Saturday, October 18, 2014

Linger longer

Early last night, after checking into my apartment in La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the night, I decided to head into town for a meeting. Not knowing my way around, I gave myself plenty of extra time to find the meeting place. Driving down the street, not too far from my apartment on the Mississippi River, I passed this handcrafted, well-lived-in birdhouse. My muse told me to stop and take the picture that she had already conjured up in my mind's eye. Fear said, "Better not. You'll be trespassing, and you know what happens when you do that." Fear won out, ever so briefly, and I kept driving, but not for long. Seconds later, I made a hasty K-turn in the middle of the road, and returned eagerly, to capture the moment.

I parked the car, grabbed my camera, jumped out, and took the shot. At that moment, I knew, intuitively, that I had to be on higher ground for the shot to work, for the Mississippi River to be glorified in the background. So, I did what any self-respecting photographer would do---I climbed onto the trunk of my car! From that perch I snapped away, and ultimately walked away with this image and several others.

The lesson is always mine, and for me, on this trip, the message that I've learned, and hope to convey in my work, is linger longer. Wherever you are. Whatever you are doing. Be in the moment. Be present. As poet Mary Oliver writes, and I so often quote, "Pay attention. Be astonished. Tell about it." Even though I am breezing through towns across this great country, paying homage with one-night stands, make no mistake, I am missing nothing. This was never intended to be a sight-seeing tour. The sights I am seeing may not be the popular ones, the ones people seek out on vacations, the ones advertised in travel brochures, but the insights from lingering longer over the ordinary, the mundane, the discarded, the overlooked, are powerful.

I wish you time to linger longer today and every day.

Love, Carol

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