knee deep in weeds

notes on a simple life

subtle reality

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place…
I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”
— Elliott Erwitt

The week is full of subtle signs of spring, often hidden under a dusting of snow. The bitter cold, especially when the sky is overcasts, chills me to the bone and I have to force myself outside. I bundle up, tuck a few treats in my pocket, slip my camera over my neck, and snap on the dog's leash. I confess I am doing it mostly for Basil's benefit, but in the end, I am never sorry.  He reminds me to be curious and open to what we might find. I take a few photos, seeking little bits light, but what I really feel is desperation. I see that I am desperate to come home with something worthy from the outing and lately I am often left disappointed. 

We head up to see the kids in Bellingham for a few days. The sun is out and I am drawn to the water one morning. Katie comes along and we walk the beach and explore the docks. I am again uninspired, fumbling with my camera settings and unsure of what I am looking for. I finally just flick the camera off and stop trying so hard. Instead I take time to really be with just her, as I rarely get her alone without my son (her husband), and is just what I need.

But my camera sits in its bag for most of the weekend. 

One day there is sunshine, and Basil and I escape the house to wander the yard. The sun actually feels warm and I stand and let it warm my face. I again have my camera in tow. And while the light draws me in, I am left a bit uninspired and again the photos I do take are really not what I think I see. 

“In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.”
— Alfred Stieglitz

I stew about all of this and wonder what is wrong. Have I lost my drive? But soon I see it all has to do with the process of creativity and the ebb and flow of life. I am antsy and impatient for winter to end and for spring to reveal herself for real. I also am left helpless as there is nothing, short of moving, that I can do to hurry this along. I seek beauty in the drab, overcast sky and I am disappointed when I upload my camera card, because it is the truth. I see that the end of winter is upon us, but winter is not done with us. I sit with what I have uploaded this week and search for something beyond the gloomy, dark days that so often embrace us this time of year. 

And I pout. 

But if I am quiet and stop looking so hard I find beauty within all my senses. I hear the birds and notice that the rhubarb is coming up through the cold dirt. I smell the neighbors fresh cut grass as it mixes with the wood smoke coming from their chimney. I see the muted colors of the bay and the tiniest shaft of light among my surroundings and I remind myself to breathe. To take pause, relax my shoulders and just be silent, for this moment is such a gift. 

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
— Ansel Adams

how was your week?