April 30, 2018

Sunny, 41 Degrees, Calm Winds.

This is another tough morning. With my back injured again, I’m barely able to walk. I try to take Jamie for his walk. It’s an absolutely gorgeous spring morning, but the pain from my back is radiating down into my left hip and leg. I’m hoping that with a little perseverance I’ll be able to walk with him and maybe the pain will be reduced.

I am able to go only a little over a block, stopping several times to stretch my back, but I can go no farther. I limp back home with a disappointed Jamie. I don’t know if he can understand that I am injured, but I hope so. I hate to let him down. He’s such a good boy.

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The blooms are just beginning to open, but the branches make nice patterns. 

Back home, all I can do is let him out in the back yard. I know he’ll enjoy the warm weather and the sunshine, but I know he misses our walk. I miss it too.

I re-injured my back yesterday while trying to work on painting the living room. I had been feeling very well for a couple of days and was back to work on the living room. I was just starting for the day and I had to move a heavy jewelry chest that I made many years ago when I was a cabinetmaker. It was sitting on a tarp I needed to use and it had to be moved.

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This one makes me think of a Japanese screen. 

There is no easy way to get ahold of the cabinet, so I groped around for a handhold. I wound up lifting it while bent over, the cabinet out in front of me. Big mistake. Almost immediately I felt a searing pain in my left lower back, right where I had been injured last week. I set it down immediately, but the damage was done.

The pain spread and got worse as it reached down into my hip and leg. I was done for the day. I was furious at myself for being so careless, and I was furious that I would not be able to progress with the painting. I envisioned more days of agony and drugs and laying in bed or sitting on the couch.

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That was yesterday, and I awoke this morning determined to work through or around the pain and perhaps get better by being active. That was the idea of attempting the walk.

The walk didn’t work, but after sitting for a while and feeling better, I decided to try to paint despite the pain involved in walking. To my surprise, I was able to start some brush work without seeming to cause any further damage or injury.

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In the end, I worked most of the day, cutting in the wall around the trim and then rolling the walls with a second coat. I was very pleased. This meant that ¾ of the room was done. After a lunch break, I started on the remaining wall, which is another color. I got the trim coated once, and cut in the wall by hand and that was all I could do for the day. I was very pleased to have accomplished so much.

I didn’t want to press my luck by attempting any more. I was hurting pretty good most of the day and it was time to take some more pain medicine and sit on the couch with ice on my back.

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Over my dinner break, I watched a documentary on Elsa Dorfman, a Polaroid portrait photographer. It was wonderful, the perfect thing to inspire someone who has been tiring of demanding so much creativity of himself. Me, I mean.

She was someone who stuck to a very simple, unassuming style of photography through all of her life. She was not appreciated during much of that time, but she stuck to what she believed in—simple portraits of people, families, herself, her husband and son. Simple, but wonderful documents of people in a time and place.

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The blooms at the very top of the tree are more open. 

This has inspired me to follow what attracts me and to do what I want to do during this year. I want to avoid worrying about what I think a gallery might want. I’m going to do what speaks to me. In the end, I have confidence that those will be the things that are important. I’m thinking of the tree branches overhead, right now. I’m thinking of the passage of the year in the woods. I’m thinking of Jamie. I’ve been keeping him out of my landscape shots and I think he belongs in them; at least some of them.

Anyway, that’s my lesson for the day. Stick to what speaks to you. It speaks to you for a reason. It’s my job to photograph what speaks to me, not what I think someone else will want to see, or buy.

On top of that, I was sitting watching the documentary, and I can see our Magnolia tree out the window. The blooms are beginning to open and I have ideas about how to photograph them again. I want to go out during sunset and try them again. I still hope I might make art of those blooms. They are so beautiful and varied. So I will try again tonight. I also had the idea of shining a light out the window of the house and shooting them in that light. We’ll see what I get. It could be really good. Maybe I also need to be up at dawn tomorrow, although I am likely to be in a lot of pain then.

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