I’m Really Not Going?

Making a Statement - the rooster at Clean Greens farm showing off his plumage

Bear with me for a moment… As I sit here typing this instead of cleaning up the mess in the other room and downstairs, it is approximately 4:30pm in Lodi, Italy. A week ago, I had my daughter’s bedroom floor covered with my packing mess. Its still there.

This morning I couldn’t help saying, “a week ago, I thought I’d be on my way to my friend’s home in the countryside outside Milan to have dinner and spend the night tonight, and instead I get to clean my house. That’s a lousy trade.” My daughter informed me that if I spend my time thinking about what I thought I’d be doing every day instead of what I am doing, its just going to bum me out. She’s right, and, to a certain extent, I can’t help it. I spent six months gearing up and planning for this adventure. Continue reading

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Two Different Lenses

Friday Afternoon

After dragging my camera all over town with me today, it wasn’t until late this afternoon on my way home from a long list of errands that I found anything that inspired me. The warmth of real spring sunshine was distracting and I just wanted to wander aimlessly. I wasn’t really interested in finding the “great shot” for the blog.

After yesterday’s photographic excitement of the Aquarium with its coral and jellyfish, even the Arboretum, in the full glory of spring’s blossoming trees, wasn’t doing it. I love the Arboretum. Its a comfortable, familiar place. I loved walking through with my camera this afternoon, but its like being in the mountains, the photos never seem to quite capture the magnificence of the scene. Continue reading

St. Paddy’s Day

Camellia

Today’s title really has nothing to do with the writing, its just that I’m a good Irish girl and its St. Patrick’s day. I thought all along, while I was writing tonight, that something of that would show up, but it didn’t, so I’m taking the liberty of honoring my heritage in the title, with almost no reference to it beyond that point. I didn’t even photograph the lamb and potatoes I made for dinner. (My kids don’t like Corned Beef.)

Instead of coming home from taking my charming 13 year old to school this morning and sitting down with my morning pages, I sat down with my camera. 13 year old girls can be merciless at times, and I simply didn’t feel like rehashing the details of the morning and previous evening in words. Better just to let it slide away while slicing open flower buds and seed pods with a razor. Continue reading

Empty Nest

The Empty Nest

I’ve been looking at this bird’s nest out my kitchen window all winter, and keep thinking that I’d like to find an angle at which to photograph it. I’m not sure why… its just an ordinary bird’s nest. Its from last year, but I didn’t know it was there until after the leaves blew off the tree last fall. I remember when I first noticed it. The leaves still clung to the red twigs and bi-colored branches. They were gold. I made a pair of earrings one day that captured the colors in that window pane. Continue reading

Another Fresh Start

A beautiful way to start the day

that just got better

Yesterday evening, I got a phone call from my bank telling me that someone had tried to use my driver’s license to cash a check at another branch. The drive-through teller got wise and confiscated the license and check they were trying to cash. I retrieved my driver’s license, and now have it in hand, along with a pile of new account paperwork.  Its a very uncomfortable feeling to have someone out there running around pretending to be me.

This morning I awakened to the most incredible light.  Once again, I grabbed my camera and jumped out the window.  I love the morning light over the Cascades. When I can see the mountains and a clear sky, the day begins on an “up” note. Such was the case today. I still had a lot of hassle ahead of me.  I still felt slightly disoriented, but the deep sadness was gone and has stayed away.

Tonight I am trying hard to figure out what I need to throw into a suitcase so that I can get on a plane tomorrow, and go visit my big girl in southern California, where it is pouring rain and 50 degrees.  I get to see her in her world, meet her friends and watch her swim.  Its a funny thing… I’ve been watching swim meets since she was seven, and all of a sudden she went off to college, and I don’t go to swim meets any more.  This weekend, I get to sit by the side of a pool again and watch that familiar ritual that was a regular occurrence for the last 12 years.  She stands behind the block, completely focused, shakes out arms and legs, bends down, dips her goggles in the water and finally puts them on.  Then she’s on. Nothing exists but the race she is already swimming in her mind… It will be fun to see that again.  And to hang out, eat together, explore the village, and just be.

I’m out of time for writing now.  Let’s see how I do updating this from her laptop!

Recommitting

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. — Joseph Campbell

These words, read first thing this morning, couldn’t have been more welcome. It took a long time to gain the courage to say that I wanted to be a photographer and a writer.  I felt like I had finally claimed that for my future until last night. This morning, while sorting through the sadness that seemed to have overtaken me, I hit up against the source.  In losing my little camera yesterday, I felt like that claim was being challenged.  I once again doubted that I had the right or the talent to believe that I could have that life.  What became clear is that I had not silenced those voices that I thought I’d banished.  “What makes you think you can make any money doing that?”  “Why do you think you are good enough?” ” Its a tough market and getting tougher all the time.” And then there are the blank stares and silences when I tell people. But I was following my bliss. I have done good and powerful work and I know that I am on the trail of doing what I was intended to do… But because it was a camera, a tool of the trade, I found myself wondering if I was supposed to be getting a message about my choice. I knew that was irrational, but I couldn’t do anything about the doubts that plagued me. It was not about the wallet, the hassle of canceling and replacing the cards, or the glasses, or my purse itself. These I could let go. On my way home from ordering new checks and making sure that all the i’s were dotted and the t’s were crossed at the bank, I called a filmmaker friend and shared my fear with her.  She made me promise that I would not put any more energy into those thoughts and I listened. The feelings, however,  lingered, and for the most part I spent my day tired and sad. I went about dealing with the insurance and police, and trying to keep an eye on Craig’s list, hoping that my camera might show up. It still hasn’t, but in squaring off and facing my doubts and fears head on, I resolved that I still want to do what I wanted to do yesterday. I still want to share the images that lie behind my words, and those that I capture with my lens. I still want to tell the stories of what it is to be a human being in this beautiful and amazing world that we inhabit.  I know that my vision of what that means is unique and that I have a gift for sharing that vision. They can steal my camera, but they cannot steal the images that it only captured, nor those that are out there waiting for me to pick up my camera and discover them.

A poem called “The Truelove” found its way into my troubled thoughts at some point during the day.  The reference, I heard the poet say, is not to a lover, or even a person, but to the life we are called to live.  It is the life of our dreams…

The Truelove

There is a faith in loving fiercely

the one who is rightfully yours,

especially if you have

waited years and especially

if part of you never believed

you could deserve this

loved and beckoning hand

held out to you this way.

I am thinking of faith now

and the testaments of loneliness

and what we feel we are

worthy of in this world.

Years ago in the Hebrides

I remember an old man

who walked every morning

on the grey stones

to the shore of the baying seals,

who would press his hat

to his chest in the blustering

salt wind and say his prayer

to the turbulent Jesus

hidden in the water,

and I think of the story

of the storm and everyone

waking and seeing

the distant,

yet familiar figure,

far across the water

calling to them,

and how we are all

preparing for that

abrupt waking,

and that calling,

and that moment

we have to say yes,

except, it will

not come so grandly,

so Biblically,

but more subtly

and intimately, in the face

of the one you know

you have to love.

So that when

we finally step out of the boat

toward them, we find

everything holds

us, and everything confirms

our courage, and if you wanted

to drown you could,

but you don’t,

because finally

after all this struggle

and all these years,

you don’t want to any more,

you’ve simply had enough

of drowning,

and you want to live and you

want to love and you will

walk across any territory

and any darkness,

however fluid and however

dangerous, to take the

one hand you know

belongs in yours.

~ David Whyte ~

(From: The House of Belonging.  Also: River Flow.  Please note that I cannot figure out how to get this formatted correctly.  This poem is actually divided into stanzas.)

I don’t really have a photograph that goes with today’s writing. For most of the day, I didn’t actually have much heart for shooting.  Coming home this evening, I found my son trying to decide between Advil and Tylenol, or possibly a combination of the two. The orthodontist was not high on his list of favorite people.  I recovered my spirits somewhat as I made his favorite go-to comfort food. Sherlock was thinking it might be his favorite too:

Sherlock “eyeing” dinner

I suppose Sherlock might say that for a moment, he thought that he too might be living the life of his dreams…

Just write about it

When there seems to be nothing else to do, just write about it…

I took some great shots today.  Unfortunately, they are in my little camera which was in my purse, when it was stolen.  After spending a couple of carefree hours strolling around Fremont with my friend this afternoon, I took my camera, tripod strobe and extra lenses to Greenlake to work on my next little photo assignment.  I had my hands full so I stashed my purse under my coat in the car and didn’t worry about it.  It was, finally, a lovely afternoon on a holiday and there were hundreds of people walking, running and driving around. Probably naive and silly of me, but I knew I wouldn’t be long and tend not to be a worrier, so I didn’t imagine that someone might come along, smash my window, throw the stuff that was over my purse on the ground, and run off with it.  I guess we all have to learn that sometimes the world is not a very nice place the hard way.

So all I have to offer photographically are some stupid ducks:

Stupid Ducks

So now I’m going to light a candle and put it in my window for Haiti, like I did last night.  If anyone reads this and wants to join me, please do.  The people there are suffering in a way beyond the pale of my imagination, but I am feeling a wee bit sad tonight, so their plight seems more tragic today.  I am also very grateful that I am sad only because I have lost a few personal belongings.