Friday, August 12, 2011

Making the Most of It

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I wonder if that is what is happening. Are many making the most of this waning summer? I know I become more conscious each day that this late arriving and much savored summer is coming to an end. The days are already shorter. The nights are cooler. Like the child out of school and dreading September, I want to hang onto each shred of my precious summer. The balmy evenings, the easy-going mornings enjoying the kinder summery breezes, even the cloudless skies have warmed my bones and brought a welcome relief from the long, cold, seemingly endless winter.

Yes, winter has its allure with bracing cold, crisp air; blankets of snow turning the simplest landscape into a wonderland; and cloud shows that provide inspiration for weeks to come. But, I never think to call winter charming or comforting. Spring invigorates me. Autumn makes me especially thoughtful. Summer calms me, bringing a kind of deep peace. Childhood memories? Probably.

These last few days are to be noted. Taken into account and stored in memory. I will need those images in my mind that first Autumn morning when there is ice where the daisies grew. Ah, well, each season has moments of being my favorite. For now, I am a summer girl through and through.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wild Daisies

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The wild daisies are one of the reasons I love summers in Bear Valley Springs. I never tire of them. Yes, they are absent the refinements of so many other lovely flowers. And, the daisies certainly are neither fragile nor difficult to propagate. Far from possessing the mystery and delicacy of so many other blossoms, these common, wild things—weeds, really—dominate the landscape here by July. For weeks, they stand, merrily waving in the summer breeze, savoring the sunshine, and generously spreading their simple joy.

Let The Husband wage his relentless war against the mustard, if he must. But, woe be unto any who dare mow down all my daisies. Fortunately, we long ago negotiated peaceful co-existence: a portion of our landscape has been assigned to the daisies; the remainder is subject to the mower. As a result, all all is well with us, just as it is with the ever-cheerful daisies.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Telling Stories With Images

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I enjoyed the responses to my last post and probably will post similar questions in the future. A great big thank-you to all who participated in the conversation. I appreciate the time taken to share your stories and each comment left me with something interesting to contemplate.

The story elements that evolved in my mind as that recent image emerged were rather dark. There was a sense of being lost in a forlorn and harsh environment—a cold, brutal wind stung my eyes. Even though there seemed to be vast open spaces around me, I was hemmed in by something I couldn't see. Everytime I felt I was about to gain control over events, I was faced with a dark and unexpected turn. The mountains were a challenge that I somehow had to reach, for the only hope lay on the other side.

I am intrigued by the connection between the elements in a picture and the properties of the story that emerges. For me, it isn't a clean and linear line. It is as if the image whispers stories to life and the stories then play on me as I process the image. I have come to think of that interplay as a kind of a dance. The intellect is in charge, then yields to the heart. I know precisely where I am going and how to get there.... Then, I lose my way and stumble about taking cues from what?  A dream, a memory?

When I stop molding an image—when I am ready to share it and say "This is it—for now", the result sometimes feels like something that is not really my own. There is no one or thing to blame, of course, but neither can I claim full credit—if, indeed, any is due. I led during parts of the process, but there were moments when it felt more like following. It was a process that took me to a discovery.

There is another aspect of images and communication that intrigues me. I have noticed that some people seem to think that if the image is made well enough it will say the same thing to all viewers. Wouldn't that turn the entire communication experience into a guessing game? "Guess what story I meant to convey with this image." That sounds like a really lame parlor game.

We all bring our unique life experience to every contemporary experience. We, each, arrive at any given moment with our particular baggage and that baggage will affect what we read into the story before us. Just as you and I would visit the same spot, but return home with different photographs, shown the same image we will read different stories featuring our particular characters and playing off our personal history.

The responses to my invitation for your stories gave me a good taste of what I was craving—some conversation about personal emotional responses to an image. What more could I have asked? The photo here was taken on that same stretch of highway as the last picture. This one calls to my mind very different stories, even though the setting is similar and the characters in the image certainly look similar. I hope this one suggests stories that speak to you.