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  • Writer's picturePaul Cotter

Leaf Mates

Close-up of colorful green and yellow leaves against a soft bokeh background.

If you’re lucky in life, you’ll have someone at your side who helps you grow into the best possible version of yourself. This is someone who supports and encourages you, but also respects you enough to tell you when you’re wrong. It's someone who's closely connected with you, while giving you the space you need to thrive as an individual.

For me, this someone is my wife Bonnie, who's my best friend and who’s been with me since we were 16 years old.

In the 49 years that our lives have been intertwined, she’s helped me evolve from an arrogant young idiot into something more closely resembling a decent human being. I can’t begin to imagine where I’d be without her influence in every aspect of my life, including photography.

She’s the one who bought me my first serious camera the first Christmas we were married – even though we could scarcely afford it at the time – because she knew I loved photography. Years later, she’s the one who supported my decision to quit my job as an advertising agency creative director so I could teach photography to high school kids – even though it meant I’d be taking a major cut in pay.

Let's take a moment to be grateful for the special people in our lives – the ones we're so fortunate to share the branch with.

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