Why we share stories

Recently my old friend Leeyann, whom I had not seen for 10 years, got in touch with me through my website.  Besides being a wonderful person, she is a mom these days. It turns out that her two year old son, Thomas, was quite taken with some of the photos on my website, and Leeyann asked if I could send her some prints to hang in his bedroom.

I was tickled happy by this idea. I have published photos in numerous publications, but somehow the thought that a two year old boy and his mom wanted to hang some of my wildlife photos in his room, was just plain delightful.

Thomas picked out a photo of a howling wolf, a grizzly and a spirit bear.  I enclosed a short  letter with the photos telling him the story behind each picture. It was a pleasure to share these stories and images with him.

A week later, the following letter came in the mail for me:

Letter from Thomas

This touching and sincere gesture melted my heart. In fact, it is one of the nicest things that has happened since I started sharing my images and stories with people.

Collectively, we share stories with each other in many ways: through music, painting, words, photos and more. And there are a lot of reasons why we do that. One book I read said that the main reasons we tell stories are to entertain, inform, inspire and persuade. This may be true, but I think the essence of sharing stories is something deeper and less tangible.  That is, I think we share stories to connect with each other, reinforcing the bonds between humanity, place and the rest of life on Earth.  The most meaningful stories are the ones that reinforce these bonds most powerfully.

Using photos and words, it is my wish that the stories I tell will strengthen the bonds between all of us – as Thomas and Leeyan’s kind gesture did for me.

So thank you Thomas and thank you Leeyann. I hope you continue to enjoy the photos and their stories. I know the story of Thomas howling at the wolf image will be with me for a long time.

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