The Power of the Small Bright Spot

Foggy Evening Harbor, San Diego, CA

I’ve been having a rough couple of years in someways.

Good years in someways, but yeah, rough in others.

Which makes those small bright spots shine all the brighter – like the one light in the photo above, cutting though the fog to paint a sparkling trail on the surface of the bay.

That day was a good metaphor for the last couple of years.

The day had been beautifully sunny until mid-afternoon when the fog came in as a wall of grey.


And yet, after it blurred and removed the colors from the once bright harbor area, there were bright spots to be seen still showing their color and cheering onlookers. Like the lights on the boats in the first photo.

On Thursday, I had a bright spot that brightened and lightened not only that day, but one of the larger hurts I’ve had lately.

Earlier this year I dropped the external drive I was using to store my photos (including my iPhoto Library) on my kitchen floor and lost everything from mid-April 2012 through to the day it fell.

Believe me, That. Was. A. Lot. Of. Photos.

Thousands of photos.

Many of which were no big loss. Many of which I couldn’t even remember.

But many that it hurt to loose. Especially ones that I knew I’d never get another shot like them.

I have found some of the lost photos over the ensuing months that had been saved to other places as well as to the external drive and have been happy for that . . . but there were those few that remained gone, and broke my heart.

As you may have guessed by now, yesterday I found one of them. One of them that I had really hated losing.

Here’s my bright spot:

Pelicans and Double Crested Cormorants resting on a log in 5th St. Lake.

You may be thinking, “She was that down over losing that photo?”

Yep. That photo.

It was taken in the flood year that inspired my book The Devil’s Flood, and I have lost almost every shot I took of the flooded lake where the story is set. Of the hundred or so I took I have about four or five left.

The Pelicans are almost always hanging out at the far end of the lake where my long lens can barely catch a shot of them. (Wish I had a long range lens.)

The flood was the only time I’d seen logs floating about in the lake.

And there it all was . . .

Flooded lake. Log. Pelicans. Cormorants.

All about twenty feet (6.096m) from the road where I could easily take photos of them that would be in focus and show good detail.


Wouldn’t get this shot again. And this shot, and some of the others I took in that special moment, have always made me smile. The way the second Pelican from the left has his wing over the other guy’s back while he stretches, standing on one leg. The way they’re all positioned. The little band of Cormorants at one end. The esthetic of a mix of black and white birds – including the touches of black on the Pelican’s wings – on a grey day on a grey lake, and yet the touches of color from their bills and legs.

Finding this photo in an out of the way folder I never would have expected it to be in made my day, and is still cheering my heart.


Think about this. Under ideal circumstances – eyes adjusted, no nearby lights, standing on a high hill or mountain – a candle flame could be seen at up to 30 miles (48 km) away, according to a 1941 study by Columbia University.

Are you in a fog of the heart, mind and spirit?

Keep watch for the bright spots, however small they may be.

Even if they are Pelicans and Cormorants perched on a log.

Before last Thursday, this was the only photo I had left of the Pelicans on the log.

As the Pelicans did on that special day in 2015, I bid you farewell. 🙂

Hugs from Pearl.


5 thoughts on “The Power of the Small Bright Spot

  1. I agree, that is a great shot. and how wonderful you managed to recover it! I store all of my stuff on CDs. tucked away. I also have dupes on the computer, and much on flash drives. And a bundle in
    flickr. But having lost a few myself in various ways, yeah, I can understand the sense of loss.

    At the last of her living (she had Alzheimer’s) my mother decided to dispose of anything she didnt want. Including her driver’s license, her SS card, and all the negatives to all the photos. some we didnt even have photos for. I asked her why and she said, “well I didnt think you wanted them…” which has always been motherspeak for she wanted to dump them and didnt much care. sigh.

    Now THOSE I ache over.
    Yeah, I get how you feel. Big time.


  2. Hi Judy.


    My Mom had Alzheimer’s as well and ended up throwing or giving away to other people several things I had told her for years I wanted, including photos. Alzheimer’s is such a hard disease to go through for everyone involved; the person who has it and the ones who care about them.

    Thank you for liking the photo. 😊 It was such a special moment with them all so close to the road. I have it up as my desktop wallpaper to help me smile and de-stress.


  3. Thank you so much for sharing this. You write with such poise – everything just flows together perfectly. Well of course it does….you’re a published novelist! It was very encouraging. That candle flame analogy 30 miles away on a high hill or mountain makes me wish I could paint – well I sure have the image in my mind now. It is a peaceful, hopeful one.


  4. Those are stunning shots and I can imagine how painful when you lose photos. I’ve had issues with data storage where things have been lost. It is hard to deal with.

    I am glad you have managed to find some of those photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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