“It” is all there is. Striking the right relationship with “it,” is what it’s all about. “It” varies from person to person, and with individuals, over time. “It” might be NASCAR or bowling for some, and Neapolitan ice cream for others. The trick is to enjoy “it,” embrace “it,” love “it,” spend time with “it,” without losing ourselves in “it,” or being absorbed by “it.” We can eat too much chocolate and play too much golf.
How much is enough? How much is too much? Where do you draw the line? It’s hard to know about some lines until they have been crossed. But, at some point, we have to say, “That’s it for ‘it’ for a while.”
There has to be integration, balance, wholeness. We know what addiction does to us. We cannot live in the extremes, no matter how pleasant it may be to ignore the “Not It,” and devote ourselves exclusively to “It.” Moths seem to love the flame, but it can consume them.
We also have to catch ourselves in the act of thinking that there must be something in “it” beyond “it” for us—that if we love tennis, we should be on the circuit, or if we love to sing, we should be on the charts. We ruin the experience of “it” in thinking there should be some payoff to “it” beyond the joy of “it.” We lose “it” trying to soak “it” for more than the simple pleasure of “it.” If we think being a writer is more important than writing, for instance, we have been “blinded by the lights,” and have lost the point.
So. That’s it. Be alert to “it,” aware of “it,” sensitive to “it.” Spend time with “it.” Do “it.” Love “it.” Delight in “it.” Without becoming obsessive, compulsive, addicted—and, without trying to ride “it” to glory, stardom, wealth, and beyond. If you get that down, you’ll have it made.
After a while, you have enough photos of sunrise at Schwabacher Landing (in the Grand Tetons). At that point, you go somewhere else for sunrise, or you become very particular, waiting, watching for THE sunrise at Schwabacher Landing. You become a connoisseur of sunrises, grizzled, rumpled, leaning toward iconoclasm and curmudgeonhood. You say things like, “Ah, you think this is a good sunrise—you should have seen the one in May of ’86. Now THAT was a sunrise!” But, you keep looking for one to top that one.
You could do it like that, or you could decide that “that one” was good enough, and move on to something else, say, large flowered trillium in the Smokies, or lobster boats in the fog in Maine. At some point, you move on. Or die. When you get THE sunrise at Schwabacher Landing, you move on. Or, you keep going back to confirm the fact that you did, indeed, get THE sunrise, perhaps in May of ’86, and, die. If you understand dying as a form of moving on, at some point you move on.
If that happens before you die, what happens to make it happen? How do you come to the realization that “enough is enough”? When do you know when to say “when”? We don’t know. But, we know. One more sunrise at Schwabacher Landing isn’t going to be much different from any of the other sunrises at Schwabacher Landing—not different enough to make a difference, anyway. We can sleep in, or search out a sunrise somewhere else. We move on.
To what? We’ll see. What we move on to is as difficult to know beforehand as when to move on. We know when we have enough photos of sunrise at Schwabacher Landing. We’ll know where to go next when we know it. In the meantime, we wait, and watch. It’s what we do best, or better be.
The whole enterprise (photography, and life, and spiritual development, and all the other enterprises there are) comes down to waiting and watching. To take a photo, we wait, and watch, even as we walk into, and around in, and through, and back to a scene. In a scene, we wait and watch for something to catch our eye, for the light to be right, for the wind to quit blowing… Always, the waiting, the watching.
There has to be a place where thinking stops, and planning stops, and knowing what to do when, where, and how stops, and you wait, and watch, trusting that you will know “it” when you see “it,” and not worrying about it if you don’t. Where do you stop and the creative process start? You place a glob of clay on the wheel and, what? Command the clay to become a specific pot—the pot you have in mind? Or, listen to the clay to see what kind of pot—or pitcher, or bowl, or whoknowswhat—it wants to be? Who is in charge? If you have to be in charge, you will not be creative.
Flash back to God. Creation. Master and Commander of the Universe. Immutable, Unchangeable, Non-negotiable, Eternal and Irrevocable Plan for the Unfolding of Time from Before Time. Do you see how wrong that is? That is NOT how to do it, even if you are God. Waiting and watching—THAT is how to do it, even if you are God.
What is after Schwabacher Landing? What will the clay become? We wait, and watch. The creative power of God is waiting and watching and acting in “the fullness of time,” when the time is right, to do what needs to be done here and now, then and there, only to wait and watch some more. When you get that down, you’ll have it made.