The light was gorgeous this afternoon in the magic time about an hour before the sun began to set, so I had to bring my camera out to play, to capture it and the bits of color still hanging onto the trees of the neighborhood before they’re all bare.
The sun’s warmth spread against my skin like a blanket, and a light, warm breeze intermittently tousled my hair as I wandered entranced, seeing the world through my viewfinder.
A few minutes immersed in such beauty can feel like forever suspended in warmth and stillness.
Somehow, when I manage to let go and allow myself to simply see, I always seem to find exactly what I need.
Note: Photos taken with my trusty Canon Rebel XS and my new Canon EF-S 55-250 mm IS lens.
The day I took that photograph, I had been unemployed for two months.
I had been going around and around in the same fearful, anxiety-fueled circles for weeks, getting myself ever further into a mire, and decided the best way to get some relief was to take a trip to the lake. Nature, and particularly this lake, is sacred space to me. I took my journal, my camera, and a couple books and decided to see what Nature would say.
I kicked my shoes off and took a walk along the beach, wading barefoot in the water’s edge. Up ahead I could see a small flock of ducks gathered by some driftwood. I raised my camera and took their picture.
At the same time, I felt something brush across the top of my foot. It was this feather. I watched the lake lap at it a couple of times, then took the picture.
In that moment I got the answer I went for. To me, this small gift said, “Don’t lose hope. Keep faith. It’s all going to be alright.”
Not even a week later, I was employed. My new position is far from perfect, but I have been blessed to form fast friendships with my coworkers and feel like I’m gaining some momentum and direction again. I feel like, one way or another, it’s all going to be alright.
Today, I found myself focusing my little point and shoot (still no macro lens for the fancypants camera, and won’t be until I’m again gainfully employed) on the extremely small (the bee), the discarded (the feather, the leaf), the utterly common (grass), and the unloved (the slug).
I seem to gravitate toward these sorts of things, the sort that people overlook or find, in one way or another, undesirable and/or unlovable. I have quite a few pictures of weeds in my photo files, because they were visually interesting: quite graceful in line, or flowering, even dried out, dead, or wilted. I spent some time photographing the slug this morning, studying the way the light hit it (love how said light hits its antennae), and how its body seemed to flow. Most people I know would have plunged it to its drawn out and painful death in a bowl of salt. Earlier in my life, having been taught to do so, I would have, too, but not now. Having spent time with it, I sort of feel a kinship with the slug.
Maybe my artist’s statement should hearken to the Statue of Liberty: give me your tiny, your discarded, your utterly common, and your unloved ones, and I will show you simple beauty.
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Semisonic, “Closing Time”
The end came June 24th, under an extremely blue sky, lit beautifully, with perfect cotton clouds scattered throughout. My boss entered the final stages of retiring and closing his law office, and he no longer needed me, as he will only be seeing a few clients by appointment to tie up loose ends and will begin the process of moving his things and over 25 years of files out of the office.
I received a grand send-off, with gifts and a few tears. As endings go, it went well.
The first thing I did was take my cameras out for a spin in that magical light–my point-and-shoot for macros, like the one above, and Canon Rebel XS for everything else. (I don’t have a macro lens for the Rebel yet.) It seemed like an auspicious way to begin again.
After all, I’ve wanted a clean break and a new beginning for quite a while.
Now that it’s here, though, it’s nothing like I expected.
For a variety of reasons, it became clear that my original plan, what I’d hoped to make happen, wasn’t and isn’t going to work for me right now. Plan B didn’t and doesn’t feel quite right, either.
I’m back at square one, which is a terrifying place to be because I feel like I should have more figured out by now about where I want to go and what I want to do and how to make those two things happen. The local unemployment office is breathing down my neck, repeating these sentiments, along with a few family members and other outsiders looking in. At the same time, though, there’s so much possibility, even though I may not see it right now.
Things end, and new things begin. Confusion happens. Plans fall through. Sometimes we don’t want what we thought we did, or the timing isn’t right. Sometimes we don’t have immediate answers. Sometimes we need to take some time to just get quiet. These things are natural, and okay, I think, despite what some may say.
So, right now, I’m concentrating my efforts on making time and space to go back to the drawing board, on writing and photography (likely to help with the efforts at the drawing board), and on trying to avoid sinking into the darkest of my fears.
“Square one, my slate is clear…Took a long time to get back here.” – Tom Petty, “Square One”