in the stage in which the word “beyond” immediately prompts thoughts of “beyond the door,” “beyond the veil,” the unimaginable “great beyond” that I subconsciously seek out every day as I click away at the sky.

Photographs can beckon us to other intriguing, magical places both in and out-of-the frame–places where my children and I still can go, so long as I can summon the courage to venture out there in the world without Jim.

He always would urge me to go away with him and our children, to get outside, to have adventures–whether a kid-friendly day hike in the White Mountains or a dive from on  top of a two-story boat into shark-rich teal water on the equator.

Go beyond what you’ve experienced.  Trade it in for door number three (even if you’ve already picked door number two, to return to metaphorical mathematics).  He would not use those words, but that was his nature.

I might be blearily heading for the coffee.  Some of our children might be scattered on couches and floors, their energy sapped from a week at work and play.  Some still might be asleep.  Jim would already have a series of illegible checklists made up for his day’s tasks, and would be raring to get out of the house once everyone was up and had received some sustenance.  No excuses.

“Let’s go,” he would say.

Jim was a man of few words.

The photographs Jim left behind continue to beckon me beyond my zone of comfort and to places I’ve never been.  He would draw me in with the details: spiders guarding their webs, bright flowers, howler monkeys.

Then he would step back, zoom out, as he did with the active volcano above, from a trip in which he wished I were there: his first shot was through a gray fog, like a hazy shot of our planet from elsewhere.  He would capture surrounding geological details and plant life.  He always included the bigger picture, in this instance broadening the photo field to show man-made structures which house people with a cultural life I’ve never experienced, who speak a language I do not speak (though Jim learned it before he took this trip; he never considered it pointless to learn something new).

On every level, those pictures ask me to go beyond the beauty of the instants he captured and think about what I might see and learn outside the frames.

My elder daughter, like Jim, both craves a home of her own and to be elsewhere–far, far away, living among people in India, Germany, Spain, Russia, and wherever her next great academic adventure takes her.  She has host families scattered around the globe, complete with a German brother and sister and an extra Russian grandmother.

St. Petersberg, Russia(c) June 2012 Emma E. Glennon

St. Petersberg, Russia
(c) June 2012 Emma E. Glennon

Both my daughters are exceptional photographers, and have mastered the Art of the Beyond through this picture-taking art.  Both learned at least part of their craft from their dad.

My daughters’ photographs, too, beckon me not only visually beyond what I could have imagined, but also to explore other ways of thinking and believing and being among fellow human beings and other creatures.


Deer, Kyoto, Japan (c) March 2011 Emma E. Glennon

I will never tire of searching the extraordinary faces and light and color in photographs my children have taken around the world, and wondering what the people in these places are thinking and how they look at this world.

I will try not to lose sight of Jim’s lesson of going beyond, without fear.


Varanasi, India (c) October 2011 Emma E. Glennon

About Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She also is an adjunct professor at a law school on the banks of the Charles and loves that dirty water, as she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2020 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with Wordpress protocol and the numerous other wee buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.
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7 Responses to Weekly Photo Challenge: Beyond the Door

  1. Jeff Sinon says:

    Wonderful series of photos for this weeks theme.

  2. Stephanie says:

    Yes! We loved to do family hikes in New Hampshire and Maine, and spent many weekends climbing in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. My husband had a shelf full of books about hiking with children, and about all the birds and other species native to every place we went. He took amazing photographs there.

  3. bornbyariver says:

    This was a very healing post for me to read. My ex-husband had a great sense of adventure. We went beyond together, camping all over the Southwest, traveling in Mexico. It was also in the context of that relationship that I “went beyond” any misery I thought was humanly possible and dived into some more, and I’m grateful he is no longer in my life. But this brought back some nice memories and inspired me to do more, today.

  4. Pingback: Silent Spaces | Love in the Spaces

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