[little disclaimer: this is an unusual post in that it is about something I've done on in my own life rather than something I've done with clients, like, you know, shooting their weddings. to return to regular programming, scroll down, or peruse the site at your leisure.]
I just spent ten days in the USA. I suppose after a big wedding season rollin' with the big kids, I felt like I needed/deserved a little break.
The last time I was in the USA (five years ago) was pretty tumultuous. My beloved granddad Ronnie had only been gone for four months. I had a part time job, no idea what I was doing, and ended up in a not-totally-unexpected breakup. The only thing I'd change about that list now is that I sure would love to still be regularly visiting Ronnie and Ella and not just Ella (bless her). I'd love a beer with him, or a cuddle, or to hold his hand or write some limericks.
Then I got home and Noah and Aaron passed away (and I just don't think that'll ever be okay), and then a steady line dearly beloved elderly folks in my family, dotted around the globe, finished their time on earth too. I ran away to England and was supposed to stay. I didn't stay. What an unsteady time; a chapter that made me mostly quiet, eventually. I lost the need to write in grand verse about how I felt (largely because my feelings were either far too intense to articulate, or they didn't exist at all). Either that, or I gained the ability to sssshhh. To be quiet and listen and watch rather than to make myself be known at the expense of two or three thousands words that might be better left unsaid. I connected with people one on one. And if I shared myself with them, it was with caution. Deliberate, or something like it.
This all feels like a transition. Different to being 19 or 22 with a constant stream of ideas and thoughts and feelings that HAVE TO GET OUT. And I don't criticise that in anyone (except maybe the woman I sat behind on my flight from San Francisco to Denver at the beginning of my trip who would not shut the hell up about her daughter's baby shower slash Diaper Genie slash gift-card- for-nursery-dresser as though her daughter was the only woman on earth who had ever had a baby) because I think it's probably on the way to something else anyway, extrapolating to understand. But for me it has been a matter of trusting my instincts. And this instinct was to watch and listen rather than to create something new on my own, or to share something that exists ONLY BECAUSE I SAY SO. That didn't feel right. And it has been that watching and listening that has become the driving force of Who I Am when I'm following love and action and quiet on someone's wedding day. Push. Push. Push. What's happening? What is really happening? Don't invent. See.
Incidentally, this is all a little more drawn out than I had planned. I'd like my pictures to speak for themselves, for the most part. But I finally ventured back to a place that once upon a time felt a lot like home. A place where I went to high school and had an experience unlike anyone in my community in Tasmania, even in my own family. I spent time with treasured friends; people who coloured my adolescence and encouraged me and made me laugh and with whom I share so many fond memories and so many jokes. The family I made for myself long before I became a grown up who has a three bedroom house or a car payment or Friday knockoff drinks or a hundred dollar haircut.
I stood in the big wide field where my high school once was. The wind still swirled the same; still grabbed the big trees by their necks and swooped down past the mountains and hit my face in the same way. But the building, where I learned so much (but also so little) of What I Know Now, is gone. Replaced by grass. The football field where I was once upon a time a Marching Pioneer: dandelions. Knocked over goal posts. A tired old score board, once sponsored by Pepsi. Graffitied bleachers. The track where we'd stand and play On Watauga or HEY in the cold fall rain, shredded. No shadow cast upon the field by a school that I guess wasn't so big after all. The whole thing was a battle ground; where teenage boys were once held up as heroes. Where kids like me got picked last in gym (except for that week we played soccer and the boys realised I was actually pretty good at soccer). And where now, time has won against the old WHS. Nature has taken over.
AND, I saw Brandi Carlile live. Twice. And I am still processing that because hot damn that girl (and her compatriots Phil and Tim Hanseroth) has some pipes and heart. They have walked me through some tough shit these past five years or so, and to see her live... Oh my. I don't think I've seen anyone who knows her way around the stage and the world in quite this way. And what else can I say but: what an incomparably special thing it is to have a dream come true (thanks Mama).
I spent the weekend in San Francisco on my way out (a contrast), and felt pretty revved up about how I feel, about who I am, and the kinds of people who I understand because they understand me too. Good conversations and company and a lot o' smilin' and inspiration. And burritos. And sushi.
Take what I have to share. See it, I guess. If you want to. If I took a picture, it was because I was lost in a time capsule, and for whatever reason, the subjects (animate or not) felt like they were linked to something I know or something I love (or both). Or maybe just something new.
(For interest, 95% of the pictures were taken with my Fuji x100s which made for a very covert and present experience, different to luggin' the big rig around. I almost didn't even need to take that, but oh well).