The Power of a Landscape

This place has this crazy ability to completely surprise me. To make me do double takes and to scratch my head in total wonder. Truly. I think it's reorganizing my whole view of the landscape and my place in it.

I see this view of Canada almost everyday. What's amazing about it is that I'm standing in the good ole' U.S.of A. but I'm looking across this slow moving river at another country. It's close enough that I could swim for it, but I'm sure that border patrol would nab me halfway across. I do fantasize about it though. 

Other than inspiring my imagination to go a little too far, Canada's shore provides, on an average day, a less-than-inspiring view of some houses, a few factories and an ugly casino, which after dark shines these Gotham-like search lights across the sky that just accentuate its garishness. Kind of like in Back to the Future 2 when Biff screws up1985.

But this particular evening while I was rushing to my car to head for a yoga class, I stopped and did that double take thing. I thanked my lucky life because I had my camera on me for a change.


























For those moments, the mother of sky and water transformed this scarred urban landscape into a place of total wonder. The river was just barely frozen over. Just enough to wash the surface with a watercolor reflection of the clouds above and all those lights on its shore.

A few weeks before I'd listened to Elizabeth Gilbert's TED talk on nurturing creativity where she talks about how we need to think again about creativity as not something you own, but as a gift that passes through you. She talked about a poet, Ruth Stone, who said that she would "feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape and she said it was like a thunderous train of air" and at that moment the only thing to do was to run like hell to find some paper so that she could collect it before it disappeared. I felt the same way this night when I pulled my camera out of my bag in an excited rush.

When I got home I ran inside and told my husband I couldn't believe the shots I got. Was I really the one to capture these? How incredibly lucky that I was there at that moment, paying attention, and ready to set my camera down and open the shutter. Capturing these images was a gift to me. They transformed my entire perspective on this place that I see almost daily. Now I see a place where nature - water, sky and light - holds enough power of me over me to make me stop and change my plans.

I never made it to that yoga class.

4 comments:

Mrs. Church said...

Holy crap dude! Those look like postcards. Amazing. I'm not surprised. :)

Liz said...

Stunning images - just stunning.

Elizabeth Downie said...

Beautiful! I can't stop looking at these. Thanks for sharing them. :)

Caiti said...

These are so gorgeous! I love it when my perspective is changed about something I've looked at a million times before. It's a powerful moment.