I did the photo shoot for Vi's school play on Wednesday. I started packing equipment on Tuesday night(that I had tested and cleaned over the weekend). At noon on Tuesday, started loading up supplies- a ladder, like 5 extension cords, my portable lights, my massive camera bag, two tripods, the light stands, the portable backdrop stands(just in case), bed sheets(just in case). Dean took the totally full Suburban over to the school while I showered. I drove over, we switched keys, I entered the gym/theater and hello, chaos.
Set everything up and spent the next several hours trying to get all the shots the directors wanted: from groups with as many as 18 squirrley kids to 1- then not to mention the entire cast and backstage crew photo. Much of this was shot on my tippy toes at the edge of the stage or balanced between my ladder and the stage or from the ladder- yes, yes, some people would just use a wider angle lens but I'm a little bit of a perfectionist. It was both better and worse than shooting a wedding but it was... exhilarating. I love it when I get in that groove where I am completely in the moment- no worries about what's coming up, no regrets, just the NOW of it all.
People used to think it was funny that when I shot weddings I would cry. Okay, maybe not at every wedding... but how lucky was I to be a part of so many celebrations, capturing the beginning of a new life together. Yeah, pshaw. So stupid and sentimental of me.
Getting back to the NOW thing. I'd like to live in that spot more.
This pic is my fave from Avery's b-day weekend. I feel like we should try to wallpaper our lives with moments like this- from beginning to end.
I am more and more convinced I want to get back full on into the photography gig. I learned alot the first time around- DON'T taking on too many clients, charge enough for my time, even if I love it enough I'd probably do it for free (shhh)- I'm just not good with the business-y part of running a business. But there is a thread that runs through all the things I love in my life- they are things that, even if fleeting, put me in the NOW. The horses are all about the now. The kids are all about the now. Photography, singing, music, dancing, writing, running, swimming... all things that just happen now.
I mean, maybe you can try to explain or try to write about twirling across a floor in your blue satin dress with your favorite pair of heels on, and how alive you feel, and to be caught in someone's arms and how in love you feel- but it isn't the same. You can try to explain how it feels to have your heart pounding in your chest and music in your head as you slide into that groove at around 3 miles where you feel like you could run forever, to the end of the earth and keep on going. You can try to explain how it feels to have a 1400 pound animal beneath you, the wind whipping in your face and hair, that so-exciting-its-almost-terrifying sense of anticipation as your horse's hooves beat out the rhythm and then you are flying, together, in perfect unison, fluid, over a jump and the joy when you land, knowing it was perfect, and you understand why your horse throws that little buck, even if it is considered 'bad' behavior.
But why try? Why try to explain when there is so little time and so much to do in it? We should be dedicating every moment to joy, to exhaltation, just to being alive. Well, that's what I would like to do, at least. (Then again, I'm probably crazy in the most literal sense of the word)
I guess people think if we only ever lived in the moment we wouldn't really get anywhere. But each moment bleeds into the next, pulls a little of the previous one into it until we look back at this seamless trail of moments that have brought us to THIS moment.
I like to think we need to be present at least some of the time- not always calculating for tomorrow or next week or next year or regretting the past... because it all goes by far too fast. In the blink of an eye I went from being 7 years old and making snow angels to being a wife, mother, having a career, watching my girls grow up as if the fast forward button were pushed. If only I could push pause.
And even if we had... forever... it still matters, the Now, still matters because this is what we are, we are what we are here and now- even if it took an accumulation of experiences to reach this point. It still matters. We matter NOW and that is brilliant and a gift but also sad because, in this society at least, we are just never good enough right NOW.
I love the above picture of Avery that her level 1 director and (pro photographer), Joe Fanvu, took of her at SFGC camp last summer. Kids know how to live in the moment. Most of them, I think.
We're alive, we're feeling- maybe more for some or less, maybe we see, maybe we hear, maybe we love, maybe we are loved- all to varying degrees. How many people pass on that? Pass on this moment, because we do not know how to be still and we do not know how to be content? We do not know how to allow ourselves to enter the current- not to just be swept along but to swim. Because that current is like life, it takes us where we're meant to go if we just... let go. Yet we fight so hard to be what we're not, to be where we're not. Maybe we don't even really know how to be alive, not really, and certainly not all the time.
Right now that line from Dr. Suess' "Oh, The Places You'll Go" is on my mind: "So be sure where you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life's a Great Balancing Act." And, "Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So... get on your way!" That Dr. Suess was a wise man. I know most people think he was all about rhyming and silly illustrations and "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" is just the world's best graduation gift or whatever. But that book, with all the rhymes and silly drawings, is probably one of the best self-help, guide-to-life books I've ever read. It's just the truth. The waiting place? Brilliant. And who hasn't been there? 'Cause if you haven't, you will end up there one day and then you will understand, too. And when you go along with what's happening, you really do start happening, too. Truth, my dears. Maybe the best quotation from that book is:
"You'll be famous as famous can be, with the whole world watching you win on TV.
Except when they don't. Because, sometimes, they won't.
I'm afraid the some times you'll play lonely games too.
Games you can't win 'cause you'll play against you."
Truth. And here I thought Dr. Suess was all about green ham and striped hats and some guy named Marvin K. Mooney.
Wow. I am meandering here. But this is me, ruminating on life. The girls both just had their birthdays. I'm hoping to get a post up for each of them, soon. I did have hard bound books made for each of them with photos and quotations. Screw that scapbooking crap. No offense to any scrapbookers out there. I'm just one of those people who WISHES she could document the lives of our family in cute, thematic scrapbooks but just never gets around to it. I did sew Vi's costume for the play, so I'm not totally the worst mother on the planet, almost, but not totally.
Damn, I sound like such a total can of spray cheeze. I guess better that than to sound like nothing at all, to be empty.
A thought: All this accmulation, all this 'keeping up with the Joneses' is like Laura's glass menagerie in Tennessee William's play- oh, we might want it, it might sparkle just so and we might take pride in it and yet it is nothing, so easily destroyed, smashed to useless, painful shards. But it is difficult to get away from the things. They have, after all, defined us, so like Tom who trys to leave his broken past behind him is 'more faithful' than he intended to be. Tom says in his soliloquy at the end that he does whatever he can do to 'blow out Laura's candles', to forget, even for a moment. I think so many of us are like Tom, wishing to at least forget what we can't change. So convenient that our society provides so many outlets for doing such- from iPads to shopping malls to decorating, remodelling, painting, fixing... whatever to occupy that space and make everything look fine, even great!, from the outside. If you are out there, if you've stayed with me this long(I know this attempt-to-be-a-blog is like one of Dantes levels of hell)- it's okay to blow out your candles, but if you are going to do it- do it for real. Let it go. Tommorow is a new day. It always is.
"We could never have loved the earth so well if we had no childhood in it."