Boy, howdy! Woke up this morning and the winds were a-howlin’ through the trees. And d’you know, that’s not entirely a metaphorical expression. The sound was high-pitched and wailing, up and down as the wind gusted, yet with a deeper undertone as counterpoint and enhancement. It’s the kind of morning that’s ideal for curling up under warm covers, snugly cocooned against the frigid and wild world beyond your door.
Not an option if you’re engaged in a daily photographic series. (There are times when my own personal world seems to have narrowed to the tightrope walk between desiring the finished product with all my being and the constant urge to give up, sleep in, miss a day because who’s going to care anyway…?)
The text that greeted my eyes this AM didn’t help, either. “You be careful out there this morning. I know this is important to you, but no picture is worth your safety.”
Sounds caring? Sure. Sounds supportive? Maybe on the surface. But variable-direction winds of twenty mph gusting to thirty-five don’t actually make the Bluff any more dangerous than it is on any other day. The only difference, really, is bundling up a little better and positioning the tripod so that one leg is braced against the bulk of where the wind is coming from – the northwest, in this case.
So what was the actual (and probably subconscious), motivation for that text from a buddy who has several times presented obstacles and other reasons why I shouldn’t/can’t/won’t complete this project under the guise of ‘preparing me for disappointment’ and ‘expressing concern?’ Not going to speculate. Because the important bit is that I left my warm coccoon of soft blankies and made the trek.
And nine months from now, when I have made the decision to do the same Every. Single. Day, through winds roaring like a jet engine among the trees, through pelting rain and frost and thick snow and below-zero cold and sweltering humidity where just walking outside makes me start coughing, I will stand stronger, more confident, wiser, with a wealth of stories and pictures of skies that will never appear in the same way ever again. And victory once becomes as much a habit for victory again, and again, and again, as the habit of failure once, twice, and again.
Kind of makes me think of the eagles soaring this morning. See, they have to hunt, pretty much daily unless they find a roadkill windfall, but they don’t have to fly, especially not in a soaring pattern when the winds are fifteen mph and up. Yet they do. Five, ten, twenty, two dozen, they’re all kiting high and swooping low, wings held closer to the body as the winds get fiercer, stiffer. And you have to wonder: They must enjoy it (who wouldn’t?); but why fly only when the winds are whipping-fast, lashing branches, tearing the last of fall’s stubborn leaves from the trees? Perhaps they, too, are testing themselves against adversity in order to build strength.