“In wisdom gathered over time I have found that every experience is a form of exploration.”
I love light. As a photographer, I find I often see and measure the world though its varying degrees of light and shadow and so am often paused, momentarily distracted, awestruck by the seemingly smallest things. Some might say I am easily amused, but if one is to find beauty everywhere, then one must seek it everwhere, no?
In my world, pending storms bring not only the excitement of the electrical currents in the very air itself, but also create a teasing cacophony of light. As the calm before the storm begins to give way to the winds that bring the rains, darkness alternates with streaking bits of sunshine, casting rays that illuminate, muse-like and singularly, for the briefest of moments. If one is aware and if one watches carefully, natural spotlights appear and bring the eye to the bits of beauty with which we are always surrounded.
One of my favorite views is of a Rose of Sharon that grows outside our dining room window. From my current vantage point at the table only a long, slender branch or two is always visible and as the seasons pass I watch them change. From summer’s lush blooms and big, softly-jagged leaves to winter’s stark, thin, bare branches tipped with the dried sepals that once tenderly protected the blossoms left to force the question of whether or not it will ever bloom again, this particular bush serves as a touchstone for the most simple yet profound kind of beauty.
On this spring day, the branch has just pushed forth this year’s leaves, and they are small and pointed; rather like thorns but their pastel brightness, spot on the middle between yellow and green, gives away their tenderness. The sepals at the tip of the branch are the palest, most perfect of browns; tan, I suppose some might call it, but with the wan sunlight coming through the storm clouds to backlight them, there is a richness to the tonal colors such a simple word as “tan” fails to capture. Indeed, as the wan spotlight increases in intensity for a few moments, the whole branch becomes a thing sentient and almost otherworldly, the angle of the light causing it to glow against the shadowed background mixture of rough, dark, reddish and beige bricks that clad the house next door. Then, as I continue to watch, the caressing breeze suddenly switches gears and becomes a brisk wind, sending flower petals flying from a nearby tree to swirl past the now-waving, bending branch in a veritable squall of big, pale-pink snowflakes gleaming in the sunlight.
It is all at once so utterly mundane yet so utterly beautiful, all I can think is…magic! There is no hand of Man which can capture this picture; and try as I might, again and again and again, even photographs can only provide but a poor, mean glimpse of a ghost of the mighty forces, the enormous life contained in such a small scene. So more often than not, I choose to simply look. To see. To allow Nature to wash my very soul with her unerring truth that all is exactly as it should be at any given moment in time.
And life is good.