Sunday, October 11, 2020

Paint, Shoot—Or Just Look?


I recently posted the above picture on Facebook.  I took the photo on an afternoon's hike over a lakeside trail.  The foliage had just begun to turn: reds and oranges and yellows were seeping into the oaks, gold coins were dropping from the poplars.  Off in the distance, across the lake, the sandstone cliffs, stained red over the ages, completed the beautiful color harmony of the day.

A friend commented:  “Hard choice of which to paint—the tree or cliff.”  I replied:  “Sometimes, you just want to look.”

How many times on a hike have I regretted not carrying my camera or not lugging along my painting gear?  More times than I can count.  A scene takes my breath away, and I wish, for a moment, that I could shoot a picture or capture it in paint.  But then I remind myself, not everything beautiful is meant to be painted or photographed.  Sometimes, the beautiful is meant to be enjoyed only in that moment, and then savored as a memory.

I'm reminded of that poem by William Carlos Williams:

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens

The poem invites many interpretations, and I seem to interpret it differently each time I read it.  Right now, as I am reciting it in my mind, it is a moment in time.  It's the moment when you wish you had a camera or your gear, but all you can do it look and savor.

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