Prairie Dropseed

©Brad Mangas

While reading a post entitled; I’m Old But I Can Write at I came to this sentence: “A lot of writing these days is done too quickly, hammered out in record time because everyone — even old people like me — are in a huge goddam hurry all the time. Or they’re being pushed to hurry up. The result is the same — rushing through things simply to get them done and over which produces less than good results.”

“Well, needless to say I immediately thought about photography and how the word “writing” could be replaced with “photography” and it would be just as accurate. There is such a mind boggling amount of photos being placed online today that the whole concept of photography has changed. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry (and Mary) is a photographer today. I’m not saying it isn’t good that people are noticing things and willing to pull a camera out to capture it, but when I look at the plethora of images online one question remains the same, why?

The world seems to have enough pictures of (fill in your subject) so it is not about exposing the world to this new unseen landscape, city, night sky, wildlife, people going about their lives, and the list could go on. Have we become so numb to living that most is just ignored? That seems impossible yet there it is, right in front of us every day. There are those who are not numb and choose to hold curiosity of life and place high in importance. But sadly many do not. Extremes must now be sought after. As the addict requires more and more of their chosen drug to feel good so goes the way of the masses. It no longer brings them joy to sit and watch the rain gently fall through the trees, smell the wet soil on a cool spring morning, see a simple field of small wildflowers, marvel at the flutter of Cottonwood seeds flying through the air, or be excited by the sound of a Nighthawk booming it’s call as the sun sets over the summer prairie. They seek “excitement” which seems many times to be based around social events where there is typically one common mindset.

Life has become fast, and the faster it moves the more one fails to notice the nuances that put life in life. It is an oxymoron of sorts. A need to do more, get more, possess more may the greatest barrier to living more. Returning me to the question, why? Why do we have this innate desire for more and when did it replace contentment, gratitude, and thankfulness. I am quite sure I have personally lived through this change and it has happened right before my eyes. It may have taken the better part of 20 years but it seems to have happened.

There is value in self reflection as difficult as many find it to be. We are our own worst critics. As we should be. We also need to realize we are masters of our own lives, thoughts, and actions.  We grant ourselves permission to take action or to ignore whatever we choose. We should not ignore ourselves but face the realities that keep us from living and strive to eliminate them. I am not delusional, and I do not believe humans will every live in a utopia. But I do know the value in living a purposeful life and the need to slow down to discover it.