Bluegrass Hospice Care volunteer Karen Schulman-Bear contributes her talents to our patients and their families in a variety of ways. Whether she is visiting patients in a nursing home, singing to a family in their home or sitting vigil with a patient nearly death, Karen can always be counted on to do whatever is needed to assist the staff in our Cynthiana office.
Karen is also a very talented photographer and in 2016 won the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization Creative Arts award. Her photo, entitled “Earth and Sky,” took home first place in the Nature Photography category. Bluegrass Hospice Care volunteer Wanda Chiles, who also volunteers in the Cynthiana office, won second place in the same category in 2015 and 2012 and was an honorable mention in 2013.
Here are Karen’s thoughts on her award-winning image:
As an amateur nature photographer I take pictures of “spontaneous moments in nature” – in other words, I never “set up a shot.” I always click what I see at the moment I see it. This thrills me because there are so many incredible moments in life – moments in nature – if you are truly present in the moment.
I was driving home, turning onto our bridge that goes over the creek at the start of our farm and glimpsed the reflection in the water as I drove over the bridge. I was stunned! I stopped, backed up, parked on the bridge, rolled down the window and took this picture. The creek is usually a dry bed of mud and stones and refuse unless it rains. Here – in this special moment – I saw how the beauty of the sun behind the cloud reflected in the beauty of the rain-filled creek bed.
Often times, when we least expect it, nature will reflect the essence of life’s special moments. Here the earth and sky reflect on each other and it reminds me of the impact we have on one another at moments in life when we least expect it. As a hospice volunteer for 10 years I have had many moments like this – when I see in the eyes of my patient or their family member the music I sing reflecting back from their hearts. Just as I see in my photograph how the sun behind the cloud reflects in the creek, making it light up in a way I would otherwise not have noticed. Hospice and palliative care bring light to patients and their families in their darkest hours. I think this image implicitly shows how nature represents the essence of life’s special moments.