Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recurring Themes of My Life

Dear Friends,

I'm sorry for the drop-off in my posting lately. The last couple months have been a long lead-up to a change that feels like riding a slightly out-of-control bike down a steep hill; before, I was peddling uphill hard, trying to set something in motion, in control, making slow progress. Then the momentum picked up and now this downhill spree. I am definitely in the thick of it and it's all so blurry and confusing and emotional that all the stressors have kind of flown away and all I'm left with is... me.

Today, leaving the studio with the last of my things, I was walking my loaded-down bike in the rain in Central Square and found a baby bird on its side near a planter outside the Bank of America, shivering and in shock. With a couple of postcards I was able to get it into the planter among the flowers and called Animal Control, who said they'd send someone over and have a vet look at it, but that there was a good chance it would be euthanized if it had fallen so hard that it wasn't hopping around. Sad, right? But the thing is I have a history of this exact situation, always falling at the moment of a huge life transition. These little birds are signs.

On my first full day in Florence after graduation college, unclear of what the hell I was there to do or how my life would unfold, I was walking aimlessly down the street where I would soon live toward the river Arno when a bird fell from its nest in the rafters four stories up. It settled under the wheel of a car and looked shocked. I stood there for a long time not knowing what to do - I had nothing to transport it in, there were only high walls around me, I didn't have a phone, I knew no one - and eventually I walked away. Even then I felt the symbolism, the bad sign for my first real venture so far from home. And Italy didn't go so well; I had many fits and starts and was ultimately quite unhappy and, a few months later, decided to come home.

Which, of course, is when things turned up. I met a friend to play music with, and a boy to keep me company, and on my last night in the country, before TJ and I were to play a gig at our favorite club in Florence, I took a break from packing to walk down to the river for sunset. I nearly stepped on an orange-beaked baby bird with its wings spread out in the street. It was another fallen baby bird. I flagged down a guy on a bicycle who didn't know what to do. My friends weren't around. As a car came towards us, I tried to shoo the bird onto the narrow sidewalk - and to my surprise, it actually took off, albeit clumsily, and made it to the top of a high garden fence. It paused there for a moment, then flew in.

(I have always assumed, without a doubt, that it ultimately made it - that some lucky cat was not waiting on the other side of that fence.)

So there I was again today, walking away from the bird who was perhaps rescued and set free by Animal Control, perhaps not. Today's little bird carried a less clear message.

Then, there's the other thing... I'm sure you remember my obsession with broken umbrellas (I even got around to publishing a Blurb book for their bookmaking contest, which I'm thinking of as a first draft, as it still needs some editing and design flourish, but it's a start and my plan is to send it out to a small Boston publisher to aim at gift and novelty shops), and I even bought a Brelli this past March. Well, today, in a strong gust of wind that pressed down on the outside of it, it BROKE! The wooden spokes caved under the pressure and cracked. At first I was flustered and indignant, but Rachel, who was with me, pointed out that, considering my project, it was kind of appropriate. And she's right - it is oddly fitting that my own umbrella would break today.

Tomorrow we finish packing and throw our party, where TJ (the friend I played with in Italy - another part of the full circle) will set up and play, and we'll have a photo booth for friends to goof off and take pictures in. Then we load the truck the next day and hit the road to NC. I hope that there, eventually, the steep hill we've been flying down will level off and life will slow down and settle a little. Then we'll start building it right back up.

I know this has been awfully text-heavy for a photo blog.... so, in the spirit of transition or at least transportation, I'll leave you with one recent image I couldn't resist sneaking on a bus... I love the shape of this guy's neck, and his jacket.

Matt and I are working on a portrait project of our friends that I SO wish we'd been able to devote tons more time to. I'll share them here once we're settled in NC.

I also need to write about other photo news; the jobs I've been doing here, the work I've miraculously already got lined up after the move. I'm booked for a full week of shooting in August and a day in September with a good chance for more work. It almost feels real now, the whole "I'm a photographer" thing.

Wishing you all well out there. I already miss everyone so much.