Kenmare in the Ring of Kerry

Travel Journal: Ireland

The present moment is where all signs, parallel worlds and miracles are to be found.

-Paulo Coehlo.

I love this quote because I believe miracles and magic truly are only found in the present. And that is why I strive to capture everyday moments with my camera. To celebrate the now. By doing so, it forces me to live in the moment, and not get too caught up in what’s next. And nothing forces you to live in the moment quite so much as travel.

Last summer I traveled to Ireland with my husband and his brother and wife. We planned a few things, but mostly, left large chunks of the day to explore and be spontaneous. Here are a few things I learned by truly turning myself over to the present while in the Emerald Isle.

1. Find beauty in the details

…because beauty is everywhere.

Ceiling detail inside Dublin Castle

Ceiling detail inside Dublin Castle

Flowers in Kinsale

Flowers in Kinsale

Bike and door at Trinity College

Bike and door at Trinity College

2. Eating local is always better

…no matter where you happen to be.

Irish Mussels in Dublin

Irish Mussels in Dublin

Guinness pint at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

Guinness pint at the Gravity Bar at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin

Olives at the town square market in Kinsale

Olives at the town square market in Kinsale

Wild blueberries growing in the Wicklow Mountains

Wild blueberries growing in the Wicklow Mountains

3. We are all small beneath the large, unending sky

…and so the worries and troubles of today don’t really matter. They are small, too.

Valentia Island sheep

Valentia Island sheep

Charles Fort

Charles Fort

Ross Castle in Ring of Kerry

Ross Castle in Ring of Kerry

Kilkenny Castle

Kilkenny Castle

 

I am trying to keep these things in mind every day. I find when I do, each day can have that vacation feeling, too. Sláinte!

Strongbow cider table

Cider & Black: A photographic toast to times around the table

Raise a glass! After all, the title Cider & Black is inspired by the drink of the same name. A modest, agrarian drink made with simple ingredients, but not necessarily made simply. It took some time to develop to the right state. It’s a drink that yields a balanced flavor with just a splash of tart-like whimsy, held high to share with friends old and new.

Cider & Black the blog is about celebrations around the table. It’s about being present in the moment, being inspired by the colors and complexities we encounter, and being grateful for people to share it with. With the table as the centerpiece, the celebration never ends.

I was first inspired to start this journey last summer, when I signed up for my first CSA in middle Tennessee. The variety of the weekly bounty I received was invigorating. The sheer quantity taught me how to put vegetables (and by extension, healthy foods) first, and also ensured I always had enough to share. The quirky kohlrabis and joi chois, among other characters, broadened the palate of my Hoosier upbringing. Farm-eating changed my relationship with food. It changed how and what I cooked for myself and my family, and even how I experienced the passing of the seasons.

Time seemed to slow, and I found myself reaching for my camera more and more to document the state of my table. States of solitude, contemplation, creation, fellowship, work and joy.

Orange food pattern

Oranges patterned with parsley, leaves and wild berries from our backyard.

On this blog I’ll work to translate those states into visual stories from the table. Be they stories of color, texture, seasons, recipes, or even travels. Which brings me back to the name Cider & Black.

There’s another, more personal meaning in this blog’s title. Kir Breton is something I first encountered while living in Rennes, France during college. The traditional drink in the Bretagne region is cider, so Cider & Black, or cidre noir, was never in short supply. And France is where my journey with photography really began. So in a way, Cider & Black and photography will always be inextricably linked for me.

white tea rennes

White oolong tea and momentos from my time in France.

I’ve changed since then, and now call Nashville home with my husband and sweet daughter. But my passion for local tastes and photography has only grown. I’m always open to creative opportunities, flavor pairings, or info about the newest tastes in TN (or France or anywhere else you’d recommend getting my passport stamped!) I’d love to hear from you. So welcome to Cider & Black, and cheers!