25 January 2011

Closed doors

Tal and I had a plan.  After canoeing the Allegash in September and touring Utah's national parks in October, we had decided we would take only one trip during 2011.  That trip was going to be a long-talked-about train trip across Canada from Quebec City to Vancouver.

Yesterday afternoon I settled in front of the computer to sign up for the trip.  I was met with a single word:  WAITLIST.  Wrongly, we had thought four months to be enough lead time.  I cannot begin to describe the disappointment.  We had been so pleased with the prospect of that trip.  And, disappointment isn't even an adequate description of how I felt as a sat there, the news sinking in.  It was a state of bewildered inaction.  Plus, I was going to have to tell Tal.  Further, now what?

At some point during the remainder of the day, from the recesses of memory, the Erie Canal came to mind.  A short online search ensued accompanied by rising hope.  It turns out we are going to have a pretty terrific adventure after all. 

Seems to me that more frequently than not disappointment doesn't have to mark the end.  An end, perhaps, but not the end.  It was the mother superior in The Sound of Music who advised a disappointed postulant Maria that God wouldn't close a door without opening a window.  In that story and in her real life story Maria ended up with a family and a life she could never have imagined.  A convent it wasn't.  Her life's calling it was.

Likewise my photographic efforts.  Generally, I set out to photograph something specific.  If I am not concerned about time or personal safety and if I let myself get involved in the process, it often happens that eventually I see something else entirely or that I see the original subject or some aspect of it in a new way.  When that happens the results of my time with the camera bear little resemblance to my initial intention, more pleasing almost without fail.

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