i woke this morning about 4:30 – which is not unusual – and noticed out my window a spectacular moon-set over mt. washington on the western horizon. i “leapt” out of bed (i don’t think i’ve actually leapt in any manner in years, like when my doctor tells me to “hop up” on the exam table, and i just laugh), and went to downstairs (rode the sometimes agonizingly slow stairlift) to get my camera, then back up to get my tripod and take the assembled unit into the upstairs bathroom, where there is a wonderful view of that horizon.
well, i had no idea how fast the moon set. by the time i was ready to capture the scene in pixels, the moon had dropped below the horizon – not even a glow. which inspired my paraphrasing of the zen proverb, do not mistake the moon for a camera pointing at the moon. if i’d’a just looked out the window, i would have seen a beautiful and rare sight, the full moon dropping down below the mountain. instead, in my “dash” to assemble my equipment, i didn’t see any of it.
it made me think about photography in general – how much do i miss of the world while i am busy framing it in the viewfinder? this thought has crossed my mind before, when i’d go for a walk in the woods (it’s been a while since my last one of those), and debated whether to bring the camera. would i not really see where i was and what was in front of me if i was looking at it all as a possible photograph? but what if i saw something that i really wanted to photograph but had left my camera at home? in retrospect, i think i usually enjoyed being out in the forest more, had a deeper experience, when i did not have a camera in my hand.
i’m not sure how this applies to life in general – maybe if we can, every now and then, notice where we are without concern for where we are going, we can more fully appreciate the absolute moment, without trying to capture it. since, when you get right down to it, that is all we have.