What's Blooming

Ongoing post with pictures of nature in the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia and the Greenbrier Valley of West Virginia.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Walking on the wild side

Already I often carry too much gear into the woods when I go for an evening hike, but now that I'm trying to blog regularly I'm thinking that having my laptop along would be convenient. As much as I enjoy being out in the mountains, often off trails and wandering through hollers and over hills, there is much that I experience that I would like to share.

It would be much easier to sit down on a log or rock and write the moments at the time than it is to make the time to relive the experience in words when I get back to my computer. In this respect, I can understand how Blackberries and cell phone texting have become so popular, especially among young people

But there is much to be said for letting moments mellow and age. Our immediate culture wants everything to be now. Being in the now has become a strange and twisted image of the old Zen concept of the same name. The old way implies an acceptance, an appreciation. The new way is demanding and living with an expectation of the next moment, next gratification.

Those who know me, know that I have a tendency to immediately expressing my thoughts, especially in writing. Email and texting give an opportunity for passionate pleas or angry outburst that are seldom productive. Thought I know the danger, I still occasionally fire away.

From the time I started taking wildflower photos 20+ years ago, I've been drawn to capture images that combine a sharply focused flower with a similar flower slightly out of focus in the background. Not mirrors exactly, reflections of sorts but of flowers that are not the same. Perhaps I'm drawn to try to capture the way we live and see life.

In that respect, taking a laptop along on a hike would probably be a mistake. For one, more gear would make the whole experience less pleasant for me and thus I'd have less to write about. (A great metaphor there for all the baggage we carry through life, but I'll leave that for another post.) More importantly though, I wouldn't have the advantage of time to filter the sounds, sights, smells and touches of my time in the wilds.

Time and distance begin to blur memories. The image softens and no matter how hard we try, details are lost. No one has a perfect memory, although we all tend to claim perfect recall when it seems necessary in an argument. However, we are only fooling ourselves.

But like my photos, that soft, slightly distant image is an important part of life. There is a beauty there different from the immediate, in your face, here and now. The past lives as an ever present background to the present. Maybe that is what I'm trying to capture in some of these flower images. The present, while clear and distinct, will fade. But as the new flower depends on the seed from the old, the present depends on those faded wounds and glories.


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