Giving thanks for abundance is greater than the abundance itself. Rumi

It always seems like looking for the treasure is more fun than actually finding it. Once you find it, if you ever do, then what?

It’s not about the picture from atop the mountain peak. It is not about the colorful sunset across the rolling prairie. If you set some arbitrary end as your goal you will mostly be disappointed if you every reach it. Though photographs from atop a mountain or down a prairie trail are well worth capturing. These are not reasons I go in search of experiences. 

For the most part and for most who pursue such activities and accompanying photographs these are but moments of accomplishments. The “proof” so to speak of their purpose. The images I attempt to capture that eventually become photographs are not proof that I was at a particular place at a particular time. But rather an attempt to understand more. More of what I desire, more of what I seek. 

What is that understanding or desire most will wonder? Not to sound too pretentious, but it is simply living. Living the life that we all must find for ourselves. A life of wonder, peace, and an understanding of all things. It is not enough to read about such things. It is not enough to dream about such things. As long as it is within my power to be active and to actively participate in my own life I must. 

There are many times I am out in nature camera ready to go and I come away with nothing. It is not uncommon to spend an entire day in the peace and solitude of nature and never get the camera out. Though I may be witness to many great and wonderful things capturing it with a camera is not the purpose. Many times I know I could never translate the experience into a meaningful photograph. The feel of the air, the smell of my surroundings, the sounds of the cicadas, birds, and crickets. Other senses come into play when I allow my thoughts freedom to explore as well. A photograph does not allow for these other senses to come in to play. When these times take place I can forget I even have a camera. Trying to photograph such experiences would take away from the experience itself. There must be something else that motivates me to capture it with the camera. 

One should not only photograph things for what they are but for what else they are. – Minor White

Within each experience there seems to be moments of clarity. These can and do happen briefly. Some will last briefly, some will linger for minutes, hours, days, and some I have come to realize, will last forever. This lasting forever does not happen just because I was there. It seems to go much deeper. A culmination of previous times and experiences that, at the time, seemed somewhat unimportant. 

It can be like reading a great novel. There are pages even chapters that are less exciting than others. They seem somewhat boring compared to the overall story. It is easy to stop at these points thinking it is not worth continuing. In life, at least within my life, these boring or uninspiring times lay a greater foundation to the overall story. They become necessary so I can have a sense of comparison. There is a saying that I have heard for years. “If everything is an emergency then nothing is an emergency”. Or to put it into my own context, “if everything is spectacular and exciting then nothing is spectacular and exciting”. 

So it goes, the continuous journey of life. Down the boring roads to the great beyond. What lies ahead is simply unknown. Many unspectacular sights and less than impressive experiences I’m sure. But somewhere mixed in with the unspectacular and boring will be something spectacular. It is up to me to find these times through exposure to new experiences.  Some could say it is faith, some could say it is fate. Regardless of unnecessary descriptions it exists. Embrace the common, the boring, the uninspiring. Embrace it all as they are each a part of the picture. 

It is up to each one of us to find that, which through shear determination and unwavering belief does exists. It is only when we have seen darkness can we appreciate how wonderful the light is. 

There is no enlightenment outside of daily life. – Thich Nhat Hanh

Summer Prairie

Prairie Celebration | ©Brad Mangas


Celebrate The Ordinary