The Buddha (allegedly) said: “If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly, our whole life would change.” I figured yes, I’d like my whole life to change, so I took a few photos to study at home since it was already almost 80 degrees at dawn this morning.
Not only could I not see the miracle of the flower but was disappointed that after getting up early, waiting for the right light and using a tripod my photos were not the way I wanted them to be.
Charlotte Joko Beck, author of one of my favorite books Everyday Zen: Love and Work wrote: “If we can accept things just the way they are, we’re not going to be greatly upset by anything.” I’m pretty sure that doesn’t apply to photography but it’s probably better than driving myself crazy.
I went down to the railroad this morning to try to get an image that was different than just a train. Even these beautiful old engines blowing steam out in a huge cloud is less exciting the more you see and photograph it.
I missed the blowouts anyway so I was talking to this man who was working with oil and grease and what impressed me was that his clothes were as clean as in a Tide commercial. All I could think of was that he probably embraces clean living unlike the characters in the cult classic Trainspotting.
As one of the junkies in the movie said: “We start off with high hopes, then we bottle it. We realise that we’re all going to die, without really finding out the big answers. Basically, we live a short disappointing life; and then we die. We fill up our lives with shite, things like careers and relationships to delude ourselves that it isn’t all totally pointless.”
If only they did less heroin and ate more vegetables their attitudes would probably be completely different. Or not.
I wasted almost a half hour driving around to find the N.Y. Times early this morning. As usual the cashier asked: “Is this newspaper really six dollars?” (If I go to NYC its only $5 but I have things to do). Despite the forecast of a mostly cloudy day with heavy rain this afternoon it was beautiful.
I had my camera with me and was deciding whether to photograph the baby camels that live on a local farm or a flower garden in front of a restaurant a mile away. I had a feeling the camels would either be covered with flies or out in the middle of the field but I went anyway. I was right about both so I decided I’ve got to get myself back to the garden.
I knew there were some Clematis still in good shape and some red Lilies but as soon as I walked up the path I saw it-the first sunflower of the season and it was beautiful. By this time the perfect light was gone but I took a few shots anyway, and then waited to see if the sun would come back out. It didn’t.
I know from experience that you really need great light to get the color right on a sunflower but that may not happen again until Tuesday and then there is always the wind to deal with. I told myself that nothing is perfect but my self just laughed.
Legendary photographer Jay Maisel once said: “There is no bad light. There is spectacular light and difficult light. It’s up to you to use the light you have.”
Legendary Buddhist teacher Shunryu Suzuki once said: “Nothing we see or hear is perfect. But right there in the imperfection is perfect reality.”
Legendary God of dreams Morpheus once said: “You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Unfortunately I’m all out of blue pills, but I do have the Sunday papers and my bed looks like a great place to spend a rainy Sunday. As for the news, they wouldn’t print it if it wasn’t true.
The famous little engine that could, inspiring millions of other little engines is known for saying: “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. I know I can.” But in this case, even with the Herculean effort of the pit crew his brakes could not be fixed and the little engine went home to practice his positive affirmations.
So basically, take it easy, take it easy, don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy. Lighten up while you still can, don’t even try to understand. Just find a place to make your stand and take it easy.