It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the photography challenge. The land is dry and dusty. The sun’s rays have to filter through a haze. And flies. God, the flies are horrible already this summer. The worst we can remember, and that is saying something where the national salute is a person waving away the blow flies! And somehow, sleep eludes me on a regular basis at the moment.
I think it is the full moon.
You think I’m crazy. I understand.
Regardless, I am managing to get myself up at the usual time of 5.15., so that I have time to go through my stretches and have a glass of water before heading out for the morning walk.
Fortunately we are still getting relatively cool mornings, helping to keep me awake as I walk–although the word somnambulist does come to mind and worries me a little. I usually follow the path being lighted by the rising sun, because even nearly comatose, I am still a Light Chaser. On Monday I carefully picked my way through the dry, prickly scrub as I walked to the top of a small rocky outcrop. The sunlight was gentle, filtering through a scrim of cloud near the horizon. It never ceases to amaze me how stunningly beautiful the light can be, even on things I have seen and photographed over and over. It strikes me as a little miracle and lifts my spirits like the best chocolate cake!
A few days ago, I nearly freaked myself right out of being able to continue. You know how we sabotage ourselves sometimes, unintentional though it may be? A good friend who is also an artist reminded me it is often when we are at our lowest point, or think we have nothing left to give, that we are about to make a breakthrough.
My best friend told me, “It is a marathon and you can see the end, you can do it”. I needed to hear that from her. She has run marathons. She knows. I also needed to see this at my feet a couple of mornings ago. Emerging from the earth, the Universe encouraging me with kisses.
And then, as books often do, one came into my life at the perfect time. It is called Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She understands the creative process and the work ethic that goes with it— the fear and the self talk, all of it. She understands. Her words nudged me forward…stay in the moment—stay open to all the little clues and magic coming your way—do the work.
‘The work’ is getting up and out every single day, opening myself to seeing the light and the photo, capture it, edit it and post it. And on a day when I am somehow upright after only a few hours sleep, and I think perhaps I’ve used up all my little miracles from the Universe, there is this. Parigi. (Pair-ee-gee) Parigi is Italian for Paris, and that is this lovely little guy’s name. The lady who walks him in this pram each day told me, his owners didn’t want him any more because he was old and too much for them to look after. So she adopted him. He is ‘really old’ she said, but wasn’t quite sure how old. It is too much for him to walk, so she puts him in the stroller and walks him, occasionally removing him from the conveyance so that he can attend to his ablutions, and feel the grass under his feet. You can see the water bottle in the top, and underneath the blanket is an ice pad that she freezes and puts in the pram in the heat of summer, so he can stay cool. I think she is cool. What a kind person.
And before the walk finished on that very tired morning, I was lured by a heady aroma that could only be a ‘rain tree’. I looked to my side, and sure enough, there it was in full blossom. Trust me, it is the closest thing to rain we have seen in many months. The honey bees were loving it, and I think maybe they were a little bit tipsy, or maybe that was me in a sleepy stupor…The bees were flying right up in front of the iPhone anxious for long drinks from the centre of the flowers.
And then this…another of one of my favourite subjects, the feather catcher.
I am living proof, you can do things even when, at times, you wonder how.
Day 300 is passed. I am taking nothing for granted. But I can see the light at the end and I am focusing on that. Always the light. I can promise you, on day 366, I will miss it, but I will take a well deserved reprieve from the self-imposed pressure. And I can also promise you there is a nap in my immediate future.