We got away together this weekend, to a little studio on a little farm on a little island, a rare retreat from home. And I know, in simply breathing out those words - we got away - the reaction it elicits. The oohs and aaahs and wry smiles and how nices. It's true, it was nice and quaint and lovely in some of those imagined way. Yet there are so many moments, are there not, that don't fit within the smiley selfies, the you-are-here photos and the snapshots of nature?
We all know this. There are stories folded within the fibers of those photos that never get told.
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There's something about getting away from home when you rarely do that raises the bar of expectation, even subconsciously. Things - or These Specific Things - will be different, we tell ourselves, as if location alone possessed a type of magic that is not tapped into in the familiarity of the everyday. And forward we go, Dorothy and the gang on the pilgrimage to Oz, only to unveil that the rather unimpressive little man behind the curtain is no different than the ones we face in the mirror.
And our fragile hearts crumble.
For in this unveiling, we see that there is a certain built in comfort to home, a net beneath to catch us. It may be less tangled in expectation, for in this comfort zone, we already know what to expect. This is beauty and freedom, and it is also safety box under lock and key. We do not expect. And that includes magic and mystery and miracle. We are too practical, too wary of, too tired, too wounded, too disillusioned, too fearful - to expect or hope for more than what we are intimately acquainted with at home; or really, More at all.
Going away merely lights this up like a neon sign on a deserted interstate in the middle of the night.
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In the sharing of photos, I feel resistance, the pull between two realities. Between two conflicting desires: one for transparency and the other for hiding. Some things are well, and All is not well, but my heart silently begs, Do not believe these photos are an altogether true painting of my life. For if it's true that a picture is worth a thousand words, than it may also be true that a picture can only tell a limited story within the fenced yard we loose them upon. Most of our photos tell the same story lines of person, place and thing; what we were doing; what interests us; even a desire to convey a sense of happiness, real or imagined. Often, we have to dig deeper for the truest story.
I look back on the few photos we snapped from the weekend and I'm trying to experience them now from a distance, to allow the layers of untold stories to seep into my heart. For there is more, too, than I even knew in these moments together, some that imprinted and others that passed. There is a beating heart there, pulsing steady, echoing in the fresh corners of memory. Glory and tension, light bleeding through pillows of charcoal cloud.
So I will not force one over the other. There is room for both.
Joining my words today with Unforced Rhythms