Saturday, 2 March 2013

before cameras there were only words

For the past week I've been up before dawn and out the door to catch a good view of the sea and sky.  My normal behaviour for walking is to practice mindfulness. Sometimes I stop to record a haiku that is swirling in my mind, but mostly I delight in the moment by just showing up. I have this theory, that if I can start my day this way, then I might have a better chance carrying this mindfulness throughout the day.

But yesterday was different. I took my camera with me. I set out to photograph what I've cherished so much about this week--to witness the rising of the sun over the North Sea and the moon setting over the western hills.  A quick turn of my head meant I could see and experience both of these morning moments at the same time.

Yet, having the camera with me change the way I walked, looked, and thought.  Instead of being fully present, I was desperately trying to capture how the beauty of dawn was making me feel.  And after taking photo after photo, I was feeling more disappointed with my ability to capture the moment with my camera. I just about convinced myself if only I had a new camera, a longer lens, a sturdier tripod, if only I could learn the art of photography, maybe even take a class, well, then I could capture this moment better.  I could capture it the way I really see it.  My frustration led to insecurity which led to disappointment which led me to question the way I was seeing.

By the time I turned on the path headed for home, I realized that before cameras, there were only words.  And sometimes even words can't capture what you feel inside. Sometimes capturing beauty calls for an admiring silence, a small act of stillness. Sometimes just showing up is enough.

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