He allowed himself to be swayed by his conviction that human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but that life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.
First of all, although men have a common destiny, each individual also has to work out his own personal salvation for himself in fear and trembling. We can help one another to find the meaning of life no doubt. But in the last analysis, the individual person is responsible for living his own life and for “finding himself.” If he persists in shifting his responsibility to somebody else, he fails to find out the meaning of his own existence. You cannot tell me who I am and I cannot tell you who you are. If you do not know your own identity, who is going to identify you?
~ Thomas Merton
We missed the supermoon on Wednesday night. Clouds, first in wisps and then in great thick sheets, slowly moved in throughout the day. By moonrise, we were under heavy cloud cover and rain moved in. A coastal low developed somewhere around off the coast (obviously, or why else call it a “coastal low?”) and the bulk of it twirled around us on Thursday, bringing lots of rain and wind. Because of the full moon, the high tide has been especially high. The wind has helped push the water higher. There were gale warnings issued. I’m not sure if those are still in effect or not. It’s still somewhat windy today, but bright, clear, and quite sunny. It’s also a bit chilly after a cold front moved through yesterday evening, bringing even more rain. Our cup runneth over with rain.
What’s the difference between a coastal low and a nor’easter? I looked it up and there doesn’t seem to be one, but maybe someone more knowledgeable about meteorology would know. They both bring lots of rain and wind (or snow and wind), and both originate off the east coast somewhere and spin their way up.
I have been taking a lot of walks lately, but I don’t carry the big camera with me most of the time. I’m not sure why other than I just don’t feel like it. It could be the weight of it, as well. It becomes somewhat burdensome around the neck after a while. I believe the reason the camera feels heavy and burdensome is because I’ve lost the desire to be out and about with it. Instead, I just want to be out and about in the moment, free of the desire to do anything other than be in the moment. If I take too long to think about that last sentence/thought, I get a little antsy, uncomfortable. I have been defining myself, in a sense, by my photography for, oh, at least the last decade or so. What am I without it? Who am I without it?
I have been pondering what it might be like to set aside the big camera for a year. Would my brain and eyes stop composing photographs, stop looking at the light and angles? Stop envisioning that best shot? Would I begin to see things in a different way? Or would I stop looking as closely and as mindfully as I do when I am carrying the camera (either physically or in my head)? Because, you see, even without the camera, I do tend to look at things as if I am viewing them through the lens of the camera.
I think the answer to that, based on current experience, is that I would stop looking as closely. I still snap photos when I’m on my walks, but I do so with my phone camera and without a lot of thought. I avoid close-ups because the phone camera doesn’t handle them well. (I can work with that weakness by editing and cropping, if I wish.) My phone is an older one and the camera not as good as some of those on the newer phones. Mine offers little in the way of control (exposure, depth of field, etc., are pretty much determined by the camera). Any tweaking has to be done via the editing process. Most of the time, I don’t bother. The images from my phone camera are a good practice is accepting things as they are rather than as I think I see them.
Thomas Merton wrote, “Art enables us to find ourselves and lose ourselves at the same time.” One of the things I love most about photography is that it has been a way, continues to be a way, of finding myself and losing myself. I find myself in the images. I am there, in the “voice” of the image, even when I’m not there. I lose myself in the moments, or the flow, of the process. In the looking, the “I” is lost. At the risk of sounding woo-woo or cliche, I am one with what I am photographing.
I don’t have any real plans to give up the big camera, not even for a year. It’s a thought exercise, for now. When the mood strikes again, I’ll start carrying it with me again. And then, probably, put it down for a while again.
I find it rather funny that after picking my word for the year — Listening — that I started leaving the camera behind when I go out on my walks. Maybe it isn’t funny or surprising at all. I am listening more. I am listening deeply. I may not know the language of the birds or the wind or the trees or any of nature, and I may never learn it, but I am listening to the many sounds and voices of nature and of humans. I am listening, for the most part, deeply and without expectations.
Perhaps the listening has deepened as a result of not seeing, or not obsessing on seeing, when I walk without the big camera.
The 11-week Art of Self Care yoga course I enrolled in came to an end last week. Maybe “end” isn’t exactly correct. I learned so much throughout the course that I am sure it will take months, if not longer, for me to process everything. The teachings, I suspect, will be changing and evolving with time and practice and experience. I hope to carry forward so much of what we learned, to continue the practices and experimentations, to dive deeper into the edgier stuff (the things that are uncomfortable but powerful).
So much of what I learned about can’t yet be put into words. Perhaps I’ll never be able to put it into words. One of the most important things, from the very beginning of the course, relates to connections, to speaking the good words, to relationships and maybe, to how we truly are all connected to each other in ways we don’t (won’t/can’t) see.
I reckon that’s enough from me and from the Wabi-Sabi Ranch. Thank you so much for stopping by today. I always appreciate your visits, your comments, and your thoughts. Let’s go out to the Point and see what nature has to offer in the way of a sunset today. Sunset is scheduled for 7:18 PM. Although the temperature has been in the lower 50’s today, it has also been windy (20-30 mph winds) and the water is cold (which means, the wind off the water will be cold). I’d suggest dressing in layers. That way, you can always take something off if it turns out to be warmer.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
(Quick note: All of the images in today’s post were taken with my phone camera.)
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,021) Blustery days that energize and invigorate. 1,022) The beautiful blue of the sky this morning. 1,023) The return of the “milky way” in the kitchen. (The morning sunlight, in the spring, bounces off the sconces on the pendulum lights and creates a star-like pattern on the ceiling. It’s a signal that spring has arrived.) 1,024) Trails to walk and hiking boots to protect my feet and ankles. 1,025) This body I’ve been given to experience this life I’ve been given.
A good read (especially in light of my last post asking, “What are we to do?”): The Religious Value of the Unknown