Down to The River {Shoot for Charity}

My first shoot for my charity project in partnership with Orbis International took place right in own neighbourhood. Each year I donate one month of work to a Charity project. And this year I'm working with Orbis, International, an organisation that brings sight-saving treatment to people in the developing world.

I connected with some neighbours, the kind you chat with on playground; the kind you admire but don't yet know why; the kind you wish you knew better. The brief was the kind I like best: capture us here in our home and in our neighbourhood and help us remember this time and this place, our boy's first home as we prepare to leave China behind.

We met at home, while Baby O was waiting for Daddy to come home. We chatted and played as we waited. I learned to say a few words in Czech. We talked about life, our families, our difficulties, and the the beautiful ways that living outside your passport country can stretch and change you. We talked about Lyra and how she's doing, and how lucky we are to get the treatment we do. We got to see each other and realize that it would have been better to know each other like this months earlier. 

And then Daddy came home. And it was all tickles and cuddles and jumping on the sofa. We got ready to go outside, the heat of the day was starting to soften. We walked down past the river, to their favourite bakery and got ice cream. Then we ran up the pathway and watched the boats. We saw a man playing the flute, and remarked that in China there is so much life in public spaces, and yes, we'll miss that. We did what is normal on a Friday evening, we became part of our neighbourhood and participated in the act of living. 

Thanks lovely people, thanks so much for participating in this project with me. Thanks for donating to Orbis, and giving the gift of sight. Thanks for giving the gift of sight. Thanks for helping another beautiful soul to be able to see their neighbours and be able to walk down to their river and watch their boats and participate in their own community. This is a gift that changes lives.

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This Time Like Lightening

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This day has crept up on me without warning. No slow build, no anticipation. I looked at my watch and realized we’re the 14th. Another month has turned. My tiny baby who, in the calendar of my mind is still a floppy mewing thing, is now ten months old.

Time glides along, then skims, then skates, and then gushes and leaks, and we can’t hold it in while also chasing deadlines, making dinner, and meeting the school bus. 

My first baby’s infancy passed at a trickle’s pace. The second was quicker, but still with undisturbed stretches of waveless time. But this is some sort of lighting that I can’t hold onto. I haven’t kept up with her monthly updates. I’ve not managed even a picture a day, not even in my mind. Some days I close my day with just the barest moments of connection: ten seconds of locked eyes and time slows, but then it’s off to stop a fight or worry about dinner or meet someone else’s need.

Even now, I want to stop here, linger over these words, revisit them with a fresh mind. But there’s not a way to march backwards and then come again at this day with a mindfulness I don’t have today. So, I’ll post this. And rush through this day, and this evening. And maybe I’ll get up early tomorrow and meditate. Maybe I’ll slow things down. Or maybe I’ll accept the pace this season demands. Or maybe, most likely, I won’t do any of those things. I’ll chase time, at the behest of modern late-stage capitalism, I’ll build my tiny empire, I’ll put on lipstick and take my kids to school, and run to the grocery store and make dinner. But in a tiny corner of my mind, there’s knowing that this isn’t the way. There’s resisitence. 

Shoot for Charity

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Many of you may know that our tiny daughter Lyra was born with secondary congenital glaucoma. Glaucoma is pretty serious in children. It’s not the same run-of-the-mill laser fix as it is in adults. It's complicated. And it holds the real likeihood of robing young ones of the chance to witness the beauty in the physical world.

The time around her diagnosis and initial treatment was this strange phantasmagoria of intense heartache and deep gratitude. I was balanced on this poignant knife edge: deep sorrow for all my girl might miss; and then on the other intense gratefulness for all the opportunities we had. A burst of cherry blossoms, falling like snow, and sorrow would well in my chest. The arm of a stranger, reaching to help me carry our stroller down the subway stairs, and the the profound understanding that there is no greater beauty than that what is found by loving one another.

One narrative that kept replaying in my mind was the imagined story of my daughter had she been born to a different family with fewer means in a different country without access to excellent medical care. We could give our daughter the very best care available. She is being seen by some of the leading specialists in her disease. And even if all medical interventions fail, she’ll have every opportunity available to her. But what about a child born in rural China? This condition would almost certainly spell blindness and a life of restriction and limitation.

Every year, around my birthday I donate my time and my work to charity. This year, I’m supporting Orbis, an origination that works to treat preventable blindness caused by conditions such as my daughter’s in some of the poorest regions of the world. Orbis brings a flying hospital to those in need, and perform sight-saving surgeries for children who would otherwise certainly go blind. 

I’m offering family sessions in exchange for a donation to Orbis. Make a donation in lieu of my session fee, I suggest 3000 RMB, but I’ll happily accept any generous donation. And we’ll create a beautiful gallery of images of you and your family. I have four sessions available between now and the end of September. Don't wait!

Get in touch. You can contact me here, my email is ericaknecht@gmail.com. Or on WeChat at erica_knecht. 

Ten on Ten {July}

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I'm catching up on my summer photos. I may finish sometime around, ohhhhhh 2019. So Mark that in your calendar. But until then, here's what July 10th looked like. 

06:08 // Nannie feeds Lyra breakfast.

06:38 // We're still recovering from jet lag, and the kids are up early. Hugo goes outside to explore the treehouse that Papa built.

06:57 // Potty training. 

07:25 // I played monopoly with Stella during Lyra's very early nap. Stella tires of this quickly, and then opts for morning games with Nannie. 

09:39 // We take a trip to town. This phone booth is a relic of my younger years when no cabin on the lake had phone service. Sunday evenings would see a line forming outside this little booth as cottagers called home and gave their loved ones the lake report.

12:33 // This is my favourite stretch of road before we hit the turn off to the lake.

12:56 // In the boat, back from town where I went for a run while Papi and Papa looked after the kids. And bought a potty seat.

14:15 // Some quiet time with the computer.

16:41 // The little ones wake late from a nap.

17:37 // We all pile in the boat for a short ride across our small bay.

18:50 // We go to Uncle Emmett's for a "steam" the kids swim in the lake until they are blue and crying of cold.

19:23 // Stella asks me to make her portrait. She almost never asks this, so of course I do.

19:39 // Swimming towels drying at the end of the day.

Ten on Ten {June}

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I'm finally catching up here with Ten on Ten, and well, blog post in general. So, here's June's ten. (Or nine. Actually.)

5:54 AM // Mornings start awfully early around here. 

7:36 AM // Early wake-ups mean a pre-eight AM nap. 

7:49 AM // The plum rains are here. Heavy, steamy storms will break after about ten days and give way to heavy, hot days of summer.

8:51 AM // Still napping. Bless. This sweet girl.

10:31 AM // Pre-ballet recital. Stella is never happier than when with friends or when performing.

111:31 AM // Glitter bomb finale. 

12:56 PM // With her medal. 

1:58 PM // On the way home after lunch

14:55 // Hanging out.