“Having eyes, see ye not?” – Mark 8: 18
It feels like there’s something reawakening inside of me – something that had been asleep for a long time. I find myself looking at the world around me in the same way I did as a child – like everything I see is new to me, and the world is full of new things to explore and discover. I like it.
Several years ago I made a new friend through the internet – how I met her and how we became friends is a whole book in itself – and maybe someday I’ll write it. But what I want to talk about today is how that new friendship affected the way I see things.
My friend, Kathi, lives on the other side of the continent in Nova Scotia. For reasons I don’t need to explain here, early in our friendship I realized that Kathi would probably never be able to visit me in my part of the world, and I had an overwhelming desire to share the beauty of what I see here with her somehow. And because Kathi is an artist, I felt a special desire to present her with images an artist would be able to appreciate.
Ever since childhood I’d enjoyed taking photos, but, in my late twenties, I married a gifted professional photographer, and, humbled by his talent, I began limiting my own photography to mostly snapshots of family and friends – capturing birthday parties and anniversaries and family outings for the family photo album.
Now, because of my friendship with Kathi, I started taking a different kind of photo. I wanted to show off the scenes – the flora and fauna, the mountains and beaches – of the Pacific Northwest to her. And I wanted to try to present her with photos of images in the way she might see them herself if she were here – as an artist would see them, and as a tourist from Nova Scotia would see them.
This opened up a whole new world for me, and I think this is when my “reawakening” began. I began noticing line, patterns, textures, small details, colors – all the magic in the world around me – in a way I hadn’t for years.
Yesterday was an amazing day. I stepped outside my house for an afternoon “photo walk” and entered an awe-inspiring world. Trumpeter swans flew in the sky to the south of me, and a pair of bald eagles swooped around in the sky to the north of me, and I was just blown away by the magnificence of it. Totally oblivious to everything but those eagles and those trumpeters, I stood in the middle of the street, mouth open in wonder, focused on capturing what I was seeing in my camera.
I didn’t realize that a car had stopped for me, and the driver was watching me in sort of amused fascination, until I finally took my eyes off the sky. Kind of embarrassed, but still full of the wonder of my world, I laughed and apologized for making him stop. The driver grinned back at me. He said I looked like I was really concentrating. Waving my arm towards the heavens, I said, “We live in a beautiful part of the world! – eagles and swans filling the sky!”
He smiled and kind of shrugged and said, “Nothing new.”
I smiled back at him and said, “It’s all new! I’m looking at the world with new eyes. I’m a tourist here.”
He chuckled. I think he thought I was a little daft. And perhaps I am. But I’m sure enjoying it.