It started with the usual chatter. Those incessant internal conversations that can stop you in your tracks and prolong decision making. The bed was warm, the light was barely squeaking through the cloud cover and a book said, ‘read a few pages of me.’ As I read, the voice continued. “Get out and go see what’s happening on the beach!” So I did and was met with this image as I walked out the door.
The light on New Smyrna Beach was dull when I hit the sand. Lots of cloud cover but I could sense opportunity lurking if I just allowed some time to pass and stay in the moment. A squadron of Brown Pelicans came my way, so I waited for them to fly overhead in their V formation. Not to be, however. They saw the ‘big eye’ lens and veered off. Then it happened! The sky burst forth and God’s beams were bursting forth from a hole in the clouds. Glory!
I liked what I saw but ‘the voice’ beckoned me to find a better foreground to the image. I spied some seaweed type material and tossed it out on the sand where I thought it would work best. “It’s not natural that way,” the voice said. “Too bad,” the intuition retorted. “I’m doing it anyway.” I think it worked. Your thoughts on natural vs. woman-made?
Foot steps later, I scanned the sky in front of and behind me. “Look up,” it said. You’ve gotta look around when you’re out there with a camera, especially with skies, as some of the best things can be behind or above you. I obeyed and was rewarded with this image.
The sky then began to really open up. The clouds were ocean-bound and the sun was really making itself known. I headed back and saw how the light was different. Looking around for shots, I heard the voice again, “you’ve already shot that scene,” it said. I almost followed that fence-like voice. It’s the one that stops creativity in its tracks. It’s limiting and keeps chains on you, requiring you to do the same ‘ole thing. “What if . . .” the other voice said to me, softly this time. I knelt down and recorded what I saw and felt.
With the sun now glaring down on me and reminding me that it was time to shed a layer of clothing, I noticed a made picking-up trash on the beach with a gripping tool. I smiled, said hello and moved on, still looking for images to make. When I saw a woman coming toward me doing the same thing, the voice grabbed my attention again. “Photograph her.” I stopped to talk to her first, wanting to build repoire and confirm her purpose for having a bucket and a grip tool. “Yes, that was my husband ahead of me”, she confirmed. “I just think it’s a shame that people walk this beach, day in and day out, and don’t stop to pick up the trash they walk over. My husband and I do this most mornings of the week.”
As we conversed, Dorothy explained that she sees people walk over tops of coolers, bottle caps, plastic containers for soda that will slowly strangle a bird or fish over time. There was passion in her voice! After she allowed me the photo and I walked away, I realized that she too had followed ‘the voice.’ I wondered if it started out loud or softly with her. Did she think about it or ‘just do it’?
And so my resolution for this year is to follow my inner voice, like Dorothy. She listened and now the beach is cleaner for all, due to the actions of she and her husband. For me, I know it will lead to more emotional imagery and a quieter mind. What’s not to like about that? I know this will take practice and thus Yoga, meditation and exercise will help. There’s times when my listening has saved the life of a small girl and possibly my own, when it told me to get to the doctor. Now it’s telling me to get outside and enjoy my time with my mother!