Monday, November 19, 2012

Living in the Moment


Yesterday I drove by a row of trees with brilliant orange-yellow leaves at the corner of Market and 15th. I've driven by them a number of times during the past week, and each time, I think, "I should come back with my camera," and then I forget about the trees until the next time I pass by. When I drive by again, I lament that I haven't come back to photograph them. 

This weekend, as I drove by yet again, I recalled that for several years I drove by a dying pine tree by Beaver Lake in Asheville nearly morning in the fog and thought, "I should come back with my camera," and I never did. One day, I drove by after a violent storm and saw that the top 2/3 of the tree had broken off. I felt heart broken. Clearly, the opportunity to create the image that I had always intended to go back to had vanished.

Of course, I photographed the fallen tree, but instead of creating the peaceful images of the tree that that I had previously imagined, each image of the broken tree evoked feelings of sadness in response to  lost opportunities. As I continued photographing, I was able to transform the images into a reminder to live in the moment and follow my creative impulses and heartfelt desires, even when it meant being exquisitely vulnerable.

Interesting that this week's reminders for living in the moment and following my creative impulses and heartfelt desires also came in the form of trees. I tried, in vain, to recreate the glimpse of the trees that I had in passing in my car. I walked down the middle of the street, across the street, and up and down the street attempting to recapture what had originally drawn me into this scene, but I could not find it. 

I paused and noticed that I was attempting to reach for something in the past that was already gone. I took a deep breath, relaxed, and walked around the scene to see what drew me in from the perspective of that moment. When I changed my mind's perspective to that of beginner's mind and living in the moment, my eye was easily drawn to a new visual perspective related to the scene. One click of the shutter from this new perspective, and I had created the same emotional tone that had originally drawn me to the trees. Happiness!

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