Trying Too Hard

Sometimes I truly get tired of my own thoughts. I get sick of all that stuff clanging around in my brain. I need to run away to the mountains, and let them quiet the noise. But now I’ve made myself so frantic trying to do everything that I’ve set before me, I can’t find a day to run away and play. There are times when introspection is overrated and gets really old.

An image came to me while I was driving today. I was chasing a rodent of some kind, probably a rat, because I can’t stand rats. Rodents don’t just run, they dart, zig-zagging in crazy patterns, this way and that. That’s what I feel like I’m doing lately. I’m chasing life, afraid its going to get away from me, afraid that one day I’m going to wake up and it will be over and I won’t have done with this life what I came here to do. That is not a happy thought, and yet I don’t know how to do it differently. I was taught that if you wanted something you had to work hard for it. But it doesn’t do any good to work hard and never have time to enjoy what’s right in front of me. Today, I felt like I did nothing, yet I could tick off a list of about 20 things that I did do, one of which was to go buy a couple of new books which I want to sit down and read because I simply refuse to spend my life chasing life. So once again, I’m resolving to stop moving so fast and to start having more fun doing what I’m doing instead of looking to some future moment to have fun. This is a very tricky thing and slippery… it seems to get away from me every time like that damn rodent, and once again I find myself on one of those spinning wheels that my sister had in her gerbil’s cage when we were young.

Writing this, a familiar poem came to mind:

Love after Love

The time will come

When, with elation,

You will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

And each will smile at the other’s welcome,

And say, sit here, Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

To itself, to the stranger who has loved you

All your life, whom you ignored

For another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

The photographs, the desperate notes,

Peel your image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

~ Derek Walcott

I can’t actually figure out why I’m writing all of this because its seems ridiculous to think that anyone would want to read it, except for one thing, its just the way things go in real life. Sometimes, all of the notes are a little off key. Even the photographs I shot today were off. I had to go to the bank, so I walked and took the dogs and my camera. It felt like I’d walked that route too many times for it to be interesting. My vision was just not happening. Then it started to rain and I had to tuck my camera under my sweatshirt. I decided that I needed to look at things differently, so I started looking for patterns, just graphic elements…  but the light wasn’t interesting and the shadows weren’t happening. rows of columns were in the shade and basically everything seemed flat. I finally spotted a row of dead looking trees and tried to get as many of their trunks into the frame as possible, making an uncomfortable image of pattern with dead leaves softening the edge of the frame and new green growth sprouting in odd places in the background. Hardly a masterpiece:

Looking for Patterns

But I knew that the only way out of my funk was to keep shooting, like in basketball…

I shot a few more frames along the way, an immature bald eagle, just a little too far away, some glowing moss hanging in a tree that doesn’t seem to glow in quite the same way as it did in real life, and a shot of the dogs that didn’t work. Ugh! When I stopped at Gillian’s school for the Friday afternoon ski bus gear drop, I took a few of those pose-y shots that junior high girls seem to excel at. There were also a couple that were really weird. I surprised my daughter in this next one as she was about to photograph her friends. They saw me and started laughing. She turned and gave me this look.. When I looked at the image in my LCD, I knew it was a winner… not necessarily photographically speaking, but its definitely memorable for the story.

What the ______ ?

Sometimes, no matter how hard I try, I just can’t find the inspiration to make a normal day into something special and its equally hard to find something to photograph that elevates the moment to memorable.  This evening, I took my son to buy new jeans. The camera stayed home. It needs to rest. Tomorrow is another new day.

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