Although I feel that the Lotus series is complete as it is, I have been curious to see what might be discovered as the plants begin their new season. Here, in central Texas, we have already had a couple of 90 degree days and this past week, a couple more in the 80’s. The trees are in bloom and so spring has come already–as it does every year at this time.
So, this weekend, I traveled back to the area where I found the Lotus to see if there might be something happening with new growth. On my last trip, almost everything was near its final stages of decomposition. But there was still enough of a presence to know that something significant had been there.
As I got out of the car and put on my boots, I could tell the lake was up quite a bit from all of the rain we have had this winter. As I walked around the point, there was no sign of any growth in the water and had I not known what had been there–and would be again– I could not have imagined it. The water was just an open, flat surface with maybe a reed here or there sticking up. The rise in the water was severe in places with more gradually sloping banks and those trees I had clung to while leaning out to make an image were now 5-10 feet, or more, out into the lake itself.
The open shore that had been there with the lower water levels was almost all gone now. To move around the inlet meant more time in the forest thicket trying to find a path. Where I could walk along the water’s edge, there were no signs of new growth under the water save a few grasses that might have been covered by the most recent rains. I had to wonder if any new growth of Lotus wouldn’t be so far out in the water now that I couldn’t see it from this current shoreline even if it was there. There was so much more water that the small peninsula that had protruded near the mouth of the inlet–and had gotten rather soggy with the late fall rains–was now completely out of sight.
When I finally made it around the end of the inlet–actually having to get up onto the road there to avoid the water–it struck me how if I had originally come here in the early months of my landscape project (about this time last year), I would never have discovered the Lotus. I doubt that if this had been my first trip, I would have even ventured into this inlet at all, given the difficulty of the terrain. The Texas landscape project has been more of a sampling, finding new areas in different parts of the state rather than concentrating on any one place. So, even though THIS is where I broke that methodology, it was completely the timing of that first visit that caused the Lotus series to be created. Based on what I saw this weekend, there wouldn’t have been enough different to interest me to make a return visit.
This realization started a whole cascade of thought within me. How there is a sense of serendipity to what happens within our lives. That, although we have to put ourselves in a position for things to happen, we really never know what will–or wont, or could have or might–happen. Every time we take a step forward, something happens behind us and when we wait, we miss what is happening just around the next corner. How can we know which is better, all we know is what is right before us at that moment in time. We stay because it resonates or decide to move when it doesn’t.
A long time ago, for my personal work, I adopted a working method that was based on the premise that there was more to be missed by waiting than what could be found by doing so. A short wait for a cloud to clear or cover the sun was fine, but my own interests were rarely subject to what might happen versus what was happening. That when shooting landscape, waiting for light–or even rushing to return to get a certain light–was generally less productive than working on what was in front of me or what I might find when moving from place to place. Even if I had some idea of what might be ahead, it was always more productive to pay attention to what could be discovered on the way than to rush somewhere. I had a trust about it that if something was there for me, I would find it when I was there.
There is a quote by Minor White that goes: “No matter how slow the film, Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer It has chosen.” I like to think that that Spirit also reveals itself to the photographer it has chosen.