Sunday, October 18, 2009

hiking

When I hike, I usually take my camera, it has become one of my greatest teachers. Before I began taking pictures with the avidity of a dog chasing a bone, I wandered through the woods without seeing. I had to remind myself to look, to listen, to be. I remember one horrible trek over Granite Mountain in Arizona, I was 22 and I was beset by the demon of self. I kept trying to see, to smell, to shut up for five minutes and experience the instant in which I stood in the shadow of pinetrees. I began crying in defeat. Eventually I just let go, I listened to my mind babble away, only occasionally looking around with present moment clarity, usually when startled out of my reveries by other hikers, scat on the trail or an unusually loud rattle. Then I was given my beloved Canon Rebel XTi. I began hiking with it's weight hanging over my breast and something changed. I felt more peace, I breathed deeper, I listened, I stood in awe more, I was quiet longer, I smiled mostly and I lingered. I stopped listening to me and began looking for beauty everywhere. I find it there, where it always is, just beneath our nose, beaming. Now I pause in front of a black widow, a powdery branch, a blaze of color, water rushing over stones and looking through my camera lens, I find it- that perfect moment and snap, then it is gone. My camera has become one of my greatest teachers, helping me to remember that although the lens of self may be small, mortal and narrow- it is still capable of witnessing enormous beauty ... if only we keep looking.

Here are some moments from today's hike:
In the fields...
At the creekside...
and in the woods...
There really is beauty every where.

2 comments:

Karima said...

Angelina,

I know exactly how you feel. That a simple mechanical camera can transform everything: how we see, when we see, what is to be noticed. When done with attentiveness, the camera can slow us down and make us pause, not just to notice properly, but to be in the moment, and then later to give an enduring representation of that moment.

I love how you capture your moments.

Many thanks for the encouraging words on my stalled blog. I have been mostly active on flickr (are you?), but I do need to get back to the more expansive personal world that a blog can provide. Even if it's just for oneself, as a visual journal.

I have added yours to my google reader,

Angelina said...

Karima,
(Gorgeous name by the way) Thank you so much for your comment and stopping by. I am not on flickr. At the present, with two busy boys and a full life to bounce around in, I find it difficult to maintain more than one cyber account at a time, but I will look for you there. Keep photographing! Your work is lovely and inspiring.