The Dance of the Sanguine
There is one very special person in my life who I can always count on when the earth feels like it’s about to fall out of orbit. The pressure in the atmosphere hangs heavy and my perspective shifts sideways as I struggle to determine which way is my true North. Much with the flow of all things in nature, my life is not without this natural cycle of highs and lows. Highs that push through the forces of gravity where one can hear the angels sing and lows heavy and dark enough to sink my own personal Titanic. Yes, this is my life. Perhaps the struggle of most everyone and certainly that of those who are more creatively inclined.
But on those days that are particularly dark, I march right into her office and explain my plight; for she always has the perfect response. Perfect in the sense of taking one sharp inhale of spearmint and eucalyptus and instantly you feel invigorated and alive from the inside out…reawakening your senses and providing a certainty of place in this world. If even just for a second. And in that moment, the realization hits that life isn’t really that bad. One inconvenience merely suggests there is an opportunity for something even greater.
If you are somewhat like me, you might think – not everything is rainbows and unicorns! How can one continuously live on a cloud, surveying the horizon above the storms?
The answer, I can only assume, is in the power of positivity.
For example: I might say – Ugh! I am SO sick of the rain! When will the sun return?! (Never mind that we’ve been experiencing the lovely Seattle weather here in Virginia for the last three weeks!) To which she might immediately respond with (and has), Oh no, but we needed the rain. Look at the trees and how they sway and glisten. Look at how green the grass is…the Earth was thirsty.
I might say – My car died. My beloved MINI Cooper, (whom I affectionately named Fergie), died this weekend. Her clutch gave out on one final hurrah on Interstate 395. Her pick up and go got up and left! And sadly, it costs more to replace it than the car is currently worth. (Face palm). Her response to my dejected dilemma – This is fantastic! Now you can pick out the car you want. You’ll have something reliable. And with the interest rates these days, you can walk out of there with hardly any money down and a decent monthly payment…no problem!
Even though that last example was a little tough to swallow, I have to step back and respect her ability to turn any frown upside down no matter how ridiculous I thought the comment was at the moment or how flustered and defeated I felt on the inside. Her abilities also apply to those beyond the scope of what one might consider trivial. My ever-changing landscapes and emotional roller coasters also elicit similar responses from her; all laced with an ounce of wisdom and warm blanket to comfort the cold recesses of my unsettled mind.
There does reside inside a part of me that wishes I could harness this super power. Yes, I did just refer to optimism as a super power. It’s so easy to jump on the negative bandwagon. Once one person starts down that path, everyone hops on to the tunes of woe is me and it’s all downhill to Pity Town. There must be some genetic disposition inside most of us to paint the world black instead of recognizing there are two sides to every coin and turning towards the light. We do have the power inside ourselves to make a choice. Really it’s an attitude adjustment; accept and adapt or brood and sulk. (Yes, I can see my 16 year old self rolling her eyes right now.) Perhaps like any good habit, consistency, especially in the face of adversity, is necessary for continued practice. Easier said than done.
I wonder if optimism has the ability to foster and cultivate in the same way that pessimism does. Can paying it forward perpetually exist? Or does it take one naysayer, one apple to ruin the barrel as they say, to watch the walls tumble down?
And while I let you ponder on that last question, I will leave you with this quote. Perhaps, since I aspire to harness a level of positivity, but know deep down it’s not in my genetic coding, I do feel a certain pull towards this line of thinking…
“I’m not interested in blind optimism, but I am very interested in optimism that is hard-won, that takes on darkness and then says, This is not enough!” ~Colum McCann
Thank you, my dear friend, for always being that beam of light that shines proudly through the dark clouds with purpose and intent.
Behind the Scenes of a Conceptual Photograph
The Dance of the Sanguine culminated from the same trip up to Watkins Glen, NY with other talented photographers. It was very early that morning when the alarm sounded out and woke our room of four sleeping girls – containing even two, yes I said TWO, Maris(s)a’s! Factor in the time of the month, November, and the early hour, it was just a bit nippy with temperatures below freezing. But there are those times when I recognize that sleeping in means I miss out on opportunities…like photographing the incredibly talented Shelby Robinson at sunrise while she blows bubbles into the breeze over the lake. The light slow rising on the hills in the distance. She was a sweetheart, willingly modeling in a paper thin dress, despite the freezing temperatures, despite the fact that she flew from Georgia where they rarely experience that kind of cold so early in the season.
I honestly wasn’t quite sure what I would attempt that morning, but I headed out with my camera and a bottle of bubbles, as I had this idea floating in my head for quite some time now. Once I surveyed the landscape, it was a no brainer.
Perhaps the early bird does know what he’s doing after all.
Here are just a few behind the scenes images…never mind the ridiculous number of frames I shot trying to catch the elusive bubbles over the water!
Thanks, Shelby, for being such a rock star! It was a pleasure meeting you.