It seems like I've know the phrase "There's more to life than meets the eye" forever. I can't remember not knowing it. And like a lot of truisms, it doesn't really mean anything without further thought.
I look a my garden often. I can see it through the back window at the studio. Mainly, it's a exercise in procrastination. I tell myself I'm thinking about things. But I'm really looking at the pretty flowers, birds in the bath, and how it all fits together so nicely. Hmmm, maybe there is more going on there than I realize.
My approach to gardening is what I call controlled chaos. I spread seeds now and then, but I pretty much let the plants decide where they want to grow. And it's fascinating. They organize themselves so beautifully. All I have to do is water occasionally and enjoy.
When the cat goes outside, she has a completely different experience than me. I watch her sniff the air. I never think to do that. She knows the hummingbird is perched in the tall bush on the east side of the fence. She patiently waits for it to call. And she seems to find it all very entertaining.
More often than I care to admit, I photograph this garden - but only after spending a few minutes experiencing it. And months later, those pictures remind me of how much I enjoy summer mornings at the studio. It's like hearing a song from your high school days and remembering that girl who made you blush.
I know people who are struggling with life right now. And instead of a garden, everything looks like a wall. They can't figure out how to break through it to make something happen.
I want to help. Even though I'm not the preaching type, I want to tell them that there's more to life than a canvas of obstacles. There's some sort of organizing power behind it. And if you gently push your finger against the surface, you might be able to feel the pulse. Then new ideas appear. It's a kind of magic, really.
This is what happens when I put the camera down for a moment. I have a better sense of what's going on behind the canvas. Then I bring it back up to my eye and take a picture. Now I have a bookmark for the moment.
I love photography. Because my pictures not only show me where I've been, they remind me of how I felt. There's magic behind those images. And when people say there's more to life than meets the eye, that's what I think they're talking about.