I went out this evening to shoot. For this. I haven’t been making very many images since I got home from vacation. It just seems like I am not seeing much to capture.
But. I used to say, when I first started working on my Bachelor’s in Photography, that on any given day, in any given moment, there IS something interesting to shoot, right in your midst.
So, with my old “Win this one for the Gipper” mentality in place….. Out the door I went….. to explore, with camera in hand. Yes. I was on a quest to find that beautiful shot for tonight’s offering. Then. The absolute reality of the situation became clearer, and clearer, the longer I was outdoors.
I am standing in dog poop. AND in chicken poop. And, to make matters worse…. everything around me is dead, brown and gray. Snap. Click. Snap, snap, click. Dead grass, dead limbs, and mud up to my knees. “Oh wait… there is ‘something interesting’ over there on the ground. Oh no. Dead bird.”
And then it hit me. It is Leap Day. Everybody knows the Magical Leap Year Trick. All I have to do is LEAP. So I started leaping about the yard. Just like Ten Lords A Leaping. I leaped here and over there. I twirled in the air and leaped like the Sugar Plum Fairy in the Nutcracker. I was the Crazy Leapin’ Lizard of Camden, Ohio.
And when all the leaping and twirling was done, and my head finally quit spinning, I saw it all will amazing clarity and a brand new perception. I was STILL standing knee deep in mud, with the singular occasions of dog and chicken poop for good measure. Brown, gray, dead.
Dejected, I snapped. I clicked. Yet….. I had hopes of drawing the Leap Year Mascot, the good old Leap Frog, for redemption yet later tonight.
But the real truth of this, all leaping aside, there really is beauty in everything. Or wonder. Or being.
The way the setting sun was falling on a shriveled leaf. Or the tree with a thousand magic orbs. Anywhere, anytime. What about the school shooting today? Just south of us in Butler County? What beauty in that? The kindness, the compassion, and the love, that people were showing each other in the wake of the uncertainty, and fear…. for one thing.
The beauty is where we see it. The mere breath that each one of us draws in, and out, without a second thought, is truly a wonder. Each minute of the day, 365 days a year. And then some… during Leap Years.
“Youth is happy because it has the capacity to see beauty. Anyone who keeps the ability to see beauty never grows old.”
― Franz Kafka
“Dwell on the beauty of life. Watch the stars, and see yourself running with them.”
― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson, Emerson’s Essays