If you’ll bear with me, I’d like to experiment a little bit. Rather than write out the whole story that accompanies these photos (which is my habit), I’d like to try to let the images tell it on their own.
The barest background: this morning, I approached a bush (echinacea, I’m told?) because I found it beautiful and wanted to photograph it. (As quickly as possible. Mind you, it’s FREEZING here, and I have no gloves.) Next thing I know, I look down and . . .
Dude, just like Avatar!
Haven’t seen Avatar…do the aliens have an echinacea-based currency? ;)
So what I was thinking about in collecting these photos is the way that suffering (or dukkha) doesn’t always show up as some big misery or calamity. Often it’s the minor inconveniences that rub us wrong, that irritate us. Part of the problem is, we derive a lot of satisfaction from feeling irritated in these small ways. It feels kind of delicious, like worrying a scab. But as we grow accustomed to feeling put out by inconveniences, we lose our ability to remain calm and awake in the face of larger adversity. Huffing and snorting about waiting in line at the airport is very much connected to having a meltdown when we don’t get the job offer we wanted, or our partner confesses they’ve been sneaking around behind our back.
On the other hand, when we practice accepting the small inconveniences, just as they are, we open up this fabulous spaciousness. Not only a buffer that keeps us relaxed and unmolested mentally, but also a greater field of appreciation for the positive qualities of the obstruction itself. It took me a good ten or fifteen minutes of frostbite risk to pluck all those seed thingies out of my scarf. But they were just so beautiful, I didn’t really mind. I felt almost friendly toward the plant, like it had just gently pranked me. “Punk’d!: botanical reproductive strategies.”
So I don’t know if all that came through in the photos, ;) but…that’s what was on my mind. It was a fun experiment — glad you liked it, endy love.
oh, I love your images And your thoughts on that, Katie. They both tell different and simultaneously parallel stories. Thank you for this reminder —
Leora, I wish I could transplant you here with me for the week. Together we would make such good teatime and walks in the woods.
And I’d love to talk photography with you when I get back — I think it’s something I’ll be reading and learning about a lot this semester. It would be an honor to pick your brain and watch you work.
Miss you; can’t wait to see you!
Very nice blog. It has everything!
I enjoy this moment that you shared with us last night.
My dad and I used to have little battles with these prickly suckers on an embankment behind our old church in the winter time. This was years and years ago. We would go home with clumps of them stuck to our sweatshirts and hats. Fun times… your appreciation of the moment helped me to recall a long buried memory of my own. Thank you.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Jeff! Glad you’re diggin it. That story/memory about battling the stickers with your dad is so vivid and precious.
I also just want to say I love this passage from your “about” section on your website, or your artist statement:
I love the idea of letting go of the naming power we use to define ourselves, or what we do. Ultimately, we and our creations are simply and fully ourselves, always changing. What a simple and profoundly challenging idea. Thanks for the reminder, and for the invitation to see you as you are.
Love the gorgeous photos you took of campus.
Hope you got all those sticky seeds out.
Thanks, Laura. I love that I can actually hear your voice and your accent when I read your writing. :)
Feeling so glad to be teammates with you this semester.