Thursday, September 27, 2007

through the lenses

On Wednesday, I called up my mom to chat about an upcoming visit this weekend, and she told me about her evening. She left work an hour early, prompted by the summer-like heat wave, and decided that she wanted to enjoy the last throes of summer while she still could. She came home and walked down to the beach near her house, walked along the beach and swam about a mile down the beach with the current helping her along. She drifted, floated and watched the sun setting. As she turned and swam back in the opposite direction, she watched a big, fat, orange harvest moon swell over the water and rise high into the sky as she swam back. The colors, and the beauty of watching both the sun set and moon rise was an absolutely spiritual experience for her, and she yearned for her camera at the time so she could have showed me how beautiful it was.

Interestingly enough, the idea of trying to capture nature or a scene - but never being able to truly do so - was the topic of my Language of Nature discussions today. The Picturesque movement that I talked about before was simply that artists tried to "frame" nature within their canvas. They tried to capture (or sometimes create) the quintessential representation of the landscape, while not truly reflecting it in its entirety. The picture to the right is from a park on the seacoast... it is a metal sculpture of a painter with a frame with an empty middle, and standing in the right place, you can get the 'picture' of the landscape without fully absorbing it.

Every morning that I drive into Keene and every afternoon that I drive home I am struck with the same situation that my mom described. I have a camera, but despite the pictures I take, I can't really describe the whole picture, the whole beauty of my drive in a frame of sorts. It took me a few weeks, but I've stopped trying to capture the drive's beauty.

The chorus to John Mayer's song "3x5" says this well:

didn't have a camera by my side this time
hoping I would see the world from both my eyes
maybe I will tell you all about it
when I'm in the mood
to loose my way with words
but let me say
you should have seen that sunrise
with your own eyes
it brought me back to life...

To experience it, you'll just have to take the same route early in the morning sometime to feel it. Nature to me is not only for your eyes or for your camera to capture. Its about rolling my windows down while driving and smelling the pine trees, swamps, flowers and fallen leaves - its hearing the birds, locusts and rustling of trees in the wind... It is an experience that can never be captured in a picture alone - so I've given up trying, and have resolved to spend more time enjoying the journey instead of trying to photographically represent it.

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