This scene on Lake Padden (south of Bellingham, Washington – a place without snow) is winter to me: the naked trees, the fog, the way the neglected dock slopes into the water.
What is winter like where you live?
The clouds that settled over Bellingham Bay on Sunday morning began drifting into the Chuckanut Mountains by early afternoon. I was driving south on Chuckanut Drive at the time, through the place where the sunshine met the fog, breathless at the beauty of it and desperate for a place to pull over with my camera.
When I finally found a safe place, I thought, “The only thing that could make this shot better is a subject – a car or a bicyclist, maybe – driving through the light.”
Not even 60 seconds later, a car pulled up and a man said to me, “Great lighting! Do you want to use my girlfriend as a model?”
“Umm…yes…” Even now, with the picture as proof, I can’t believe that really happened.
Sometimes a prayer, a wish, or some seemingly insignificant request whispered up to God, does get answered.
This past week was a difficult one for me. I am close to finishing my book and wondering how my Word Babies will be accepted by the world. Will people buy my book? If they do buy it, will they like it? What if it gets ripped apart in book clubs? What if it doesn’t get published at all?!
Part of my anxiety stems from the fact I just entered the first four chapters into the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest. Contest finalists will be announced in June, and the winners will be announced at the writers conference in July. Finalists will receive ribbons to wear at the conference, and I find that quite glamorous – being marked for greatness by the literary powers that be, hobnobbing with agents and editors, and proudly discussing my written offspring. So now, of course, I’m worried about not being awarded a ribbon and am already fraught with jealousy over a yet to be determined list of winners. (insert loud, exasperated sigh.)
This morning I boarded a ferry to Lummi Island to spend part of the day writing at the Beach Store Cafe. It’s the perfect place to grab a chair by the window and let those worries recede into the waters of Hale Passage. Sitting here and reading over my manuscript, I am reminded that I write because I love writing, not because of finalist ribbons or promise of where my Word Babies will travel. Writing is like steering a boat through fog. I don’t know if the waters ahead are smooth or turbulent. I don’t know if I’ll even find the shore or how long I’ll be sailing. But, I keep moving forward.
What’s the alternative? To stay docked?
I am assured that all writers have doubts about their craft. Does anyone else out there worry so much about things that haven’t even happened?
When I threw open my blinds this morning, I saw fog blanketing the Cashel countryside. This was exactly what I had been hoping for. I wanted to revisit Hore Abbey and capture it in fog, so I wasted no time getting ready and driving over there. Lucky for me, there was no one on the road or at the crumbling abbey; I had it all to myself – a photographers dream!
I had a particular shot in mind, and it required hiking out into a cow pasture. As I sloshed further out into the marshy field, I had the faintest idea that I may have made a bad choice. I tried to stay on the most solid-looking pieces of turf but soon realized I was in big, muddy trouble. And then it happened…My right foot sunk deep into a slurping pool of something I can only assume came from the back-end of a cow. Muddy hell!
Of course, I couldn’t let a little bog juice spoil my fun. Even though my shoes and pant legs, up to my knees, were soaked, I carried on and got my shot. Photographers will understand – certain sacrifices must be made in the name of composition.