Sunday, December 16, 2012

on a Sunday before Christmas, all through the house,

post #116
       a kind of a pall hangs over us.  Gray is the color of the day.  Outside there are real gray clouds, yet the chill that comes isn't from not having warmish weather but from what happened to young children in Connecticut. This light today is not interesting for photographing - though clouds often are -- but, oddly, it does gather us all in.  
      I am deeply sorry about these senseless killings.  I am equally deeply convinced that our culture of violence is part of this story.  At the very least, I don't understand what multiple rounds of ammunition have to do with the second amendment and the right to bear arms.  I never have understood.  I never will. 

     I had planned today to take a few of my photos and share the story behind each one --   where I was, what I saw, what worked, what didn't, what the problems are, why I like the image, etc.  For starters, I am sharing a single one, the image of the hornets nest that first appeared on the last post.  Here is the photo again.

        Next, for purposes of this discussion, I have somewhat cropped the image.  I do believe it looks better.  I rarely play with my images, however.  What you see is what I saw, as best as I can manage.

        Now here is where I was and what I was thinking:
        I was taking a walk in our woods, with camera in tow.   The small cemetery on our place was along the path I was on.  I took some photos there in evening light and eventually noticed the hornets nest high in a tree along the edge of cemetery.  I almost missed it.  I share this because I have found that invariably it takes time to see everything.  I have to slow down, knowing that otherwise I am capable of missing even the most obvious image.  It is like circling and considering something from many angles.  It requires a learned process called "paying attention." My work is to feel present in the place I find myself.
       A problem was that I did not have my tripod with me.  And it was getting dark.  So while this photo is sharp, it could be even sharper.  Also, the light of the setting sun at first gave too much contrast to the nest.  It didn't allow the texture of the nest to be shown as fully as I wanted it to be. 
      Another on-going consideration is the movement of air -- which usually becomes increasingly still at dusk.  This is what it did so this time.  I never would have gotten what clarity I did had the wind continued while the light faded.  The balance of light and movement is becomes the challenge.
       As I said last week, I was truly fascinated by these textures and the hard work it took to make them.  
      Finally the light was right, and then it was gone. Next I had to bring myself back to the practical because I needed to finish my walk before the path got totally dark.
       What I haven't done yet is to return to this spot another evening, probably with the tripod, and see what I could do.  The situation is sure to be different, and I would be writing differently about the experience.  I plan to do this, of course, and I will hope it provides something of interest to share on this blog.

       Writing these two accounts causes me to perceive a parallel.  I know that what happens resulting from the tragedy in Connecticut could be important.  I know it is possible to see the time is right for changing the course of how things are, especially if President Obama stays true to his intent.  We need to work with this reality before the possibility for change is gone.  We can't continue simply to hope the light shining now on us to honor these and so many other lives slaughtered won't be lost in darkness.  
      I ask myself again, how can we each be present in the places where we find ourselves. I also ask how can we work together and not feel alone in working for change.


  1. Thank you so much, dear friend. We need these words.

  2. Dear Ann
    a wonderful account of the gradual dimming of light towards darkness that is what we are all experiencing at this time of year, and especially given the latest horrors here, in Afghanistan, Congo, and elsewhere.

    Thanks for your good words about the process of stilling ourselves in order to see what is already around us. As for hope, it is always a struggle or a gift: usually both. Yes! magazine is one way to share steps on the way. . . and your blog another. Meg