An Occasional Pause of Wonder

California Redwoods

Cal­i­for­nia Red­woods

As I set off into the new year, I spend a fair amount of time look­ing at the past. I com­pare what tran­spired to the goals I set for myself and the stu­dio, and plan ahead for the year to come. This seems almost uni­ver­sal at this time of year, and I have been con­tem­plat­ing why. And, like so many things in my life, I have found under­stand­ing of it in my stu­dio, in the images I have tak­en, and in the expe­ri­ence of tak­ing them.

Kyle and I have spent a fair amount of time over the last cou­ple of years on paths, forest­ed hik­ing paths in the moun­tains, small trails along the bluff over­look­ing the ocean, an assort­ment of rails to trails for bik­ing. I am often sore­ly dis­ap­point­ed that I, for a vari­ety of rea­sons, can’t seem to cap­ture ade­quate images of the expe­ri­ence. First, when I find myself in a new envi­ron­ment, I study it and under­stand­ing doesn’t come right away. It is this under­stand­ing that gives me the abil­i­ty to cap­ture the mean­ing of a place. Sec­ond, I am attempt­ing to stay present and some­how, no mat­ter what cam­era it is that I bring to my eye, the act of tak­ing a pic­ture pulls me away from the moment.  And last, you can’t always see the for­est for the trees. (You saw that com­ing didn’t you?)

Isn’t that the way it is with our year? The plan­ning and antic­i­pa­tion of the hike ahead is a won­der­ful part of the expe­ri­ence. But while we are en route we are watch­ing our step, think­ing of the task at hand, per­haps push­ing our­selves a bit fur­ther than we think we can go, with only an occa­sion­al pause of won­der. And final­ly, when we have returned to the camp­site, and slowed our breath­ing as we look into the fire, we get some per­spec­tive, and only then can we see the sum of the parts and find under­stand­ing.


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