Sunday, September 11, 2016

Ruins, Part 2: Building Off the Rubble

As I have walked through the first week of my kids being back in school, and wearing my routines again for the first time since June, I have been wondering if it is time to change things up a little. Not making major changes, but little ones. Tweaks that change the trajectory, or rather, realign it.

Through the radical change involved with the children being home all the time vs. going to school, I have gradually forgotten what it was trying to accomplish. It has taken me a week of being back here, alone, to remember. And I have had to put the story back together using the echoes of what I was working on. There are clues all over, my journal entries, the scraps of fabric on the floor in the dining room. The bits of this and that stacked up in the studio, waiting to be put away or used again. It's all there, but it reminds me of the ruins I saw in Beaufort. Happy ruins, echoes of fun, or goals moving forward, or dreams becoming real. 

I promised I'd show you all, so let's head back to where Rt.17 crosses 
with Rt 21, about 20 min north of  Beaufort, South Carolina 

Or more specifically Old Sheldon Church Road.

 This is what you see if you look straight down the road, back towards freeway. The view isn't much different looking forward the other direction, although I think they were doing some road construction a little further down. 

I took this shot because it reminded me so much how my life has looked lately. Path forward, with lots of stuff on either side, but nothing transparent or clear, except the road in front of me. I always expect to stop and look at something along the way, but in a forest like this, full of growth, it's hard to see anything until you are right on top of it. You have to get to "there" before you even know what or where "there' is. That has so been my year thus far. I have seen nothing coming.

So you are driving along Old Sheldon Church Rd. and you happen to see the forest lighten up a bit on the right and "Boom!" there are the Old Sheldon Church ruins. But you can't park in front of them, just off the road. You have to look around a bit, and it's only then you notice the clearing on the other side of the road. Once again, my life. 

But what a delight these ruins are! When you do see them. it makes you smile. See how the sun hits them just so, making them shine out from the grove of live oaks? It really is enchanting. 

Here's a groovy one DK shot with his neat, "fancier than mine" camera:

I so love this pic. It is super weird, but you get a feel for the happy airiness this place gives off. It was a total shock. And I LOVE the pillars! Sigh. Wait till we get inside...

The ferns growing out of the stone just kill me! It's like dreams I've had involving...well, let's not get into that here. Suffice it to say, I was smitten with the place. 

So smitten in fact, that we brought my brother and his family and my sister and my kids back to see it a couple of days later. but we'll talk about that in a minute. I want to show you guys something first.

Check this out. The color view. This is what it actually looked like that day.

Here is the exact same shot, except taken in Black & White. I shot it with the same camera on a different setting in the exact same place and position, ten seconds after shooting the color one. Isn't it so strikingly different? Not bad or good, just a totally different interpretation.

This perfectly illustrates what I am feeling, returning to my life. I have the same things in front of me, but something has shifted in the way I see things. I am looking at my "ruins" in a different way. 

So let's play another little game. let's see what happens when we add people to the scenario. There was only one other person at the ruins when we saw it the first time. And she left pretty quickly, so we had it to ourselves for a while.

Serene. Mystical. Old. 

What you'd expect from ruins in the state you always hope to find them, abandoned.

Let's see what happens when we add people:

Isn't it shocking how it changes things? The people bring a story with them. 
You get a feeling of the past colliding with the present that I find so oddly invigorating. 

I mean, just look at this pic. It fills your mind with questions. Why is the tree full of bricks? Why is that guy in sandals and a button down standing next to it? Why would he care? How could this be a favorite picture from this photo shoot? Blending the Past and the Now always creates a different story, my friends. 

(And just for the record, this is my brother, the landscape architect, who was fascinated that bricking this tree had actually kept it alive for so long, which is what the mason was trying to do. And this is one of my favorite pics from the shoot because it captures exactly what he is like. And I absolutely adore him. I always have.)

Here the same tree, taken the first visit, without him. There is still a story full of questions and answers here, it is just completely different.

I have no idea where my new story will take me, or why I feel so empowered to deviate from what was before. But maybe it will be a better story. The break has given me some much needed perspective. In some projects I need to go deeper and further than I thought. In others, I need to back off a bit. And I think I will ask for some help. I have realized that though I really can do an enormous amount of work myself, sometimes it would be wiser to allow someone who can do it quicker, with less draw down to help or take over for me. (Hear that all you friends who are better at getting rid of clutter than I am? I will be calling you soon.) Sometimes you need help to take something all the way to "done."

So we'll see what comes as I build off the echoes of what was before. I have to say though, I think this story ends "happily ever after", at least for a while. 

Are you making changes you didn't expect this fall?  Tell me about them. I'd love to hear.

Talk to you soon,

CM Shaw

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