For as long as I can remember, I have had this driving need to go. I don’t need to have a specific destination, I just need to go, as if I am always searching and never finding. There are times when this need, this desire becomes all-consuming to the point where I feel claustrophobic and start becoming unsettled and fidgety – both in mind and body. This desire is often accompanied by my need to be alone, to reflect, to get reacquainted with myself.
And remember, no matter where you go, there you are.
I am very outgoing; however, I am also very introverted. I believe the juxtaposition of those two traits is a direct cause of the need I have to be going, but going alone. I love to be around people, and I enjoy the camaraderie and friendships I have; however, to me, they are wearing and unsettling to which the solution is to go. Go be by myself. Go to nature; even if all that entails is sitting at the local wildlife marsh turnout smelling the clean air and listening to the silence.
Our culture made a virtue of living only as extroverts. We discouraged the inner journey, the quest for a center. So we lost our center and have to find it again.
~ Anaïs Nin
The winter-time is particularly difficult for me at times because the valley where I live (the Grande Ronde Valley in Oregon) often becomes snowed-in with closed freeways. Even when the roads are clear, there is an overwhelming feeling of closing-in for me, as my favorite haunts for rejuvenation are inaccessible due to the snow pack, and I find it very difficult to be able to make those short trips to go and breathe.
Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.
~ Standing Bear
I am in my final year at the University, and I am feeling the stress of all that entails: finding a job, finishing all my required courses, etc. My life has been defined so greatly by school that I am finding myself battling to re-discover my sense of self, where I fit, and how it all defines me. I will no longer be Amy the Student, and I am on the path to writing the next chapter of my identity and self.
Part of these last two terms I am taking some photography classes – ones that address specific skills I feel I need to learn or brush up on. As part of my current assignment, I took my camera out tonight to just play. I can’t remember the last time I did that. In the process of “playing”, I took the images in this post. They are not perfect by any means; they are technically flawed in many ways.
Two things happened while I was out tonight, and it is only with reflection after the experience that I am able to fully understand them. The first is that I was able to go – I went to the mountains, granted just right along the freeway, but I was able to get to nature. The second, and probably most important, is that with all the imperfections and mistakes these images hold, I have rediscovered a very important part of myself and my identity.
I love making pictures, I have since I was a little girl and received my first camera. Making pictures and trying to capture that one fleeting moment, detail, and beauty energizes me, it feeds my desire, and, after my experience tonight, I believe it is a vital part of me and my self. It is one of very few things that keep my inner light vibrant and blinding.
Continuing my drive to go, explore, and reflect will only fuel my success with art and with continuing to define Amy.
I believe that there is a subtle magnetism in Nature, which, if we unconsciously yield to it, will direct us aright.
~ Henry David Thoreau