Every photographer knows the feeling. “If only the light were over here, or over there”. Of course, it is hardly ever just so. The landscape scatters the sunlight all over the place. Standing in the shadow, anticipating the arrival of a flood of photons, is always a guess at best. What is certain is that the light will shift with the swing of the planets. What is dark will be light, eventually. It will rarely be exactly what I expected. It is always more or less, but it wouldn’t be at all, if I hadn’t waited.
This is early morning by the Eel River. I was waiting for the sunlight to reach the water, when I realized just how much time I spend waiting for the Earth to rotate, so I can have the light where I want it to be.
At first, it’s a guess as to where the light will be. How else do you capture the freshness of a morning? Like capturing sports action, by the time you see it, it is too late. Fortunately, as the world turns, there is always another chance, if you have the time. There will be another day for the light to be in the right place.
The value of the light is that it disappears, every day. No wonder, in the old days, we worshipped the coming and going of the sun.
I love how the light softens as I travel north. In the Southern desert, the sunshine is savage. There, I can almost hear the sharp light tearing at the landscape. Even the invisible wind can have an edge to it. Among the redwoods, the light wanders in quietly, slipping silently between the massive trees and sliding along the glassy rivers. There are no horizons in the forest. Waiting for the light can be a challenge. It doesn’t just jump at you, as it does down south. The sun’s rays fall, like a light rain, in between a hundred shades of green. In the desert, the light arrives suddenly and bounces off the landscape. In the forest, the light, like inspiration, shows up in its own good time.
It only took me nine months to discover that I can use my smartphone as a wireless Internet connection to my laptop. With Verizon’s unlimited plan, this seems to be the way to go on the road. Makes me wonder what else lies along my path that will take me a long time to discover. What else am I waiting for? What else will I see when the fog lifts?
I was watching the sun burn away the morning mist over the Klamath river this morning and I felt a sense of moving forward into an unknown life and an awareness of losing threads of the life I have been holding onto.
A zen master might say there is no going back, but it seems to me that sometimes that’s all I do. Often, I am ‘waiting’ for something in memory or trying to imagine something that has yet to take shape. Life on the road is a cure for that. Esp. on America West Coast. Moving through this magnificent landscape, nothing is like it was yesterday. And the blessing is that there is no telling about tomorrow.
In between yesterday and tomorrow is right now. Now is still and quiet. Now has nowhere to go. Now has no history. In the here and now, there is no waiting. Ironically, for life on the road, here and now is where the real treasures are to be found