"Perseverance" by Bodhi Smith

in its most 
simple form, 
perseverance is 
waiting and 
being patient...
you need to just
"let it be" and 
pause for a bit: 
really listen, and 
wait before you 
respond to something, or 
buy something, or 
react to something...
the flood might 
surround you in 
doubt, but the water 
will recede…just 
take it easy for a bit, 
slow down, 
breathe in, and then
breathe out...
wait with 
patience to 
live in love
a tree growing in the middle of a lake is beautifully symbolic of true perseverance, such an inspiration to us all...for if a lone tree can do that, then you too can also continue to grow and blossom with perseverance, even when surrounded by an world so seemingly unforgiving ― bodhi, perseverance 
"perseverance" is defined by merriam-webster : 
"persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success"...
the famous wanaka tree (pronounces like "monica") is such a beautiful metaphor of "perseverance" and a belief in pure love...under the infinite canopy of stars glowing above, there's this tenacious little tree persistent in his faith…
growing against all odds in the middle of a lake, persevering through all difficulties. trusting the waters will always nourish and not drown him, knowing he will continue to survive and endure even in times of high doubt, those scary times filled with uncertainty. understanding his connection with nature and his unconditional love for her will fortify his resolve to be alive, never give up, and be his best possible self... 
"never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about" ― winston s. churchill   
i apply this example and lesson of "perseverance" directly into my life, it's message is especially meaningful within the journey of love for me...
you see, having the love of a lifetime with your true soulmate is often frustrating, it’s growth is unquestionably tough and never the path of least resistance…but nothing that’s ever worth more than anything in the world is ever easy…it’s love built on perseverance in the understanding that something of this certainty comes but once in a lifetime...she knows, and i know...
but she’s not with me...so, i simply persevere through the moments, living my life as fully as i can, making each moment count, holding on to my dreams, but still existing as my best possible self...knowing that when we want something badly enough, the entire universe will conspire to help us get it...i'm content to be alone, in fact i'm happier when i'm alone most of the time, but it does get lonely sometimes...so i'm waiting patiently for the time when she’s in my arms and nothing else matters...
and, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
i hold on to my perseverance, growing through all uncertainty, failing in order to succeed, hoping in the midst of despair…living in the shadows of love waiting for her light in the darkness to guide me home…and all of a sudden, there she'll be, and all my waiting will be worth all the love filling up my heart once again...
so, if you're all alone and lonely, don't stop believing that your true love is out there somewhere, persevere and don't ever stop believing...i'll live my life fully as my best possible self...all my faith, hope, beliefs, and dreams will intersect all at once...and then she's finally here with me... ― bodhi
now here's a beautiful song that radiates a positive hope for finally finding love and someone to share your life with. a true love to share everything, every single thing together. my advice: never stop believing and it will happen to you. collectively, hoping-believing-loving is a pathway all in it of its own. embracing love through hope and belief is all you need to find your way. true love is discoverable through simply having faith in love, faith in finding romantic happiness one day, on a path which only you know how to walk. if you are true to yourself, through "perseverance" you will find it, and it will find you in return....so this rock classic, one of the most beloved songs of the entire 1980s is absolutely the perfect accompaniment to connect music with the meaning of my impression and blog today:  "don't stop believin" by journey.

just a small town girl living in a lonely world. she took the midnight train going anywhere. just a city boy born and raised in south detroit, he took the midnight train going anywhere...a singer in a smokey room, the smell of wine and cheap perfume. for a smile they can share the night. it goes on and on, and on, and on...strangers, waiting up and down the boulevard. their shadows searching in the night. streetlights, people, living just to find emotion. hiding somewhere in the night...working hard to get my fill, everybody wants a thrill. paying anything to roll the dice just one more time. some will win, some will lose, some were born to sing the blues. oh, the movie never ends, it goes on and on, and on, and on...strangers, waiting up and down the boulevard. their shadows searching in the night. streetlights, people, living just to find emotion. hiding somewhere in the night...don't stop believin', hold on to that feeling. streetlight, people, don't stop, believin', hold on to that feeling, streetlights, people, oh-oh-ooooh...don't stop believin' hold on to that feeling, streetlights, people​ ​― journey, don't stop believin'.
so many years, no electricity 
walking this path laid by fate
believing in serendipity;
hoping for a soulmate
haunted by your spirit
from another time and place;
but i knew not to fear it,
for one day again we'd embrace.
then out of nowhere you appear!
dreams become reality;
restoring a faith so dear
in higher spirituality...
for when i see your face,
i truly already know:
your eyes are my grace,
i was born to love you so.
a large oak tree is just a little nut that refused to give up  ― siddhartha gautama buddha, the dhammapada
i'm still breathless and humbled by the beauty of this stubborn tree...and i hope you love the picture i was able to create here before you, and that it can transport you to what i got to experience and feel on this beautiful night as the dawn turned into day...
when i visited new zealand for my first time eight years in april of 2015, i was there during a terrible drought, and there was no water around the wanaka tree...i had envisioned this image, and truly wanted to create it, but was unable to succeed on that trip, since the water level of the lake was so low...
so i waited, knowing i would have to come back again...and i did finally go back five years later in 2020 with good graces befalling upon me, and as a result you see this image of "perseverance" before you...
"it is a big mistake to try to look too far ahead. the chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time" ― winston s. churchill
framed by the south island’s stunning southern alps, a lonely willow tree has grown up to spread its wings just off shore in roy's bay at the south end of lake wanaka.  known as the “lone tree of lake wanaka,” it is said to be the most photographed tree in all new zealand. however, there are no signs directing people to the solitary tree, but it still gets bothered by too many tourists who have seen the tree on social media and did their research to find the tree (can be found now labelled on google maps)...

walking along the lake to find the lone tree is a beautiful sight. when you arrive, you’ll find beach access on the shore just a stone’s throw away from the tree, the perfect place to have a picnic and watch the sun set or rise. if you can stand the cold but refreshing water of lake wanaka, swimming is a great way to awaken the senses.  

the lone tree is right at the foothills of mount aspiring national park, a world heritage site, acting as a doorway into even more of the breathtaking landscapes that embody the south island of new zealand...

the tree started life as a fence post at least 77 years ago. wanaka artist and writer gwenda rowlands, 85, is a keeper of local history and remembers the fence line from 1939, when she first visited it in a little dinghy her father built for her and her older brother.

she has watched it evolve from a "hacked off branch from nearby willows" to a symbol of determination.

"it was 1939. i remember it growing there, and that is not yesterday. so it has been growing slowly all that time...it was just big enough to lift the wire up with a bit of tension on it. i can remember a gap where the tree is now, on the beach, and the sheep could just wander off into the town shopping if they wanted."

rowlands agrees the tree "seems to be getting a bit of an overload" but has not let that overwhelm her enjoyment of the site's natural history.

rowlands suggests otago artist brian halliday (1936-1974) made one of the earliest images of the tree while it was still a post...a copy of halliday's painting graces the cover of wanaka and surrounding districts: a sequel to wanaka story, by irvine roxburgh (1990).

so what does she make of the famous tree? "it shows anything that is alive has a determination to live," she said.

though the "wanaka tree" is, well, in a lake, the water levels are often low enough for tourists to walk through and climb the tree, which causes a lot of strain—a branch even snapped off just before christmas in 2017. this is in part due to the delicate nature of the species: the wanaka tree is a crack willow (salix fragilis), named for brittle wood that easily breaks. but the tree's environment is also challenging to begin with. because the roots are often totally submerged by cold water, the tree's growth is slow, making it difficult for areas that have been damaged to regenerate.
and on march 17th, 2020 (only a month after i took my "perseverance photograph) in the latest installment of "tourists behaving badly." yet another uniquely beautiful natural landmark has been damaged by overzealous travelers. the victim this time around was the wanaka tree here...you've probably seen it all over instagram, or even on its dedicated facebook page: a lone willow marooned in the lake, with branches skimming the surface. it makes for breathtaking pictures; however, as we've often seen with viral vacation photos, it's paying a terrible price.

this was such an unconscionable and deliberate act...some evil person vandalizing this beautiful tree, a clueless idiot chopping off the lower branches that hang out over the water to leave themdiscarded on the shore...why would anyone want to hurt this beautifully delicate and defenseless tree? it has survived and persevered through all of the extremes of nature only to be damaged and have it's most unique branches amputated by some dumbass human being wielding a saw...i don' get it, i don't t understand humanity at all these days...all for what? why???
outrage after picturesque wanaka tree attacked with saw | stuff.co.nz

in order to prevent further deterioration, the new zealand tourism board will be installing warning signs around the tree, written in both english and mandarin. and, just to make it abundantly clear that climbing is a no-no, there will also be an accompanying graphic. the queenstown lakes district council is hesitant to put up fencing, fearing it might detract from the surrounding natural beauty. though, should any further damage be sustained, the council may have to look into more substantial solutions to the issue around people climbing and further damaging this very unique tree.  
gently eliminating all obstacles to his own understanding, he constantly maintains his unconditional sincerity. his humility, perseverance, and adaptability evoke the response of the universe and fill him with divine light ― lao tzu, tao te ching  
and here is a poignant tune to listen to as you continue to read my new blog, this is one of my favorite tunes in its message and feeling of perseverance, one that i believe everyone should be heeding...it's beautiful tune, and perfect in its message to the world almost 50 years later... let it be by the beatles. ...
(just click on the blue links to listen to any of the songs) 

when i find myself in times of trouble, mother mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be. and in my hour of darkness she is standing right in front of me, speaking words of wisdom, let it be. let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be...and when the broken hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be. for though they may be parted, there is still a chance that they will see there will be an answer, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be...there will be an answer, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be...whisper words of wisdom, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, whisper words of wisdom, let it be...and when the night is cloudy there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be. i wake up to the sound of music, mother mary comes to me speaking words of wisdom, let it be...let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be...there will be an answer, let it be, let it be, let it be, let it be, yeah, let it be...whisper words of wisdom, let it be​ ​― the beatles, let it be.
here is another song to listen to if you like...beautiful song that is full of hope and love... top of the world by imagine dragons. ...

if you love somebody, better tell them why they're here because they just may run away from you. you'll never know what went well, then again it just depends on how long of time is left for you. i've had the highest mountains, i've had the deepest rivers. you can have it all but not until you move it. now take it in but don't look down, because i'm on top of the world, i'm on top of the world....waiting on this for a while now, paying my dues to the dirt. i've been waiting to smile. been holding it in for a while. take it with me if i can. been dreaming of this since a child...i'm on top of the world. i've tried to cut these corners, try to take the easy way out. i kept on falling short of something. i coulda gave up then but, then again, i couldn't have because i've traveled all this way for something...now take it in but don't look down, because i'm on top of the world, i'm on top of the world. waiting on this for a while now....​ ​― imagine dragons, top of the world.
another tune to listen to, one that i have always held true and loved to listen to when i used to backcountry splitboard and i was climbing a mountain in deep snow and freezing cold, and needed to dig deep and persevere all the exhaustion and corresponding pain at high altitudes ... boulevard of broken dreams by greenday. ...
i walk a lonely road, the only one that i have ever known. don't know where it goes, but it's only me, and i walk alone. i walk this empty street on the boulevard of broken dreams, where the city sleeps and i'm the only one, and i walk alone. i walk alone, i walk alone, i walk alone and i walk a...my shadow's the only one that walks beside me. my shallow heart's the only thing that's beating. sometimes i wish someone up hill will find me, until then, i walk alone....i'm walking down the line that divides me somewhere in my mind, on the border line of the edge, and where i walk alone. read between the lines, what's fucked up and every thing's all right. check my vital signs to know i'm still alive, and i walk alone...i walk alone, i walk alone, i walk alone and I walk a...my shadow's the only one that walks beside me. my shallow heart's the only thing that's beating. sometimes I wish someone out there will find me, till then, i walk alone, i walk alone, i walk a....i walk this empty street on the boulevard of broken dreams, where the city sleeps and i'm the only one, and i walk alone...my shadow's the only one that walks beside me. my shallow heart's the only thing that's beating. sometimes i wish someone out there will find me, till then i walk alone ― greenday, boulevard of broken dreams.
i know what i want—don’t you too? if it’s the same thing, then wtf? ― bodhi
she'll enter my heart and leave me breathless. and once again, the simple act of breathing willtake my breath away...making me so glad to be alive, blessed to be lucky to have all i could ever want, wanting and needing nothing except what i have ― bodhi
at just the sight of her, so beautiful, i've no words, but she hears me--each time i blink my eyes, she knows me...i'm two inches away and staring into her eyes. i see light years of love reflecting back into me. she knows me without knowing me. my eyes fill with all her glow. i'm all melting, my walls disappearing. i'm all hers. i'm home...she's living inside my heart now... ― bodhi
now i'm so famished, but not for food, so hungry for her...she's my nourishment...i'm craving all her soothing pleasures, touches, tingles, wet and warm, soft and sensual...flavors of heaven, tastes of erotica, aromas so sweet, singing of an angel...she's ambrosia filling all my senses, she sates all my desires, and recharges my being ― bodhi
jack: you must do me this honor. promise me you'll survive. that you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. promise me now, and never let go of that promise...
rose: i won't let go, i promise ― james cameron, titanic 
love is patient, love is kind. it does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. it is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. it always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres... ― anonymous, holy bible new international version
it does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop ― siddhartha gautama buddha, the dhammapada
know others by knowing yourself. overcome others by overcoming yourself. understanding what is enough is enough. presence is perseverance. coming to stillness is forging ahead. find life by accepting death ― lao tzu, tao te ching  
knowing others is wisdom; knowing the self is enlightenment...he who knows he has enough is rich. perseverance is a sign of will power, and he who stays where he is, endures" ― lao tzu, tao te ching  
no matter what is going on, never give up. develop the heart. too much energy in your country is spent developing the mind instead of the heart. be compassionate. not just to your friends, but to everyone be compassionate. work for peace. in your heart and in the world, work for peace. and i say again, never give up. no matter what is going on around you, never give up ― dalai lama xiv, the art of happiness
love never loses its way home, it perseveres within us all along; a shining beacon rooted deeply on our shores. it’s always flowing to us and inside of us. unyielding in its power, unwavering in its belief and undying in its devotion, it never dies. our task is to believe in it and not lose faith when darkness rises and it becomes hard to see. it’s still there, with the power to breathe life and fire into once stale lungs. our greatest challenge is to embrace the whole of who we are and love ourselves completely enough to never stop believing in our worthiness of the love we dream of. when we truly embody the knowledge that love is something real that we are born deserving, it’s easier to have faith in its existence and to not sacrifice ourselves or settle for any less. it becomes easier to know deep in our hearts that love can never lose its way home to us, because we are love and this is all an unfolding path of love. that the real love that is meant for us will always find a way and that trusting in it is part of believing in love...and so, onward we go continuing our eternal journey deciphering the language of love. may we travel well ― c. ara campbell 
you must simply persevere, learn to look harder for the light. it will come to you in flashes of unexpected beauty. collect these tiny fragments of light wherever they come, until at last your sky is so full or stars, you are finally able to see the way forward ― beau taplin, here at dawn  
love perseveres, its people who change ― paulo coelho, the alchemist
the difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will and the other from a strong won't ― henry ward beecher 
if you are going through hell, keep going ― winston s. churchill  
when things go wrong, don't go with them ― elvis presley
you may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. in fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it and persevere... ― maya angelou 
no matter how heavy the challenges we face in our life, embrace optimism, perseverance, tenacity and courage. never lose faith and hope. never lose a generous heart who lives and breathes with a timeless love" ― angelica hopes, rhythm of a heart, music of a soul 
to everyone who suffers, perseverance brings good fortune ― jalaluddin rumi, poems of ecstasy and longing 

when you cannot have exactly want you want, be happy with what you have, focus on the positive instead of what is not possible right now...persevere with hope and continue to dream, believe that one day you will finally have that which you have always wanted ― bodhi, persevere
this is a two-frame long exposure composition of the wanaka tree under the stars in the wee hours of the night and then later for sunrise morning of the 17 february, 2020...a stable and sturdy tripod was an absolute necessity in order to keep the images in sharp focus in the places i wanted sharpness (i use selective focus on most of my images, similar to the way our eyes see things)...for this i used a dolica 70" carbon fiber tripod because it is sturdy, tall, and perfectly compact for hiking to remote places, or travel to locations where amounts of permitted luggage and equipment you can travel with is limited, such as new zealand...for me, this shot would never have been possible without my friends daniel and april at dolica tripods.

in my photography i always use filters to create longer exposure effects and to balance the light in my composition in camera...i often use as many as four filters at time, and i always use at least one filter...
no filters were used in the exposure of the stars, but for the exposure of the tree to get the effects and balance i was looking for, i used two filters...for this, i chose to use the magnetic 3.0nd progrey antarctica filter (and progrey g-120z holder) to allow for a much longer exposure (10 stops) and help saturate all the greens in the tree leaves as well the blues of the lake wanaka waters, plus in combination with the 0.9gnd progrey g120 aurora filter to help balance in-camera overall the image the way i envisioned it, as the sky was much more brighter, about 3 stops brighter than the rest of the darker parts and shadows of the foreground of the image composition...
i wish to openly thank my sponsors who have always supported me through both the good and bad times...for truly this semi-long exposure impression would not be possible without the use of my trusty dolica tripods in combination with the progreyusa filters which i use with every photo i take...
let her be, let her be in heart, spirit, body. let her be free. and let everything be love ― bodhi, let it be love 
contemplate without thinking. stop the world. slow down everything. shut off the noise. relax. seize this moment. reconnect. feel and sense what surrounds you. listen to all the colors of light that envelope you. see the melody and harmony that floats about unnoticed. taste the solitude of all this wonderment. smell the beautiful silence. now discover your peaceful serenity. then, reach out and touch your faith with all your senses. this is my world. awaken! ― bodhinku, my world
above all else as always,
i hope this message and impression find you well.


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