The sky is one whole, the water another; and between those two infinities the soul of man is in loneliness.
Loneliness is an interesting paradox that doesn’t always look like we imagine it would look when observing it from the outside.
It’s an all too common experience that isn’t alleviated by merely living with someone. Findings by neuroscientist John T Cacioppo in Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection indicate that long term loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking and obesity. Some of the side effects? Impairment of thinking, willpower, and perseverance which only serve to reinforce the feelings of rejection and isolation.
Not to be confused with solitude, something that I personally value as a time for reflection and recharging, loneliness can often feel worse when it occurs with-in a relationship.
The complexity of this subject begs for more exploration but until then, if you’re feeling lonely, please reach out to someone and let them know.
All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.
On a recent flight my seatmate was a woman slightly older than myself but as you do in close quarters, we began to chat. Summing up your life history in a few short sentences is somewhat freeing. Each time you share your story, even if it’s with someone you’re likely never to see again, it opens the door to healing scars that may not be visible from the outside.
Gazing out over the mountains below she spoke with regret of the place where she had gotten married, a place that I have been to on several occasions and each time have been seduced by its beauty.
You see it burned in the fall of 2017, 19,303 hectares in the park itself. She said it was now ugly, it would never be the same, and she likely would not return. I was surprised by that reaction, so at odds with my own. I shared some images with her that I had taken over the last two years but where I saw signs of strength and survival she saw only haunting scars.
She’s a breast cancer survivor and I couldn’t help but wonder what she feels about herself when she confronts a mirror. When I see scars, especially devastating ones, I always think of the strength that it must have taken to push beyond that and to survive.
Change is a good thing. It gives us the opportunity to create a new narrative and to perhaps do a better job when we tell the next story.
Nature is a mutable cloud which is always and never the same.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I remember as a child one of my favorite posters was of a cloud identification chart. It made such an impact that many years later I can still picture it in my mind.
Much like the ocean, the sky is like a huge canvas just waiting for the first brushstrokes to be laid and on this day there was something special planned!
These clouds are created in part by instability when wind is moving at different speeds in the upper and lower layers of a cloud resulting in a wave like appearance. They were named after physicists Lord Kelvin and Hermann von Helmholtz.
A special note that often appears in discussions about the rare and fleeting clouds is that they are believed to have inspired the cloud formations in Van Gogh’s Starry Night oil on canvas.
A reminder to take time every day to enjoy the beauty found in our natural world. These disappeared in a moment but for me, they will live on forever.
Learning and innovation go hand in hand. The arrogance of success is to think that what you did yesterday will be sufficient for tomorrow.
So many of my blog posts lately stem from some great conversations that start out having nothing to do with photography. Like this one about how we learn and how the ability to see ourselves or our artwork with any degree of objectivity molds our progress, dictates whether our work evolves or stays stagnant. Weighty stuff over a morning coffee perhaps but that’s exactly the kind of spark that ignites my creativity.
It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security when you have supportive friends and family “liking” and “commenting” on your latest work. For me that’s an essential part of a supportive journey and greatly appreciated, but it has little to do with reality. The reality part is my responsibility.
This time of year I really like to take a hard look at my body of work and see how it’s grown over the year or even better, decade or more. That gives me the information that I need to continue to grow, to see the nuances in my work, and to be a better artist.
Some images still hold the test of time and can be pulled into current work easily while others show the importance of being able to turn a critical eye on your own work. We all have them, those ones from years ago that make you wonder what you were thinking. It’s good to have those reminders that hopefully show you how far you’ve come.
And that’s why some people move forward and create better work, while others stay exactly where they are. That disconnect in the ability to recognize what you do know and more importantly what you don’t because it’s recognizing that that propels your work forward and keeps you from stagnating in a pool of murky pond water.
Because you know…it’s (almost always) about the water.