“Pass it forwards,” Dave mumbled and his kind blue eyes beamed with surprise and delight as his mustache twitched. I felt small as he hugged me and his hug felt secure, trusting and kind.
…..Today, I went to the garden with a lot on my mind and the hope that being there would help me to soften. I had no expectations of what I might see or what I might encounter, all I had was a beginner’s mind in one hand and my camera in the other. Light rain fell and I found a spot and sat in the damp, sweet smelling earth and started to gaze about. The light was more like a Denver day than a Hesperus day – humid and a bit hazy with no contrast, no shadows no secret pools of light to catch the eye. Most of the Iris were dead and of the color that remained nothing spoke to me and within the shadowless light the remains of the Iris melded into washes of brown and green with splashes of blue, magenta and the translucent whites of a flower’s final gesture of dignity or silliness that a flower might pose. I sat.
Nothing was appearing to me. My eyes refused to see and my mind started playing the story that “there isn’t anything here to see” game, which is the expert’s attitude and not that of a child and I knew that was crazy and immediately dropped it like a stone; but then in its absence, my mind wondered over to visit my neighbor and lingered there for a few minutes as future outcomes floated by. And after a bit, I could let it go…..not clinging…not resisting….letting it fade. Laying that burden down gently until I was ready to turn my attention to the field again; “and I thought to look for gesture rather than color,” and “texture rather than shape and how the muted light weaves things closer and tighter together and how I might use that effect graphically.” I began to play.
A key of photography at my age is finding a position my body can maintain long enough to do what I need to do to nail the exposure, arrange the elements, find a balance create a dynamic and not cramp up so bad I scream in pain. It helps, greatly and is a component of gratitude to create an image that intrigues AND be able to get up off the ground. I say this a lot – I know – and it can’t be said enough.
I got up (thank God) and wondered back to the car where I had a cold soda and where I saw Dave’s impossibly tall head of beautiful white hair floating over the hedge. Dave is the owner of Blue Lake Ranch which is and has been my garden refuge since we moved here some 10 yrs back. Blue Lake is where Dawa lives and where my soul most often wishes to go during the summer and the fall when the flowers grow when the flowers fade and when the flowers die. Forty years I’ve been doing this and I don’t know why and finally I’ve stopped asking, I just keep showing up, and waiting to see what happens and hoping to be mindful when it does. Today I was surprised and awoken Today I deepened a relationship, and Today I was reminded how a simple kind word or gesture can open and soften the heart and brighten the day, change a moment change the world….change what we see and what we know….”Dave, can I share something with you. When I came here I was hoping the flowers would soften me but they didn’t. But you did! Your kindness softened me….when you told me I was “like family.”
I drove away amazed actually both at my audacity and calm in sharing with him straight from my heart and rejoicing in his response of a gentle bear hug and big grin….of joy and kindness twinkling in his eyes….