Well, it has been quite a while since I have written – but I have been very busy behind the scenes. I have still not read much fiction, but I continue to read books on photography and writing, and know that someday I will return to my reading passion. Geoff and I are trying to finalize plans for out 30th anniversary celebration, but we are having a difficult time deciding how to celebrate: New York City – a cruise – a lake house retreat? That is obviously fodder for another post at a later time.
I have had an idea for several weeks now to write a blog post on the spiritual journey I have traveled through my photography hobby. It has now become quite lengthy and will probably be a multi-part essay. But today I feel the need to document my weekend epiphany that came as a result of doing homework for the online class I am taking, Sense of Place.
In the first week of the class we were asked to begin an Inspiration File of travel photos. There was no limitation except that we needed to collect 20-30 pictures that “inspired” us. Since I have saved over 300 pictures in the favorites folder on my Flickr account – I decided to start there. I quickly culled through the photographs and selected 18 pictures that I thought pertained to my “sense of place” and I saved them in a separate folder on my desktop.
When I viewed all 18 pictures at once I quickly found a common theme: serenity. Every single photograph left me with a sense of peace and tranquility. This did not surprise me.
But as I looked closer I realized another theme emerged: simplicity – a desire to return to a bygone era where life was lived at a slower pace and success was not measured by the number of tasks ticked off the to-do list. I am drawn to pictures of flower boxes in windowsills – and moleskin notebooks on cafe tables with a half empty cup of espresso on the side. Technology is a not a part of these eighteen photos, but open air markets with fresh produce is plentiful. The pastoral setting with sheep grazing in the lush green grass is perfection to me.
And then it hit me. An epiphany for me – but probably a “duh” moment for others. If this is what I yearn for: simplicity, tranquility, a desire to release 21st century technology for a lifestyle more genteel — then why do I only indulge myself one or two weeks a year? Why do I feel the need to live a daily hectic life that produces stress and strain when I can make minor adjustments and live that lifestyle year ’round?
While I may not have the opportunity to visit daily open air markets, I am driving distance to several Farmers’ markets here in the heart of America. If I long to sit a sip an espresso while writing long hand in a moleskin book then why I don’t give up the computer and head to a local Starbucks and secure a corner table for the afternoon? If I do not wish to define success by a to-do list, then it is time to give myself a break and say I will teach those classes which hold a passion for me (Brit Lit and English Comp) and release those that bog me down.
Vacation is a not only a physical destination beyond the everyday – it is a mental mindset. And while I do not envision taking an extended break from life – I do believe it is possible to infuse my life with elements of simplicity that until just recently I thought were only available for one week out of the year.