The clouds roll above and the sea below.
Many thanks to all of you for your kind wishes regarding my big news! It’s funny, not much is different, yet everything seems changed. There is before, and there is now. Or perhaps that isn’t accurate. It’s more like, past experience is now viewed through the lens of “I can’t wait to do this again with the kid.” This post’s title comes from Thoreau (see below) and it is so true – and has so much to do with photography, too.
Pidgeon Point Succulents, May 2011.
From Walden …
“We may imagine a time when, in the infancy of the human race, some enterprising mortal crept into a hollow in a rock for shelter. Every child begins the world again, to some extent, and loves to stay outdoors, even in wet and cold. It plays house, as well as horse, having an instinct for it. Who does not remember the interest with which, when young, he looked at shelving rocks, or any approach to a cave? It was the natural yearning of that portion, any portion of our most primitive ancestor which still survived in us. From the cave we have advanced to roofs of palm leaves, of bark and boughs, of linen woven and stretched, of grass and straw, of boards and shingles, of stones and tiles. At last, we know not what it is to live in the open air, and our lives are domestic in more senses than we think. From the hearth the field is a great distance. It would be well, perhaps, if we were to spend more of our days and nights without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies, if the poet did not speak so much from under a roof, or the saint dwell there so long. Birds do not sing in caves, nor do doves cherish their innocence in dovecots.
Davenport, May 2011.
From the hearth to the field more often.
We should all be so lucky to have the eyes of a child, to see things for the first time, every time. Maybe it would be a bewildering experience, but maybe it would also be a liberating one. How often do we miss a great photograph or, more importantly, miss a great primary visual experience, because we’ve “been there, done that”? I have a number of books sitting upon the shelf whose pages are filled with the photographs of Ansel Adams and Galen Rowell – two titans of photography who shied not from the aesthetic of the aesthetically pleasing. Throughout those volumes, the message is clear: a simple photograph of an unremarkable scene in remarkable light is worth making. It’s my hope that fatherhood helps me rediscover so many things I may have otherwise taken for granted. It’s my intent to recover my footsteps all over California and America with the brood; to spend more time with nothing between us and what Thoreau called the celestial bodies.
It would be an amazing gift to see with the eyes of a babe all those familiar corners of the world, but a greater gift would be to see it again with our own eyes (and camera!), as if for the first time.