"You crack me up. Keep it up..."
This was the note I found scrawled across my wall at another popular social media platform by a fellow (but not a fellow) photographer friend. It made my day.
One never knows just how one's words will be taken, especially when it comes to the world of social media. A blog post, a Facebook posting, a quick comment left at someone else's... the words themselves, written across a page or computer screen lack nuance, inflections and the vocal dynamics that often convey the meaning or intent of said words with a bit more clarity.
Those that know me well enough understand that I live with my tongue firmly planted in cheek and my head
firmly up my ass in the clouds. Humor is my defense, my weapon, my coping mechanism. For me, there is nearly nothing that is off limits. No sacred cows. It's always great to find other's that can share the joke and then reach out as the friend who wrote the note above did..
And speaking of reaching out, I've been doing that quite a bit recently... contacting photographers I have never met to tell them the many ways that their work has lifted me, inspired me, made me laugh, made me cry. Some of those whom I've contacted are BIG industry names. Most took the effort to respond with kindness, encouragement & engage in dialog. How refreshing is that? Thank you one & all!
Which brings us to the idea of "thanks". One afternoon last week, in the midst of a particularly trying day, a friend emailed me a poem... not just any poem, mind you. This one was a poem by W.S Merwin, noted author & island resident... a man whom I have had the honor to engage with and even photograph on several occasions. The poem's arrival came at an auspicious time and spoke to me... mirrored what has been my only prayer for several years now. I have passed this on to a couple of other's since it's arrival in my email box. I now share it with you:
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow for the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water looking out
in different directions.
back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you
looking up from tables we are saying thank you
in a culture up to its chin in shame
living in the stench it has chosen we are saying thank you
over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the back door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks that use us we are saying thank you
with the crooks in office with the rich and fashionable
unchanged we go on saying thank you thank you
with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us like the earth
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is
~W. S. Merwin published over twenty books of poetry, including the recent collections The Shadow of Sirius which won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize; Present Company (Copper Canyon, 2007); Migration: New & Selected Poems (2005) which won the 2005 National Book Award; The Pupil (2002); The River Sound (1999), which was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; Flower and Hand: Poems 1977-1983 (1997); The Vixen (1996); and Travels (1993), which received the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize. He has also published nearly twenty books of translation, including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (2004) and Dante’s Purgatorio, and numerous plays and books of prose.