Every now and again, I find myself sinking deeper into the familiar trap of thinking that I haven't enough time to linger and chat with my teenage daughters, or cuddle up with them on the couch to watch an impromptu movie that they have excitedly suggested we do, or drop what I'm doing to meet a good friend for coffee, or write that long overdue letter or email to my overseas friends, .... The list goes on and on. And always I think, I'll do that as soon as I have finished this! But I never seem to have the time and another day goes by, and then another month, and then a year ...
A few days ago, I watched in horror as my 16 year old daughter was thrown from her horse as he bolted from the cross country course that she was competing in. It was the longest 30 seconds of my life as I ran the 100m or so to get to her, all the time watching her lie there without getting up. So many thoughts ran through my mind, and a sign that I had once seen in a doctor's surgery kept flashing up and interrupting my thoughts ~ "Life is fleeting. We must enjoy each moment every day with those we love."
Thankfully, apart from some concussion, a massive headache and a very bruised ego, she is fine.
But it made me think about how I spend my time, and after my heart rate returned to normal, I promised myself that I would take the time, now, to live in the moment. I will watch a movie with my girls when they ask, I will put the lid down on my laptop and talk to them when they feel like talking, and I will try to stop saying "just a minute" or "in a little while" or "as soon as I am finished here!" And next time a good friend calls to suggest a quick coffee, I will agree at once and leave my Blackberry behind. I will take the time to hug my husband and my children for as long as they need, rather than pulling away to get back to what I was doing. Everything else can wait!
"With the past I have nothing to do; nor with the future. I live now." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is fleeting and our children grow up far too quickly. It is these rare moments of pure joy that we will remember always if we take the time to fully enjoy them when they arise.
I find it is the same with photography. I never use a studio and everything I photograph is done using available natural light. To be successful, I know that I have to live in the moment and be ready to take advantage of the subtle changes in the light that may last only a few seconds, but will make the difference between ordinary and extraordinary.
There have been so many times when I have noticed the light falling on a person's face in a particular way, or a ray of sunlight subtly striking the petals of a flower and highlighting the fine textured weave, or that magic late afternoon light turning the ocean silver, and thought how magnificent it would be to capture. Regretfully, I have missed many great images by being too busy with something else to grab my camera and take the shot, always thinking that I would get it next time.
Sometimes there isn't a next time and that special moment is lost forever.
Life unfolds in the present, moment by moment.
Every moment can be extraordinary, if we could only recognise it as such.
As Leo Tolstoy said once, "In the name of God, stop a moment, cease your work, look around you!"
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