Night Light

The Block Island Ferry, turned around and backing up to get to the dock on Block Island.  See the deck hand, waiting in back, and the line of light defining the shoreline?

I remember when we were building the house on Block Island, that sometimes we would come in the winter and stay at the Blue Dory Inn near Old Harbor.  I would go out at night and walk around by the ferry.  Or I would walk on the beach.  I could make my way with just enough light to see the edge of the ocean.

Here is the ferry, already docked, and some of the lights from Old Harbor.

It was new in my life back then, and something I have only found on Block Island, the feeling that I could be free and safe to walk around outside at night.  There was so much space and emptiness, just enough light, and beautiful, beautiful sounds, with mostly quiet, and just the sound of the water or the wind or a fog horn or something far away.

Here is a long-ish exposure, with extra time to collect the bright moonlight.  This picture was taken on the beach on the way to North Light, facing back to the parking lot.  The big stone next to the scrub is Settler's Rock.

I have a friend, a very fine person, who says, “Reach for a star.”  She says, “You may not succeed, but you will never know until you try.”  She says this over and over, to everyone she cares about.  I think this is her superpower because she’s done this in her own life and she makes people believe that they can do it also.  She makes people want to go for it, to take the risks, to act with passion and commitment, to find something they truly love and give it what they have.  So I've decided to do that.   I know that takes many forms at different times in life, including working long hours, getting turned down, getting turned down again, going to school on weekends, sitting in traffic, being interrupted, being pulled in too many directions, being up at night with elders or with children.  That also includes making conscious choices, becoming more generous in every way, finding out how strong and good you can be, finding out what matters.

For me, right now, it means I’m working on some projects.  It’s all very new to me and it involves computers, so each step is a whole foreign country.  I’ve been spending a lot of time and I don’t know if what I'm making will be successful.  So I’m faced with fits and starts, and often with starting over, but it's OK.  In the years, I've learned that times like this are good, very good, and not something to be avoided.  I remember in work like this, that it seldom feels on any given day, that I've made a lot of progress.  It's only with doing it over and over that patterns emerge.  I remind myself that what I do when I don't know is the most important part of any truly generative action.  It occurs to me that I can only reach for a star at night. 

At times like this, I have learned that I will only know what to do next while I’m in the process of doing it.  I can keep on working, letting each step bring me to a place where I can see a little more.  I remind myself that in the past, my vision when I started anything has always been much too small.  I know that sometimes the best, most interesting things are only accomplished through a process of discovery - the unfolding that happens, as not knows turns into knowing and that in turn, creates something completely new in the world.  And that creates a life that before that, wasn't even possible, a little at a time.

This is taken after sunset, really in the dark.  When there is no light in photography, you just need to set up, use a tripod, keep your shutter open, and wait.

There has always been an impulse, a little hunch, and each time I have taken its direction my confidence has grown a little bit more.  I know that I am being made by what I am doing.  So in that sense, whether I achieve my apparent goals or not, I can at least say something has happened.  It’s hard to say what’s more important - what I am doing, or the effort do it, or the development of courage to know who I am, and do what is mine to do.   

So I’m fine.  I keep going.  That's my current plan.

Same thing here.  A long exposure, taken in the dark.

I’m sending my heartfelt good wishes to all of you, for all the changes and projects and tasks and dreams in your lives.  May we be grateful and happy and bold.   May we do it because of love.  Happy holidays, everyone.