Living Close to the Earth John Holliger©2021
Sitting on the white sand and gazing into the morning mist of Lake Erie, listening to the gentle rolling songs of tiny waves delightfully, imperfectly, falling over each other in front of me and as far as I could see to my left and right, little busy waves tumbling rounded pebbles, immigrants from the north traveling within glaciers, I become small again before one of the great inland lakes of the earth.
Wherever I traveled as an Episcopal parish priest I always belonged to this Great Lake, her beauty and mystery, her easy way of creating such enormous rolling waves which broke apart mercantile ships with schedules they would not keep. On other days, the crew of sail boats moved quickly and slowly in calm breezes and swift winds.
This is my place, and on these mornings this Great Lake is meditating with me. When I return alone, I sense my absence has been felt. A calm returns to us both.
We live in a garden. My joy is to be attentive and bring back to you, moments of the natural rhythms of the garden, to reflect on the poetry and music created by others whose lives unfolded as they wrote and painted and followed the natural preferences of clay and marble.
For thirty years scattered among parishes in Ohio and Connecticut I photographed as my father had taught me, and I was an apprentice to the voices within and to other photographers who like myself, did not have degrees but whose names are known and whose work is published. Photographers have always learned the art from other photographers. The science of photography is easy. But the path of listening and being attentive to the voices of others, and the creative, imaginative voice within is hard, difficult, demanding, unrelenting, never finished. This creating is hard because creating people are doing and making and thinking things into being which did not exist before this moment. That’s why it’s hard, and why being passionate seems like a soft work for being possessed with the spirit to create.
Photography for some, is a manner of living, a way of living that continually is shaping the way we look and see and gaze, not with a stare or a glare, but with a soft look of love for this earth.
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