Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Paintings in the sky


Faces in the fading light...
London, ON, October 2009


A friend of mine has been e-mailing me from far, far away with perspectives on what it's like to move through loss. His family suffered an unimaginable tragedy a few years back, and his hard won experience has been instrumental in helping me lay down some roots from which I can begin to grow into whatever it is that I'll be afterward.

One of the things he suggested was to focus on a hobby or other familiar activity as a way of giving my mind a break from the otherwise constant context of sadness. Thankfully I've got a few. I had brought my camera with me to Montreal because not having it on my shoulder would have made me feel lost - well, more lost than I already was. I didn't take a lot of pictures while we were there, and the times that I did open up the lens were marked by intense internal debate over whether it was or was not appropriate for me to be doing so at that moment.

Even after we returned, albeit temporarily, home, I just didn't feel the urge to capture. I was seeing the world in blacks, whites and greys, and I just couldn't will myself to take in my surroundings in my usual three-dimensional color as I thought through each composition. I grabbed the occasional snap from my BlackBerry, but I'm sure when I work up the desire to look at them they'll be as pallid as my mood.

This past Thursday night, though, my friend's words bounced around my head. I was walking the dog and noticed the sky setting up for a spectacular post-sunset. After bringing him back home (wiggly puppy + camera = lousy photos), I picked up the camera bag and told the kids I was talking a walk alone. I wandered a few blocks away from the house, toward a large park that offered somewhat decent sky views. The shadows were already deepening, but the sky offered enough varied light to make it worth my while.

I'm still not quite sure what to make of what I captured on my memory card that night, but it marked a brief moment where I could once again see in color, however muted.

17 comments:

carli said...

It's a wonderful photo, Carmi. . . I don't want to get all metaphorical about the dark clouds and the light that isn't so much trying to break through them as it is waiting patiently for its inevitable return. But I guess I did.

Thom said...

I don't think it's very muted at all. There are rays of hope in there and sunshine will eventually peak through. Great capture my friend. Aloha

Tabor said...

It is life with all its hopes, passions and pain moving on. It is your life, your rich and colorful life.

NJ said...

I love this photo. I see two people with their faces raised to the sun, soaking in the beauty.

Rinkly Rimes said...

At first I thought the sky looked threatening but, after reading your words, I looked at it again and I saw a flush was breaking through. Very indicative.

Gallow said...

Excellent work, and a great photo.

kenju said...

That slash of orange shows hope and promise, Carmi, just as your life does.

lissa said...

Stunning photo - and a very good thing for you to be doing, not only because it focuses you, but because you honor your dad's love of your photography by doing so.

Very often, after my mom died, I would look at clouds and look for profiles...faces..winged creatures...and find them. I also look (present, not past) for those gray clouds with rays of sunlight pushing through so that one can SEE the actual rays. Those give me a smile because it feels like they're heavenly hellos...

Keep posting the pictures - I love your artist's eye.

Hugs!

Mojo said...

Carmi, on your worst day I'm not sure you could take a bad photo... but we all have our slumps. If this shot is any indication though, I'd say you're breaking out of whatever slump you might have been in.

And while I didn't really discuss it with you this week, I did take the liberty of kicking off a new Thematic Photographic theme for the week. One I chose with you in mind: "Hard". (As in last week was too hard -- even though I picked the poison.)

I hope you'll join in -- and even more hope you'll be back at the reins by next Wednesday. I think what your friend was telling you was sort of the same thing I was trying to say -- albeit not as well -- when I suggested a Thematic pinch hitter (again with the baseball metaphors?). But TP's just not the same with somebody else driving. And it might feel a little like riding in the shotgun seat of your own car, but the drive might do you good.

Light and Voices said...

Clouds feel like one could just reach up and touch them because they seem so close. They appear like windows open and they come in different sizes. Clouds are really, really, really, really dramatic when the sun shoots its rays through the dark rain clouds. Your image is simply divine and the title suits the photo well.
Joyce M

cactus petunia said...

Beautiful, Carmi.
I truly believe that when we open ourselves up, we see what we need.
I think you needed this one.

Elisabeth said...

Carmi, you seem to be on the right track. I can't begin to tell you how many times photography has saved me (by pulling me out of myself and getting me to focus momentarily on something else). After one intense loss, I found taking photographs honoring the memory of the person helpful, as well as taking spiritually uplifting and symbolic images. Love your sky shot. Clouds can be amazing. In your image, the light shines through. My thoughts are with you as you walk this path.

Pamela said...

such a "memory" jerker for me to read this. That is how I felt after loss. You said it so very well.

Amanda said...

This is lovely we don't always take the time to appreciate beauty like this Carmi slow down and "smell the roses".

gel said...

Powerful photo capture!
Your friend is right on target. I have been away too long to know of which loss you speak. One need not know to wish you condolences and peace as you deal with pain.


(Your photo brings to mind one of my paintings, based on a far different sunset photo than this one. I created for a permanent collection of healing art in our area and mention it because it arose from my own healing journey. It is titled "Power of Hope" and I pass on those thoughts to you.

kanishk said...

It is life with all its hopes, passions and pain moving on. It is your life, your rich and colorful life. Work From Home

Laurie said...

My eye travels from the deep dark gloom to the light at the top of the frame. A metaphor perhaps? This is a beautiful photo.