Saturday, March 20, 2010

Ashes and Snow

A friend of mine from Rocky Mountain School of Photography gave me a book to read called Ashes and Snow - A Novel in Letters by Gregory Colbert. He told me that he found it to be artistically inspirational and thought I would too; he was more than right. I wanted to post a journal entry that is specifically more inspirational to me, due to being a photographer, but think any artist would relate.

I hope you enjoy.

P.S. thank you Jeremy for letting me borrow this book for so long.. I promise it's in good hands and will return to you soon!

Letter 184

As I lay dreaming, Montezuma waded with me into the Limpopo River. We crossed through the swirling eddies and shared a sun-baked stone in the middle of the river.

Montezuma said, "You are disoriented. Your journey is in danger of becoming an elaborate flight away from yourself. You are paying too much attention to numbers, compass points, altitudes, tides, temperatures. You are looking for patterns or logic in coincidences. Your movements are mathematical when they ought to be musical. You're doing steps. You still haven't learned how to become the dance.

"Remember, a compass and a pen can give you a reading on the lay of the river, but no mechanical instrument can measure the motion of the heart.

"Some maps are drawn in melting snow. By living in your mind, you are draining all the meaning from your miles and rivers. Your heart is a flute, but you are playing it like a drum. A camera is a musical instrument. There is a whole range of octaves you are leaving totally unexplored."

He paused for a long time. I said nothing.

"You are writing and photographing the miles. Are you really living them?"

Still I said nothing.

"Put away your pen and camera for a while. Prove that you are worthy of the gifts you have been given.

"Look at the world through the lens of your own eye.

"Then you will be ready to navigate in the spirit of birds.

"And know that one day, when you have crossed your last river, you will stand before an elephant who will measure the values of your life not by how many miles you have traveled and how much you have seen, but rather by how much you have loved."

 an image inspired by the novel