Saturday, October 25, 2008

small things

I've been thinking lately of small things - not petty, mean things, but things of no great matter. These things are not burdened by, nor do they burden anyone with, a great weight. They are light and quick, soft and swift. Catch them if you can.

This contemplation of small things arose after I saw a stunning photo of an Easter lily. Personally I prefer day lilies, but this close-up shot made me wish my world could fit in the bowl of that blossom. In my own forays into photography I have experienced the quiet thrill of capturing a hummingbird perched on the stem of a hosta's bloom, and tracking a busy, pollen-laden bumblebee from bloom to bloom.

Perhaps the sweetest 'little' surprise and pleasure in my world was a moment I could only enjoy, not capture (yet) in any photograph. It will remain ephemeral. On our way to a restaurant in Madison after a busy day in Atlanta my husband spied an errant bubble floating past us down the sidewalk. A toy store on one corner of the street has a bubble-making machine mounted outside and one of those iridescent spheres became our guide for a few yards.

I watched it float and bob along on the air currents I could not feel. I held my breath when it approached some potential hazard. I wanted it to float for as long as possible. It did, and evaporated in a blink without meeting any obstacles along its path.

More and more I will look for the small things, the light things to show me the way - the whisper in the crowded room, the moonlight sparkling on the dew before dawn, the bumblebee wallowing in a blossom, the little girl wearing ruby slippers to the grocery store.

Is this what Blake meant by seeing the world in a grain of sand and eternity in an hour? Maybe so. All I know is that when I contemplate these little bits of life I feel, inside, connected to the world.

This is no small matter.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

'Scuse me while I touch the sky

This isn't the usual sort of post I thought I'd want to write, but I don't think the photos would make as much sense without this. Oh, they look fine on their own, but before I move on from Augusta I want to share why my heart wanted to shoot these particular signs.

I don't talk about it much, if at all, but at the beginning and for a very long time life for me here in Augusta was not pretty. It was pretty painful. Moving is nothing new to me, but my experience here was unprecedented. Despite all the times (12) I had moved and thrived Augusta has been the place that shut itself off from me for a long while, as if it did not want me to feel at home here. Somehow, somehow, even the familiar things like Target and Lowe's and Barnes and Noble felt alien and closed to me.

I mean, come on! Those places are familiarity personified. Except they weren't.

Time after time I felt that even though I was trying my best to pay attention and watch what I was doing, I still managed to find that one imperceptible metaphorical crack in the sidewalk and trip over it to fall smack on my butt.

More than once I wondered why I should even presume to want to make a home here. The place was rather intent on reminding me I was 'alien'. Sometimes a tiny part of me would question if this was a not so subtle nudge from the universe, perhaps, to put aside those 'alien' ways.

After a number of 'trips' when I'd lie sprawling on the sidewalk, the wind knocked out of me, I finally got the idea that maybe the universe was acting like that boy in middle school who used to bean me over the head with his spelling book. My parents told me it was because he liked me, to which I said, 'Yeah, right.' I thought I might revisit this concept in light of my circumstances so I picked myself up from the sidewalk and went off to think.

If this was not a nudge from the universe to change my ways, what was it? If this was like the tactics of a middle-schooler with a slight crush, why take action in a place that felt so alien?

Here's the thing about being a stranger in a strange land: I always have myself. I came to see my time here as a license to really just dig in and get to know myself. This was my chance to really look at myself as Barbara in relationship to Barbara, no one else - not my spouse, my children, family, friends, co-workers. Barbara. Just Barbara.

So, I guess I must say that after the stumbling and the tumbling, the pain and the tears in the middle of so many nights, I made it to the heart of the matter.

It feels so good to make that 'victory leap' and touch a piece of the sky. Now, as I finish this post, I find myself thinking that maybe the universe was just letting me know it was glad it finally found someone to play with here. Maybe it was just glad to get someone's attention.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Before the month is out I will be moving on to the big city, Atlanta to be precise, starting another phase of life. An ending is implied with all beginnings, I think, so this seems like a good moment to take stock and share a few images of Augusta that I will treasure. Oddly enough many of the images for this post are of vacant buildings, but I look at them and wonder what stories were lived within them and what stories might still come to life within their walls.

This vacant restaurant looks so much like an Irish pub to me. The day I shot these pictures wasamazingly bright and hot and imagining the taste of a cool pint of Guinness in its shady interior was rather mouthwatering!

I'll post some other shots of Augusta soon. Enjoy!