Sunday, January 27, 2013

Breadcrumbs Along the Pathway...

   When I chose my word for this year, "Pathways", I had no idea how rich it would be or the surprising links I would come across.  I've discovered a site, "The Search for Breadcrumbs", that spoke very clearly to my exploration of pathways in my life this year and it gave me a new metaphor to explore.

   I have actually used the term "breadcrumbs" in the past for the search a contemplative photographer makes on location...the search for tiny visual clues that will lead you through a given landscape but I hadn't thought about it for a long time.  Bryan Wright's beautiful blog re-introduced me to it and it expands on the idea.  It is a wonderful read for the seeking soul in all of us.  Personally, I have always been very aware of these breadcrumbs in life. Sometimes we don't take the time to stoop down and pick them up...they are so easy to overlook.  As a contemplative photographer, these breadcrumbs are the simple metaphoric clues we come across as we wander in the landscape. They are everywhere if we take the time to observe them...if our hearts are open to receive them.  We find them, we mull them over, and they lead us to someplace new in our thinking.  We can follow the breadcrumbs through our photographic series.

   This image was made at Mont St. Michel in Normanday.  I'd been wandering in the Abbey trying to absorb the beauty and meaning of the place and my personal pilgrimage to France last summer when I came across this staircase.  I love the soft focus quality of this image...its almost abstract quality but it also has special meaning for me.  It was one of the visual breadcrumbs I picked up that day.  Just a staircase to most, it sang with metaphoric possibility in  my eyes. Sometimes those crumbs lead us on a painful, uphill path.  Do we refuse to follow because it is not easy?  Do we content ourselves with only going where the pathway is smooth and clearly illuminated when we need to embrace the shadows as well as the light if our life is to have meaning?  While I was writing this post I remembered a long ago image, made near Kildare in Ireland.

   If one looks at their life as a ongoing pilgrimage...a journey in search of the essential truths, then the decision is very clear.  We chose the Path of Life and along the way we keep a look out for the "breadcrumbs". Each crumb contains a kernel of truth...we can accept it or not, it is our choice.  Read this post on Bryan Wright's blog and then go about your life and photography being open to the moment these breadcrumbs will present themselves.  You don't have to go looking for them...they'll find you.  You just have to keep an open heart....



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