Often, when I write here, I feel like I’m writing for no one in particular. Sometimes the analytics confirms this. But that’s besides the point.
When I built this blog and paid the whopping fifteen dollars to have my own domain name, I did so knowing full well that it wasn’t going to serve my ego very well. The simple design, the undeclared authorship, it’s all designed to cut away the trappings and reveal unobscured what I write here, so that I have little place to hide. It was designed as such because, as MontBell puts it, function is beauty. The irreducible is the most full.
This photograph is one that I took on one of my first extended trips through the mountains. I was 14 at the time. I still remember the exact place in which I took it, on a point in the Olympic mountains of Washington. To this day, I still think that it’s one of the best images I’ve ever made of life in the mountains, and it was made without that intention. The story that I have for it I wove around it years after I took it with my dad’s 35mm all-manual Vivitar, but that simply means that I can’t claim authorship to how it speaks.
There’s a lot in this photo for me about our relationship to the mountains, how we enjoy them with others, about teaching a life of travel, about yearning and direction. But I prefer not to break it down. Looking at this photo just pulls at my heartstrings in just the right way.
Summer’s coming. I can feel it, smell it even, during warmer evening moments. This transition always stirs up the crazies in me and forces me to ask too many questions. This year I hope to avoid thinking about those questions too much, not because they’re not important, but because it makes a lot more sense to me now to understand things as a whole rather than to ask how the elements all fit together. Where am I going? Is this right job? Do I live in a good place? Should I run? Follow? Those sorts of questions I’ll relegate to my weaker moments if I can.
The me that took the photograph above couldn’t possibly have planned or envisioned the pathway that has brought me from there to here, because too much of what has made me who I am was a tangle of unforeseeable mistakes and happenstance. But it has been a path of increasing depth and satisfaction. For now, I know that on the whole I am headed where I need to go, and hopefully after another ten years I can understand my path with the same satisfaction and depth with which I see this photograph.