I have been noodling about on a potential book project with the working title: Pro-Tips for Bipolar Photographers and Other Strangers Looking to Get Out of Their Minds and into the Glorious World. (My title is a hat-tip to one of my favorite works of theology by William Stringfellow. I expect my editor will question my exuberance if not judgment :-))
Ten years into my diagnosis of Type 1 bipolar, I’ve developed a number of tools to get out of my head when it betrays me with devilish thoughts. The single most important has been my discovery of the camera a little over a year ago.
Walking each day with the bodhisattva Canon 7D I have gleaned a number of very helpful lessons (at least for me). One came with this picture above. I was on what I took for a pretty rough street in the town I was roaming in. Empty lots, houses with peeling paint and a few with piles of junk all around the yard. I think I heard a snarling dog. I could feel my body tensing up and the aperture of my heart closing in fear.
I have learned over many walks that this is the exact time in which the camera becomes my most precious tool. If I trust in its impassive ability to see beauty everywhere, that is, when I trust the heart God has given me, I will see signs, icons to steady my mind. Trust that they are there, even in the anxiety, and my path will open.
I turned to my right and at that very moment this image was revealed, a hanging basket of glory on an unassuming porch. Solomon’s could not have been any finer.