"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Friday, July 2, 2010

Seeing Clearly


I have a new camera. My first. I took it on my Toby walk earlier this week, tucked in my back pocket, and felt like I'd entered a new dimension as I looked for things to shoot. I found myself thinking about the nature of seeing as first one thing  (sun-dappled blackberry blossoms), and then another (a cluster of three perfect mushrooms) presented themselves to my eye.

The old saw about finding what you look for holds so much truth. I wasn't looking for anything specific – did not expect to find a dragonfly resting on a stone, or the lizard trying to look like stone, or the shot of Toby with an impossibly huge stone mined from the riverbed. I was looking for surprises and beauty, which I found in abundance.

A good balance between light and dark is essential to a clear picture. Too much of either one can be blinding and make sight impossible. It can take a lifetime, perhaps longer, to learn how to find that balance.

 I spent a very long time trying to create life bathed in nothing but light, believing that to be the only way to compensate for earlier years that seemed to hold nothing but darkness.  What I'm only now beginning to understand is there was always some light present, even in the blackest of times. I might not have been able to claim or understand it, but it was there.

For me in childhood, light usually appeared in the form of dawn spilling rose over the Selkirks, a field of wild daisies mixed with fireweed, or the sight of a Killdeer offering her broken wing dance to lead me from a nearby nest. In adulthood the magic of light presents itself in much the same way: a rare day of full sun, a ghostly clump of Indian Pipe glowing at the side of the trail, and the nest of baby juncoes we're watching grow into whole birds.

And of course I learned it's impossible to eliminate darkness from anything, and in trying so hard to do so, I managed to miss the full experience of much of what light there already was in my life. What you focus on is what you see, even if it's your intention to eliminate the subject of your focus. And that picture becomes its own reality.

Which leads me full circle to the knowledge that I create the realities of my life. Not the events themselves necessarily, but certainly which aspects of those events I choose to focus on and capture as the most important to the essential truth of what's being offered. Light and dark are both true. The acceptance of that, real heart-deep acceptance, has the potential to change everything.

17 comments:

Piecefulafternoon said...

Simply profound!

Amber said...

"What you focus on is what you see, even if it's your intention to eliminate the subject of your focus."--

Boy, oh boy. Well said. I had a talk with my brother Eric the other day, and how he "deals" with his hurt over our mom and childhood...What you say is so true. All of this post is truth. I wish he could read it and soak in your wisdom. Oh well...I can soak it in.

:)

She Writes said...

Light and dark are both true. Hmmmm, right you are.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

Rojo's new adaptation of NEHBM is: Nothing could be more made than this! I agree!

Deb said...

I think you and I are a lot alike. I spent so many years only trying to live in the light, denying the dark. Now, it's about balance.

fullsoulahead.com said...

What a beautiful post. I too found so much "light" in nature as a child.

Balance yes. We're never "there" and done. It is a moment by moment thing.

Have fun with that camera! Your pictures are gorgeous!

Wanda said...

Oh, boy! A new camera. I am so looking forward to your transformation through its lens. Love these shots.

Kathryn Magendie said...

Beautiful . . . photograph and writing perspective and insight are so close together .... like the quote Amber as written ....yes.

Sometimes darkness can be comforting - I've learned that.

Jerri said...

Gorgeous, beginning to end. Photos. Text. You.

Pam said...

It makes so much sense when you explain it like this.Too much light, too much dark, the photo is unbalanced, nothing makes sense. The balance is the trick.Stark contrasts often provide for an interesting scenario. Strangely, it never occurred to me to look at life like this.So simple, so profound. (I think I've been going around with my lens cap on!x)

Terri Tiffany said...

I so agree with what you said. We don't often see the light that is around us in those dark times.
You are good with that camera BTW!

colbymarshall said...

Acceptance can change everything, because then you aren't fighting against something you can't fight against. That sounded "duh" when it came out, but it meant a lot to me :-)

PS the dog pic cracked me up!

Gammary said...

stunning...

patti said...

Wow! LOVED this truth, echoed in the Bible pages.

Thanks, Deb.
Patti

M said...

Your pictures are beautiful, as are your words...as always!

Love you
Mark

Kathryn Grace said...

I must echo Piecefulafternoon: Profound! So true: "A good balance between light and dark is essential to a clear picture. Too much of either one can be blinding and make sight impossible." Without darkness, there would be no depth, no rich shadow to demark and delineate. No cool shade. Darkness has a bad rap! Undeservedly so.

kario said...

Dang, I need to go walking with you and Toby!

You are marvelous. Simply marvelous.