The anguish of the creative mind. It decides that today cannot belong to the functional works of traditional souls. Today, it decides it’s floating time and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. No pain, just a different kind of living today. One of drift and watch. One of talk and just be. No choice. I must surrender to it for it will not let me do anything else but channel what it wants to come through.
I head downtown to pick up a newspaper that had printed an article I had written about Evan Sinclair, the contemporary painter. The impulse in me craves chicken salad with pecans and apricots. In front of the Whole Foods Market, where I would satisfy my craving, I walk past a fountain and the rocks shout, “shoot me, shoot me.”
I get a reply to an earlier post. One of my brilliant writer friends says to write more pieces about art and artists. I thank the lord. I have a mission today. Off to the Ringling Museum to find artists to shoot and write about.
I get there and I’m told I could walk the grounds for free. All of a sudden I forget why I’m there as my passion for wandering takes full control and I just walk. I stop to snap another dumb bird. I figure there’s got to be something more interesting in Mable Ringling’s garden.
I find her rose garden eventually. I resist the temptation to shoot more dumb flowers but couldn’t help myself. I walked round and round in the maze of dizzying circles while smelling heaven, courtesy of these gorgeous blooms.
Is this some kind of joke I thought? Leading a color blind writer to a flower garden with a Ferrari of a camera he doesn’t even know how to drive? I relaxed and let the camera do the work. I looked for nice fluffy shapes. I tried to catch the ones that were not quite dead, but beyond just born. Just relax. Squeeze out the shot. Let the camera do the work.
Round and round I walked. Breathing in heaven. Dazzling my eyes with glorious bursts of punchy peach and randy reds. I thought I could actually feel the plants squeezing these buds out. I imagine it felt much like how it feels when we go to the bathroom. Only what these plants make smells a lot better.
I was able to get at the floral pops from different angles. I tried to get some from the back, some from the side, some from behind. It had just rained a mere sprinkling of a spritz. Just enough to get a drop on them here and there. I walked and inhaled deeply. Me the color blind shooter of botany, allergic to everything known to mankind, barely breathing deeply through the one whistling nostril that’s not blocked, by some miracle.
Apparently, this was what I was meant to do today. A lost day, by other standards. For me, it’s just another one of those days that was meant for something different, from what I had planned or what I thought I should be doing. It’s just not worth fighting.
I started thinking about what Mrs. Ringling must have been thinking when she decided to create this garden filled with these miraculous flowers. How she conceived of the idea of walking around in dizzying concentric circles, while breathing deeply the intoxicating fragrances, as she viewed the dripping wet colors born from thorn. I imagine, to her, it was a lot like getting high.
I wondered how God, nature or the aliens designed these things. I mean really. Could anything this beautiful be unintentional? The way the leaves alternate and curl. The translucent petals revealing their veins. The puffy soft velvet skin of them? Please. How can this be the luck of the draw from random selection?
It made me just want to stand there and stare at them. Looking at their red frosted tips. Like a long clawed woman, just back from the nail place. “Make mine white with red tips.” It was just overwhelming how the little trickles of water just sat and waited for me. Even the sun went away in order to not wash out the shots.
Then a lizard climbed out from under the bushes and saw me, got all scared and decided to try to scare me back, by puffing out its throat like a big ole not quite ripe yet strawberry. Just to put him in scale, I think he was about two inches long.
Then I started to get tired and wanted to head home. I walked past this Banyan tree that was so prehistoric that I had to shoot it. I didn’t know how I’d express it here, but the roots of this thing are just confounding. It kind of looks like vines had fallen from branches at one time, that eventually hardened and rooted and became new tree trunks. Those vine, trunks grew and sprouted more vines that fell from branches and so on and so on.
I don’t know how one justifies a day like today. I’d still like to find some deeper more emotional things to shoot. But natures glory is always a calm meditation when the world is pulling us in a million directions. Sometimes it’s good to just stop and smell the roses.