For a long while I’ve felt a bit of a fraud for thinking of myself (or having others think of me) as a photographer given how few images I’ve been making and how little that concerned me. The scant few rolls of film I have shot sit undeveloped in my desk drawer percolating . . . awaiting my curiosity, critical mass, or their turn on my to-do list.
Sure, I’ve had dry-spells before. I’ve written about them here. What’s different about this one is that I was too involved with other things to even note it. Last year I truly only thought about photography when my turn came up on Viewfinders and I had to do a mad scramble for content.
So as 2020 wound down, and my favorite corners of the internet started to light up with posts about peoples’ word of the year, I thought one might be helpful to get my creativity flowing again. But then I thought again and realized I didn’t have the energy to conjure one.
My word for 2020 was Commit, and, Whoa Nellie!, did I ever, but not at all in the ways or to that which I’d expected and hoped at the outset. Words of the year are funny that way. 2020 and its commitments had pretty well wrung me dry. I had little desire to force anything unessential, so I let the background chatter about WOTY fade out. Friends, for me, that’s the way to do it. Because as soon as I let it go, my word announced itself
Last year my garden sustained me through an increasingly purgatorial existence of backs-and-forths between lockdown in my house and the worrying business of hospitals and rehabs with my mother as her health failed.
Flowers may appear fragile, but observe them closely, and you will mark their resilience. They flourish with a little care, the right light, and water, but even if they aren’t perfectly sited or properly nurtured they will do what they will to take what they need from the environment in order to bloom. They are color, energy, shape, motion, inspiration and food. After the year we’ve all had “Flower” feels like a welcome reprieve, even an antidote, and it’s not lost on me that there’s something slightly transgressive about deciding to Flower at the age when society seems to be telling me it’s time to fade away and disappear.
How will I Flower? Who knows. That’s part of the joy of this exercise. I think of my word as I daydream about the changes I’ll make in my garden this spring; I’m actively prioritizing reading classics over contemporary novels, because I know from experience they provide me more nourishment, and at least once each week I’m cooking exactly what I want for dinner regardless of whom I know will greet the meal with displeasure. It’s not a big thing, but for someone who has spent most of the past few decades focusing her energy on meeting everyone else’s needs and desires, trust me, it’s a sea change. I’m making getting out for a walk more of a priority than it’s been for me in ages . . .
Sometimes I even take a camera.
Take good care,