Bright and shiny.

I smiled to myself when I consulted this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge. The theme is “Ooh, Shiny!“. As in: post a photo of something that demands your attention, something that’s “guaranteed to distract you.”

Well, in my case that could be any number of things: chocolate, fuzzy blankets, hummingbirds, funny cat videos, Viggo Mortensen… the list goes on. I seem to frighten the hummingbirds before I can photograph them, and I ate all the chocolate, so I settled on sharing a photo of something else that’s been occupying my thoughts lately: light.

Since I’ve taken an interest in photography, I’ve spent more time observing and deciphering light, trying to figure out how to tell the camera to catch it the way I see it.

While out the other morning, in search of an arresting view of the sunrise, my travels took me down a country road which was encased overhead in the neighbouring trees’ summer foliage.

And there, at the end of the tunnel, was the light. It filtered down through the morning mist in golden beams. For me, it was an “Ooh, shiny!” moment, indeed.

It’s not an extraordinary shot, and it’s not Viggo Mortensen, but it’ll do.

August 20 (1 of 1)

 

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I’ve been pondering this week’s WordPress weekly photo challenge (“Path“) and the many potential photographic interpretations.

Snowy trails through the woods? Tunnels? Forks in the road? Stepping stones? So many options, all meaningful in their own way.

Then, earlier today, I walked past a picture frame in my bedroom that’s been sitting on a shelf for years, since my husband and I were first married. The frame has a decorative golden spiral embedded within a molded cement base. (There are two naive and wrinkle-free smiling people in the photo that bear a striking resemblance to the Mr. and me.)

I picked up the frame and ran my finger along the winding golden band. Aha! A path. A pretty one. And because my mind tends to wander, this led to thoughts of another, more famous golden road.

In the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are transported to the Land of Oz by way of a powerful tornado. Dorothy and Toto are advised to “follow the yellow brick road” to the Emerald City, in hopes of finding the Wizard of Oz to help Dorothy return home to Kansas.

If you recall, in the movie, the beginning of this golden road lay in the midst of Munchkinland, curled in the shape of a spiral, much like the gold band in my frame. The spiral is a symbol that has traditional associations with evolution, growth, and enlightenment. Perfect placement for the start of a journey. Dorothy’s adventure was one of trials, choices, disappointments, and rewards. All the important quests are.

yellow-brick-roadWarner Bros.

 

The end realization of my musing was this: Where Dorothy landed, she began her quest. Okay, her path was clear, at least in the beginning. And there were delightful Munchkins present to provide musical encouragement. But she had to take a step. She had to start where she was.

Our milestones are sometimes marked with celebrations – graduations, weddings, baby showers, retirement parties. But what about those quiet journeys we undertake, often on our own? What about quitting an addiction, or healing from an injury, or grieving a loss? What about our goals of cultivating better relationships or making a career change? Of learning to knit or to play the ukulele or to run 5 kilometres without throwing up?

The paths to our personal goals are unlikely to be clearly marked with yellow brick. And Glinda the Good Witch may not be around to give us direction. The key, I guess, is to simply move – without repeatedly holding out for the ‘right’ time or the ideal circumstances.

We can’t preoccupy ourselves with waiting for an official starting line to appear. Guess what? We’re already standing on it.

Even if there are no Munchkins to send us off.