As part of my appreciation of nature, my Armchair Zen philosophy of observing the natural wonders of this world, I shoot a lot of photographs. I travel around the state and sometimes into surrounding states for work, and there are beautiful, fascinating, captivating photo opportunities on every corner.
Driving by Weaver lake one morning, I stopped for just a minute, and shot these frames of Canada geese. There were a few other shots from the same spot the same morning. The geese taking off from the water would be what I call the Shot-of-the day.
Driving along, the sights of this amazing world mesmerize and call to me, and I’ll stop to take a couple shots when I can.
Sometimes, however, I get stuck in a gotta-get-there mode. No time to stop. Like the engineer on the train in The Polar Express, I’m watching the clock, “We’re gonna be late.”.
For someone practicing a Universal Zen, where our timeline stretches fourteen-and-a-half billion years from the big bang to today, I am still sometimes distracted and fixated on that clock.
Sometimes it’s just the baggage of this crazy unnatural world we’re forced to live in. Folks at work, at meetings, expect you to be mindful of the clock. Folks at home need to plan after-work activities or dinner, and expect you to be consistent on your arrival time. (Sadly, I’m very predictable in this area. Far from the free-wheeling universe-exploring freebody I’d prefer to be.)
Too many times I drive right past a great shot-of-the-day because I’m obsessed with that clock.
On better days, I can grab my zen by the horns and tell myself “It’ll be just a minute.”
How better to spend that minute? Why not “stop to smell the roses”, or at least take a snapshot of them! How many more minutes will be filled with the joy of observing the image, and within that simple observation is the recollection of that moment in time when the photo was taken. Sometimes there’s a story of how I got there or how many times I’d driven past the same thing without noticing, without stopping.
Take the time to take time. Take the time to say “just a minute”. Slow down. Break free from the clock whenever you can and go seek your photo, your fish, your mountaintop, your vista, your friend, your meeting place. Your shot-of-the-day may be a handshake, a minute together, a laugh, a good cup of coffee or a lousy hot dog under an umbrella-covered cart.
Take your shot-of-the-day when it inspires you. Don’t be distracted by that clock, racing you to the finish line. Slow and steady won the race for the tortoise, after all.
The tide waits for no one. The tide has never heard of “time”, can’t comprehend it, and would laugh at us if it could. The little girl above is my granddaughter Elizabeth. She just keeps growing no matter how I wish she’d slow down. She no longer has the parted baby teeth of the jack-o-lantern in costume. If I didn’t take the minute back then, I wouldn’t have this photo, which bears with it the memory of that fall day, the reminder of that sweet “baby” smile.
This little girl has her shirt filled with cherry tomatoes. My daughter Kerry. She’s now an “Agricultural Entrepreneur”, as I like to call her. A farmer. Here she is barely five years old, with the same gap-toothed smile as her grandniece. She’s twenty-nine now, and runs a successful farm growing vegetables and flowers.
Glad I didn’t miss that moment, that photograph. Glad I took the time to snap that. A memory of time past.
In the larger scheme of my life, it was indeed “just a minute”.
Be at peace,