Tag: Waiting

The Small Things

I love shooting pictures with a 50mm lens because it makes you have to work within the limitations of the frame. 

These limitations make me focus on the small things. When you do this enough, it permeates your everyday life; you start to notice little intricacies and details you would not have otherwise. You realize that there is so much more to see and experience than you ever could have imagined. 

What joy it brings.

DSC_1256.jpg

Notes on Utah: Isolation on an Alien World

The alien landscape of southern Utah is unlike anything I had seen before.

If the familiar sky wasn’t overhead, the arches and canyons rising out of the red sand would be otherworldly.

Closing my eyes in the shadows, I listened and heard a silence unlike anything I had ever experienced.

The stark emptiness of my perception made me uncomfortable.

IMG_0852

Alone in forests and mountains, I had experienced silence before. But not like this. In those moments I was surrounded by something, and even through silence, I could hear that something.

Nothing surrounded me here– just a cold, alien, landscape. 

Within my body, I felt the isolation this land had formed in as I continued along the path.

I was alone here.

Climbing up a final stone slab, I was greeted by an arch giving me a window into the blue sky above. Through its window I saw a lone plane climbing into the sky.

A distant reminder of where I came from.

IMG_0035

Still, all I could hear was silence.

There are not many times in my life I had felt so alone, and in this moment, even with the plane in sight, I felt it more than ever.

But despite the isolation, I suddenly felt at peace.

The red of arches of this landscape were formed by ancient water and wind eroding the rock.

We are formed by the burden of the day-to-day wearing on us, the constant feeling of never being left to oneself, always having to conform to external forces.

In this moment I was truly by myself, and I resented my initial feeling of being made uncomfortable by the silence.

We need to be alone at times, but it always seems out of reach

I had it here, I just didn’t recognize it when I first heard it.

IMG_0858

 

Notes on Utah: Reflection on Water

 

Most people I met in Utah hated the Salt Lake.

It smells bad, it’s filled with brine shrimp, and it’s ugly.

A few months after arriving in Utah,  I got the chance to see the lake myself.

I pulled over to the side of the road and looked at the expanse.

The surface seemed like it had a reflective film placed over it. The mountains, deep blue sky, and wispy clouds were mirrored on the surface of the Lake.

IMG_0075 (1) 2

Approaching the shore I looked down and saw myself in the water. It’s not ugly, I thought— It’s just a reflection. 

The landscape nestled and cradled the Lake, and the Lake reciprocated the beauty.

But consider the Lake itself.

With no mountains and a colorless sky above, the Lake would be empty, devoid of life.

I drove further up the road until I got to a place with no landscape. From here, the lake was nothing.

Not Ugly.

It was just nothing. 

Months later I was walking through the Temple Square and stopped in my tracks. There was a pool with perfectly translucent water. On the surface you could see the sky and buildings above.

DSC_0054

I was reminded of my experience at the Salt Lake.

The shallow pool that held the water was nothing but black stone.  The water captured the fleeting picture of the city and held its beauty, just as the city held it.

But by itself the pool was nothing. 

No matter what surrounds it, the water holds it in. The beautiful, the ugly, and the nothing.

I am not too different than this. My surroundings, the landscape around me, who is around me, is all captured and reflected by myself.

I also know that I change, just as the seasons change the landscape.

The reflection shifts, only holding onto what cradles it.

Maybe my sentiment is what is hinted at by Emerson:

“To the attentive eye, each moment of the year has its own beauty, and in the same field, it beholds, every hour, a picture which was never seen before, and which shall never be seen again. The heavens change every moment, and reflect their glory or gloom on the plains beneath.

              -Emerson “Nature”

 

 

Notes on Utah: Stillness and Waiting

“Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson “Language”

At the beginning of Summer, the Uinta mountains are still capped in snow.

Winding forested roads brought me closer to the summit. I walked along the rocky bank of a river that seems to flow into the sky.

Soon I came to small waterfall that raged against the surrounding nature, bringing trees and rocks downstream.

As the snow of winter continued to melt, the water moved more quickly and violently— taking whatever stood in it’s way with it.

DSC_0405.jpg

The movement brought color and allowed nature to flourish.

Everything here contained so much life.

After ascending the summit, a valley with an expansive lake waited.

The lake was frozen, pocked with small holes that had thawed, giving a glimpse of the lake bed.

The stillness just waited.

Rounding the shore of the lake, there was a small bench. Sitting there I became complicit in the stillness.

Everything here was lifeless, just waiting.

Waiting for what? 

A curved tree is beginning to uproot from a small mound of soil rising from the lake.

Teetering precariously, just waiting.

Waiting for what?

No birds are singing, no one is around. The land is waiting.

DSC_0439

In a few months the ice will thaw and movement will return.

The trees and water of the lake are waiting, they are poised to accept the return.

The river will dry up as the winter thaws. The stillness will go there and wait.

Nature is a reflection of our mind. We understand nature because it represents our own structures of meaning.

We see a flower bloom and wilt. We see the sun rise and set. We see stillness leave and return.

We can comprehend this because we know about beginnings and ends from our own sense of mortality.

The river and the lake will soon change places.

The stillness of life is always punctuated by an outflow of movement.

Until those moments occur we wait.