Last October, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary, we went to Acadia National Park. And it. Is. Gorgeous. It’s not like the National Parks out west. It’s smaller. More approachable. And somehow, that makes it easy to fall in love with.

Image for post
Image for post

We hiked through fog and sunrise and sunshine and rain. We saw silent lakes and hidden inlets, and crashing ocean waves. We scrambled over rocks, waded through marshes, switched back across trails, and trudged through beach sand.

The trees were every shade of red and yellow and orange and green. The rocks were much more beautiful than I knew rocks could be. Altogether, it was one of the simplest, shortest, and best little vacays we’ve ever taken.

Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post
Image for post

The trip was eight months ago, now. But nevermind the wait. We drove the coast — the famous PCH — from San Diego to San Francisco, with just a few hundred miles of detours along the way.

I brought with me an ancient film camera. I wanted to remember to be judicious. To focus before jumping in. To snap the photo I wanted, and no more. Of course, they didn’t all work out. But that just makes the good ones all the better.

Image for post
Image for post

Starting with a National Park

We started in San Diego, but my first roll of film went wonk, so the first good photos showed up in Joshua Tree National Park — a place that’s like a sandbox for giants. The alien landscape felt simultaneously otherworldly and entirely familiar — dry, sandy, and scrambly. …


This one isn’t a lecture. It’s not well written, and there’s not much of a story. This is just a handful of photos, taken on a crisp fall day at Bushkill Falls.

See, I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately. Anxiety keeps me up. Last night, I read some poetry. It didn’t help me sleep, but it felt good anyway. This line, for example:

There is that in me — I do not know what it is — but I know it is in me.

–Walt Whitman

Image for post
Image for post


The first big blizzard of 2015 hit New York the same day 22 charity: water staff members were booked on a flight out of town. JFK » DBX » ADD » MQX.

We boarded an enormous double-decker Emirates plane just as a threatened 36 inches of snow began to accumulate. But after a quick plane de-icing and a few anxious texts to loved ones, we were off on our second annual staff trip to see charity: water’s work in the field.

Image for post
Image for post

Wait. Let’s back up a bit.

At charity: water, we have about 70 staff members. Roughly half of us travel to the field often. Our Water Programs Team, for example, might clock a combined 900 hours in the air in a single year. Tyler, our Content Strategist, spent 64 days in the field in 2014, collecting stories and seeing our work in action. …

About

Chara Smith

I stand by the Oxford comma.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store