It's been a while since I've seen "my" spider web: the one I nearly walked through in April, during my last escape to this house. The spider web I subsequently became mildly obsessed with photographing. It occurred to me that after this much time, it could be gone now. 'Course this thought was driven by the daily conditioning that comes from typically living in a much busier location. Nature, I've been noticing, has a fairly healthy "live and let live" attitude. (Except for times when it's necessary to "destroy" something for self-preservation, that is. Since we're talking about spider webs and all.)
Walking out the door this morning to finally go see if I might get another shot to add to my collection, I recalled Chris Laney's suggestion that I get up early and capture the good morning light. It was about 8:30am, which was pretty magnificent for me, but this is a man from whom I commonly receive 5:30am emails so I'm pretty sure his version of early morning light had already passed me by. (For the record, I went to bed at 3am, so I was feeling pretty proud of myself as I noticed the dewey grass tickling my flip flop-clad feet.) He had another really cool suggestion, too: mist the web with a spray water bottle so that the added droplets would catch the light in that extra special way. Last week I noticed, however, that the guy who cut the grass for me last time, didn't venture quite as far as his predecessor and since my hiking boots are in storage and the grasses and weeds under The Spider Web Tree, are high enough to obscure all manner of unwanted things conjured by my excess-prone imagination, I didn't carry a spray bottle with me this time.
But that morning light suggestion? Golden! The shot above is much better than any from before.
"Getting handy photographic tips" didn't cross my mind as a benefit of collaborating with Chris, when we first met to start work on his website, Lessons From the Cockpit, but I've added that to the list now. It is so important to the creative process to remain tapped into the thinking and experiences of other creative people.
Back here a half hour later writing this piece, it hit to me vividly - mid-thought - that I was making more excuses than I could live with. Overgrown weeds, hiking boots a state away, self-imposed sleep deprivation. What is this??? It seems I've meandered far too close into Point And Shoot Territory. True enough, the minds of people with ADD are naturally wired to offer up a steady stream of Brilliant Ideas just screaming to capture my attention Right This Very Minute. But there's value in planning, too. We have to work for the good shots - just like we have to work for what's good in other areas of life, too - they aren't guaranteed to just fall into our laps.
I Do Not Want to Live a Point & Shoot Life.
So, two hours after I shuffled outside in my flip flops to see if I couldn't quickly find the spider web from April, I pulled out my New Balance trainers (fairly well ruined from that hike to see caves, anyway,) and went back out to traipse around in the tall grasses with a spray bottle of water hooked into the pocket of my favorite holey jeans, and picked up where I'd left off.
Two things happened:
- Regardless of the water with which I sprayed the web, I could barely see the outline of my spider web in the 10:30am light. And,
- My disappointment morphed into an opportunity to get up close and personal with the evolution of "my" blackberry bushes. Annoyance at myself for not doing it right the first time, and the emerging hint of revelation that I owe myself some rose-smelling today, I lowered my Nikon D-70, letting it hang from the strap around my neck, and stood there in the quickly-warming air. And I inhaled really, really deeply for the first time in days.
Then I had myself a few wee revelations:
- It doesn't matter whether I'm in the middle of my typical semi-metropolitan rhythms, or gifting myself with an intermittent week of outside interruption-free work in a house where I spent my childhood summer vacations, the core lessons of life still have to be learned, and whereever you find yourself, need and opportunities for learning those lessons will hunt you down.
- Balance is everything. After a week that brought unplanned-for computer-related delays, I sat in this chair for the entire day yesterday. In a house surrounded by more natural beauty than I see in an average month. While it's true I've come here for some distraction-free work-intensive sessions, this extreme "all or nothing" business is not healthy.
Even if I give myself 15 minute breaks throughout the day to just walk around breathing deeply (when it's not pouring rain, that is,) sitting for long stretches is just bad for my body. Period.
- If you bother to look closely, instead of from a kitchen window, you'll discover that there is a very beautiful process that occurs between the "bushes full of blossoms" stage and "buckets filled with berries. And I almost missed it.
I'm leaving here tomorrow for a week or so, then I plan to return again. Between now
and then, I'll have the luxury of several hours of drivin' and thinkin' time to see if I can't get it right next time. Of course I'm self-aware enough to know that just like everything else, lessons like this aren't learned (or rather re-learned) through the presence of little flashes of realization, but rather through the dedication to regular practice.
Maybe writing it down publicly, though, can help re-plant this awareness in my brain. Either way, it's been a really nice morning. And now? Better get back to working on the design of this next website!