Longshot

The Daily Prompt today is Against All Odds for writers and Longshot for photographers. The idea is for us to write “about a situation where you’d hoped against all hope, where the odds were completely stacked against you, yet you triumphed.” My initial thought was to just do this photograph as a ‘longshot’ because the ‘against all odds’ didn’t resonate with me. I had times that were tough, when I thought the odds were stacked against me, but getting through them didn’t feel like a triumph. It was what I had to do. Period. Tough times are the balance to the easy times, no trophies expected.

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I am at the age of almost-70 and my developmental task is to look back 0n my life and come to terms with how it turned out. The easy times are a slam dunk; no need to come to terms with those years. What is left are those blocks of time when everything fell apart, when fate struck me down, when life wasn’t as I wanted it.  We all have them, times when we feel wounded, stuck, angry, afraid.

How many times have I said “I don’t need this!” I didn’t want those tough times, my life would have been better without them. I didn’t want to go down that road, tread that path. They were unwanted twists and turns in the plot of my life story. During the really bad times my fear was lodged in the pit of my stomach. There was that hollow feeling that life was over, life would never get better.

Of course, when I went through those tough times I was in the middle of my unfolding life story, not at the end – not yet. I was in the long, ongoing process of writing my life script, of becoming who I am. (Does our life story develop us or do we develop our life story?) Where I was and what was happening to me wasn’t congruent with what I felt I needed or how I thought about myself.

In those early adult years I took control of my life and knew what was expected of me. I came of age before the sexual revolution, before women demanded choices. I didn’t have many choices but I was in control – is that a non sequitur? As I look back, does it matter if I wanted to marry and have kids or did it because it was the expected thing to do?

I want to believe my daughters benefited from all those burned bras. One chose to have a career without marriage, the other married, had kids, and put her career on hold. I wonder if they will look back and wonder if they made the right decisions. Both had times of suffering and frustration along the way, both had times of joy and satisfaction. Will they have regrets, will they look back with a sense of integrity?

There was another life that I might have had, but I am having this one.     Kazuo Ishiguro

How different my perspective is at almost-70 than at earlier times. In earlier times that hollow feeling of fear in my stomach, the fear that my life would never get back on track, was understandable. I had no way of knowing what the future would hold.

Our view of the future is finite; sometimes we can see over the next hill, sometimes not, and sometimes not very clearly. Sometimes we distort our vision. We make our life decisions blindly – decisions to act or not, to stand steady or bend. My decisions were somewhere in the shadows between dreams outside my awareness and family needs grounded in reality.

As my life story unfolded I pushed hard to arrive, whatever that means. I was impatient for whatever it was that I was after. I was always mindful of what I wanted to be and do when I grew up, whenever that is. Sometimes I couldn’t go down a path, and sometimes the only path available was one that wasn’t in the plan. You know, that shadowy plan that would lead to that place called arrived.  I enjoyed some sojourns at arrived but they seemed short, probably because sojourns in the mud-holes of life seemed so long.

Now that I am almost-70 and looking back over the landscape of my life, I see that all was necessary. Somewhere in the landscape of the last half of my life, these paths have woven together into a beautiful pattern. I can see that no path was for naught, each was needed for my life to have integrity in the end.

I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be. Douglas Adams

I have been writing like I have arrived, at the end. This almost-70 age is fast becoming 70. It occupies a lot of my thinking, not in a dreaded way, but in a way that means it is significant. Once again I am wondering what the future holds but I can’t see clearly. Once again I am wondering what I need to do to arrive, now that I see death on the horizon of my life story. I am worried about the inevitables of aging – losing my husband, leaving my husband, children getting really sick, cancer. My goal has been to grow old gracefully but now that I’m here I don’t know what graceful looks like. What I do know is that I have a wonderful Lord to lead me, and I come from a long line of very strong women.

That is probably enough for me to make it to my final arrival, but if anyone out there knows how to be 70-something gracefully, I would like to hear from you.

To hear more stories you can visit the Daily Post:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/daily-prompt-against-all-odds/

Can You Tell Me Who I Am?

Botanical Gardens 186

Sherry Galey did a post where she shows the results of some post-editing on a photo, showing the before and after. I commented that I liked the result – that she had made it look like her. I don’t know Sherry well at all, but I have started to get a feel for who she is through following her blog. Sherry and I exchanged comments and it got me thinking.

I have heard people say that when someone says something about another person it says more about the speaker than the person being talked about. Is the same true for our posts. I do some posts that are about me – where I deliberately tell you about my experiences and my thoughts, my struggles and my triumphs, my pains and my joys. I always feel a bit of anxiety when I click that publish button when I do these posts. I question whether I want to tell you that much about me. If I let you see the real me, what will you do with it?

Do all of my other posts reflect who I am as well? I have chosen to follow a lot of photography blogs because this is an old interest that is freshly budding in me. And I like to post my photography and usually a few lines, a story, to go with it. I didn’t know I liked to tell stories until my doctor mentioned that he always likes to hear my stories. I didn’t think I was telling stories – I was just telling him about my fun experiences.

Maybe what we post tells people a whole lot about who we are. The brilliant people behind the scenes at Word Press are continually helping us think about how to set up our blog in a way that represents who we are and what we want to accomplish. In the same way, what we post not only presents what interests us, but also how we make sense of the world. We tell people how we make meaning of what we hear and see and think, and it is meaning-making that defines us.

All writers know that the written word represents the writer’s interpretation of his/her world. So my stories are telling you how I see the world. Does not our photographs do the same? Before the age of photography, paintings were commissioned to present reality, to record history. Now photography is used to record these same types of reality. Did not the discipline of science teach us that we can be objective – removed so that the scientist only records what is objective – not our subjective?

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More recent thinking brings objectivity into question. Our photos can never be the totally objective portrayal of reality. By the time we post them, we have already imposed our subjective choice of what to photograph and how we frame it. I do some post-editing – even as I tell myself that I am only attempting to make the photograph more true to what I really see. Chew on that one for a few minutes. I might change color a little bit, or clarity, light, dark, shadows, and of course focus of interest with cropping. I tell myself that I am correcting errors from camera processing or from my lack of skill in getting correct settings. Am I also not imposing my beliefs about what reality should look like? If I am doing this, then I am telling you how I see the world (or want to see the world) as much as I am showing you how my lens sees the world. I am showing you me, one world image at a time.

And when I add narrative, I am showing you me one sentence at a time. But that is a post I will leave to the writers.  I have shown you enough of me already – and I fear that showing you the depths of my thinking will bore you. For those of you who made it this far, I send you my deep gratitude. Now I think I’ll go back and read some of my previous posts to find out who I really am. A new take on reflecting on my belly button.

If you want to follow up on some of the WP tips on creating nice blogs here are some links I found useful:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/01/30/visualbranding/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/12/11/about-page-201-the-meat-grinder/

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/28/aboutpage/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflection

Reflected sunset on Gulf of Mexico

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To view more images of reflections and to join to fun click on following link:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/30/reflections/

Weekly Photo Challenge: Renewal

I have been thinking a lot about this challenge and nothing seemed to click. Then I reached that 4:00 slump that I experience every day. What I needed was a big glass of ice water to refresh and renew me.

Water does renew and refresh but the ice thing is pretty much a “states” thing. Most people around the world don’t like their drinks iced. I would say that most of the world uses this as their afternoon renewal.

I think the Swiss have the best way, however. They use chocolate. But then I’ve been known to use all three which is the best of all worlds.

For more information on how you can participate and to see more entries go to:

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2012/11/08/weekly-photo-challenge-renewal/