Photographs from
"The Goodness of Life"

Commentary by Ralph Marston

Since I first created the "Right Now" presentation in September 2001, millions of people have viewed the picture and music presentations featured on The Daily Motivator website. One of the most common questions I get is "where did you take those pictures?" Until now, I have not had a good answer for that question. That's because for the earlier feature presentations, as well as the hundreds of daily picture-and-music presentations available to subscribers, I mainly used photos from a clip art collection, and did not have detailed information on where the photos were taken.

This time, I'm happy to say, is different. All the photographs in "The Goodness of Life" presentation are my own. Not only that, they were all taken near my home in Austin, Texas, USA. I'm thrilled to be able to incorporate these photos into the presentation and to share a little bit about the place where I live.

This picture was taken in our back yard. We rarely get snow here in Austin, but at about 2:00 am on St. Valentine's Day 2004 I looked out the window and saw that it was snowing. As daylight approached, the sky cleared, so I bundled up and walked outside with my camera before dawn to catch the early morning light as the sun came up. The world was still, quiet and the light was incredibly beautiful. By 10:00 am, all the snow had melted.

This photo was taken along Bull Creek in Austin, about 3 miles from where we live. I was recently reading the autobiography of legendary Dallas Cowboys football coach Tom Landry, and was interested to learn that his first date with his future wife, Alicia, was a picnic along this very creek. Back when Tom Landry was a student at The University of Texas at Austin, this area was way out in the country. Now it is surrounded by city, but it has still been preserved as a peaceful spot.

These are blossoms on the althea bush in our back yard. I took this photo in late May.

I found this butterfly along the banks of the Pedernales River outside of Johnson City, Texas.

Our second story bedroom window faces east, so we see a lot of sunrises. This particularly beautiful cloud formation was photographed in September. Even my teenage daughter, who was outside at the time practicing with her high school dance team a few miles away, later remarked to me on how beautiful the sky looked that morning.

This is another shot from the Valentine's Day snow. Our property adjoins a beautiful natural park, with a creek running through it and hiking trails along the creek. This photo was taken along the creek where it forms a small pool.

This photo was taken on Mount Bonnell, a tourist attraction in Austin since as far back as 1850, and the highest point (785 feet) in the Austin city limits. Mount Bonnell rises above Lake Austin, which is the body of water that you see in the picture.

I photographed this tree outside Johnson City, Texas, about 50 miles from Austin.

This is Lake Travis, Austin's favorite summer recreation spot. The lake is surrounded by limestone cliffs, making the water very clear and more than a hundred feet deep in places. This particular spot is in the Pace Bend park.

Along the hiking trail behind our house.

These brilliant pink flowers are in one of the beds in our back yard. I'm not sure exactly what kind of flower they are. The previous owners planted them.

These oak trees are along the banks of the Pedernales River near Johnson City, Texas. Across the River is the Lyndon B Johnson National Historical Park, the site of the LBJ Ranch. I've always loved the following quote from President Lyndon B. Johnson, talking about his love for the Texas Hill Country:

There's no other place, no Virgin Islands, no Miami coastline, no boat trips across the Atlantic that can do for me what this soil, this land, this water, this people, and what these hills, these surroundings can do... They provide the stimulation and inspiration that nothing else can provide.

I took this photo on a Friday afternoon in October, after driving out from Austin. When I stood along the banks of the Pedernales, what I noticed more than anything else was the peace and quiet. This spot is far enough away from the major highway that the only sounds are the wind, the water, the birds and the crickets. You don't realize how noisy life usually is until you go to a place like this.

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Copyright © 2004 Ralph S. Marston, Jr.