The other day I went to hang out with friends and, as a part of the hanging out, I got a photography lesson. This particular lesson was focused on ‘light’.
So I was in “Light Skool”
The photo above does not have much light, which is the whole point of the photo. Which makes Light Skool a little confusing, I’m sure.
But not to me though… because you know why…
And while I was with my friend/Professor – who has actually had shows and been paid for his photos and can most likely spell things like ap-er-chure – I found myself drawn to certain light and concepts.
First we did light-light the stuff of fairies and tales…
And then we went to a cemetery, which was incredible in its shadowy, granite-y, late afternoon (y) light.
And though we were in and around such amazing carvings and poetry and the peace that lies in organized rows and columns, I found myself absolutely drawn to this one area off to the side, not a gravestone to be seen.
We were talking about the settings on the camera, and the aforementioned ap-er-chure setting. My photos were coming out darker than I expected and I was getting rather nervous that we were about to descend into an abyss from which I never return… at least mentally if not photographically.
But, never fear, my friend knows me and totally accepted the fact that I liked my unexpected shots, and no wicked technical stuff happened (and no professional photographers’ brains were thus injured).
So the photos – and area – that I was loving were all of this path.
A path deep and dark that, with the overhanging limb of a young tree was framing it, looked almost like a tunnel…
It was sort of eerie, and yet I could tell that if I went in, I would find cool and dappled light. And it wouldn’t be as scary as the entrance made it seem. Maybe.
I’m about to get all philosophical up in here.
So we walked further up a hill and down and around the cemetery and the idea of the path was sticking with me.
Paths in general.
This happens all the time in my brain and I know when to toss something on the back brain-ial burner and let it hang out and simmer for a while.
And then the next day we went for a morning ride and POOF!
One that my friend had easily spent hundreds of hours on. And we talked about that path. And I took pictures of that path. And, on the way home, I thought about that path. And others – a little more metaphorical – I have known.
Paths do that.
They invite you in.
I thought it was funny that I looked at that deep dark tunnel-path in the cemetery and knew, just knew, it was filled with cool and dappled light inside.
I so wanted to go into it.
But I’ll bet, late in the day, with no real promise of anything but darkness (not to mention it was located in a cemetery), most people would choose to avoid such a path.
So what’s the difference?
Is it an optimist/pessimist thing?
A lack of self preservation instinct on my part – possibly due to the fact that I have so many things simmering in various parts of my brain that fight/flight response has been dystrophied?
But I think it’s faith.
A belief that heading out on any path, I have choices.
In how I view things along the way.
In whether I decide to follow the path all the way to its end.
Or turn around, deciding I don’t need to see how things turn out.
Do I turn onto another path, one that intersects with the one I’m on?
Do I take, as Yogi Berra would want me to, the fork in the path if I come to it?
As with life’s paths, all these choices are there for me.
Whether I consciously choose to take a path from the beginning, or am plopped down in the middle of nowhere (kicking and screaming) and have to figure it out.
And when I am at my best – my most centered and joyful – I am paying attention to what is happening along the way. To everyone I meet, and every twist and turn. To what lessons I can take from each path – from each experience – whether wonderful or… well… crappy.
And the mundane paths – the day-in and day-out boring stuff that makes me wonder if I am even on a frappin’ path at all?
Those matter too.
Because all paths I have ever been on, and will ever be on, lead to who I am right now.
And, if ‘me’ is the home for my soul, then the old cliché must be true.
No… not that all roads lead to Rome.
But that all our paths,
beautiful or littered,
leisurely or complicated,
chosen or not…
All paths, naturally and inevitably
Thanks for readin’.
p.s., As I was futzing around with my camera settings again and got two very different shots of this particular path (which felt a bit special).
This one is the path pictured at the top of this post:
And this ones the same path, from the same spot. I just crouched down.
I kind of like the second one… where only the beginning is clear (which is true for so many paths).
But then again, the first one shows light beyond shadow. And I have seen that a lot too.
Perspective, along with interpretation, matters.
Thanks (again!) for readin’.
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