Monday, July 4, 2011

One less regret: Tree

I’ve been alive for 25 years, 6 months, and 4 days now. During that time, I’ve missed out on a lot of things--not because they weren’t offered, but because I didn’t pursue them. Whether it was a relationship or a roller coast ride, a good sale or a good shot, an answer or an adventure, I've let a great many good things slip right on by because I was too afraid to take advantage of them. I began contemplating this on my last birthday. 25 years, I thought. It was my first really significant birthday. The other significant birthdays have always been joyful—the beginning of a new thing. 13, 16, 18, 21. But 25—that’s the beginning of the end of the beginning. It’s melancholy. And I remember thinking, distinctly, I want to make memories—not regrets in my life.
If I started now never making regrets, I’ve made enough in the past 25 years to keep me sullen for my next 50. I have things to do with my life. I’m not sure what yet. But every painting starts with a stroke. A stroke a day makes a portrait of a life. And in each stroke I can make sure that I have as few dark colors of regrets as possible by taking every chance I can to make someone’s world better, to make my own world better even in the smallest of ways.
So, I figured that I’d start a special kind of post here on the puddle—the one-less-regret post. Here is the first.

My camera has become one of the means of reversing regret and opening opportunity. So many times in my life I’ve wanted to snap a photo of something but didn’t want to inconvenience the person driving the car by asking to stop, or didn’t want to stop myself and risk potential embarrassment of having people stare while I took a picture of a ladybug on the ground. Slowly, I’ve started taking a stand for what I wanted. I've started stopping to snap.
While I was in Atlanta a week ago, Nic and I were driving down a country road. I spotted this tree standing alone out in a field of wheat, surrounded by a barbed wire fence. I could have moved on, not said anything to Nic. But I did and we stopped. These are a few of my new favorite pictures. And one less regret.

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