Preface: I want to make an effort to post consistently as well as honestly to this blog from now on. I say honestly because while I want this to be a space where I share my images, I also want this to be a place where I can share my personal thoughts. This is something that I wish I did when I first made the move from California to DC six years ago. A lot of changes happen when you pick up your life and move it somewhere else, and i’d like to document that process of change in writing as well.
There’s a strange thing that happens after making a decision that will change the path of your life. For a time, nothing changes at all. things go on as they usually do. The only difference being a somewhat vague, general awareness of the finiteness of the here and now. And even then the feeling only comes in fits of random intervals. For the most part, you go about the same habits; seeing the same people with little or no difference in action or acknowledgement of the changes that are to come; even going so far as to make plans that you know you won’t have time for before you go. Perhaps it’s just how we brace ourselves for what’s coming; pretending on the outside that things will stay the same even though you know that they won’t. But still you make the plans anyway, for that life you might have had if you didn’t leave.
early morning 10/8/16
Driving through the night here was somewhat of an interesting experience. Hundreds of windmills dotted the horizon, their blinking lights almost forming a spaceship of sorts. A little unnerving but oddly calming as well.
Limon, Colorado-I opened the curtains of my third floor hotel room and was oddly taken aback. The plains are vast. Not necessarily in a comforting “little house on the prairie” kind of way, but more like “German army slogging over the Russian steppe on their way to Stalingrad seeing nothing for days”. A kind of stark, dazed feeling really. Out here there is far more nature than humanity; the truck stops and fast food clusters stick out like eye sores amidst the plains that reach the horizon and beyond. You drive through the night for hours knowing it’s there right next to you, surrounding you on all sides. You can almost feel it just from how your car lights are the only sign of life around. and yet it still hits you in the morning when the sun is out and you see it for the first time. Somehow the way you imagined it (and you’d think it wouldn’t be hard to imagine) doesn’t encapsulate the scene.
Iv’e heard/read from different people recently of how “brave” i am for doing what I do. Whether that’s moving across the country for this job or opting to spend my days exploring new places. Don’t get me wrong, i understand that some of the decisions iv’e made lately are not entirely conventional (i cringe self depracatively even at that sentence, as I know of a lot of people who have done far more with far less than I have) but I really, really don’t want to romanticize what I do. My days and nights spent exploring new places when I’m not at work are at times an unhealthy impulse. The truth is that just spending a single day inside is a struggle for me. It’s not even a couple hours before cabin fever sets in and my motivation for any useful indoor activity drops to zero. I cannot for the life of me concentrate on anything. Case in point; I fidgeted and moved around a series of 10 photos I intended to send to a photo magazine contest for literally three hours today. Three hours. I should have had it done in 15 minutes. That’s how it is when I don’t have any particular agenda going for the day. If I don’t have a destination to be moving toward or an assignment to be working on then I’m a ship without sails. Days off are my absolute worst enemy. Hell. I don’t even have day’s off. I just have off days.
Now let me interrupt this narcicistic rant with a few more pictures…
What i’m trying to say is, My inability to take it easy or relax is not something to be proud of. If anything it’s kind of sad that I have such a built-in dissatisfaction with being stationary. There’s a part of me that wishes I could just sit down for once by myself in my apartment and not worry about what i’m doing; the photos I could be taking or what life events i’m missing out on because I’m not out in the world. I truly envy people that can do that. God that must feel nice. But I’m restless and neurotic, and that’s just the way I am. On the flip side, I don’t by any means lack pride in the things iv’e done. I have a ton of appreciation for the places iv’e been and the experiences iv’e been privileged enough to have. I just don’t want those experiences to go to my head too much either. I want to at least be honest with myself about what I do and why I do those things. And the truth is, not all of the reasons are inherently good, nor are they entirely bad. I don’t think my internal struggles are all that unique from what other people feel. I think we all struggle with a fear of complacency to some degree, the only difference is how it manifests itself in each of us.
Ive been here for 19 days, and yet it feels far, far longer than that. To think that it hasn’t even been a month since I packed up my apartment in DC, visited New Orleans, drove halfway across the country and started my job here, is crazy to me. The saying goes that time flies, but It’s amazing how much you can make of that time when you’re determined to. Things have been slowing down for sure; i feel myself settling into routine even after just these past couple weeks. But then there are those unique pleasures of being in a totally new place; just today I drove on a road into the black hills that I hadn’t driven on yet, and was totally amped by the things that I saw. A large lake park within city limits, a series of towering crimson red cliffs and a road that zigs and zags with rapid creek deep into the hills.
Already too much time has passed for me in wanting to put out a consistent blog. But I guess all you can do is forget about that and put out what you got when you got it.
So, where to start? It’s been a crazy last couple of weeks. It’s been two weeks and a day since I packed up my apartment, hit the road for New Orleans and drove from there across the country to start my new job as a staff photographer at the Journal in Rapid City.
More to come!