A bit of grace again today with the weather. I tend to obsess on it, especially as we come out of damp and cold (okay, the cool this year) and long nights of winter.
My need to photograph the sunlight and the signs of spring are twofold. One, sunlight and nature make taking still-life portraits easier (perhaps a little too easy, and dangerously close to repetitive and boring). The other fold is a bit more personal.
For anyone who read my blog over a decent length of time, you can predict where I am going. For those who don’t know me at all, or that well, I’ll just lay the reason out there. For a very long time I suffered from some sort of depression and anxiety, especially in the late winter months. By about February my world starts to feel like the image above, all ghostly, distorted and just generally out of focus. I start not wanting to move.
Over time what I have found that works for me is a plan and course of action. Often times that involves certain group activities, volunteering, and committing myself to new challenges. In past Januarys I set goals to plan trips to geek out on trips to San Diego in July, quit smoking, lose weight, run a marathon, and now take photographs every day for a year. I’ve been on committees and boards and made a year-long volunteer commitment with the Ronald McDonald House. I’ve painted the town twice. Right now I am mentoring a young man in foster care.
These outlets and goals pull me out of the quagmire of ugly emotions. They present their own challenges and heartaches for sure sometimes, but also present a perceptive shift toward the light from dark, quicksand emotions.
Sometimes the hardest part of these activities is getting started. For example, my legs moved over the past month, but my ass did drag trying to get out there and running. Once I start though this small light that ignites somewhere inside.
My world then, like these images at sunset tonight, ignites with hope and awe instead of self-pity, anxiety and loathing.
When I am engaged I can sit in an abandoned lot in Newport and watch the sun go down while taking pictures with my camera and be fully at peace with a world I don’t always feel completely comfortable in if I sit at home keeping everything locked outside my door. A whole head full of I cannots becomes Yes I cans as I run six miles. My world becomes lighter as I try to give to make someone else’s better in some small way.
For some this sounds simple. Simple to grasp, perhaps simple-minded and too self-absorbed. All perhaps true.
For me, what I share is what works and propels me forward. Never quite satisfied. Always seeking new challenges and experiences.
Well, that along with being able to write it all down and try to work some of it out and share for anyone who might understand or need to hear it.
Of course, sometimes something as simple as a Heath DQ Blizzard is enough to see me through too (another great thing about spring approaching, the little DQ stand right down the street from where I live opened for the warmer seasons this week :)