Two weeks ago. 4:00 a.m. wake up. Final items packed in the truck. A deep bow to Mukuntuweap, my home and muse for the last two months.
On the road. I-215 south to Vegas. Coffee-fueled. I’ve just finished the audiobook Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. I’m contemplative, entranced by spoken words, the hypnotic buzz of the road, and the vast landscape moving around me.
Well northeast of Las Vegas, in the middle of nowhere, nature calls. I pull off, step out into the rain-clarified pre-dawn air, and take care of business. I take some conscious, meditatively deep breaths. Then, turning back to the truck, I notice these lines in the earth:
It seems Nevada DOT felt the urge to test their road painting equipment here along this dirt pull out. This is picture worthy, I decide, and grab my iPhone from the truck. I snap the photograph seen here and look at the result on the screen. This perspective has the lines moving away from me, coming to an abrupt halt. The end of the road, so to speak.
This gives me pause. I am not at the end of the road, am I? I wonder about this. I’m 18 months into a life-changing move to Bend, Oregon. I’m heading towards a fundamental change in the focus and structure of my life. I’m simulatneously exhilirated and scared as hell. And I know, to succeed, there are personal challenges of openess, trust, and receptivity I’m going to have to overcome. A quote from the beginning of Art and Fear:
“Making art now means working in the face of uncertainty; it means living with doubt and contradiction, doing something no one much cares whether you do, and for which there may be neither audience nor reward.”
Exactly. And, begrudgingly, I must admit that’s not something I’m very good at. At all. I’ve spent my life working for others, abiding in the safety of proving my worth to someone else’s needs and vision. Now it’s time to prove my worth to myself and my own vision. Maybe this photograph is symbolic, symbolic of a past I’m in the process of letting go of.
I snap back into the moment. How long have I been standing here deep in these thoughts? The sun is poking rays of light through a patchwork of clouds to the east.
I can go now. But, before I climb back into the truck, I make a different, considered photograph — one symbolic of my path forward:
A testament to a brief but significant moment in the middle of nowhere.