Have you ever woken up from a long night of sleep and really taken notice of your waking style?
For me, waking up is, some days, an act of feverish irreverence. I feel like my four year old self, frustrated with the weight of my arms and legs. (I remember my father’s response to this plight; “Get up and shake it off. You will feel right as rain once you move around a little.” He was right, and every time I wake up feeling this way, I hear his words again, bouncing around the walls of my memory.) There are also those mornings when I breath in deeply right as the light starts to creep into my room, and the morning shows promise by doing nothing but letting that light land against me.
Two and a half years ago I walked into a design class at 7:30AM on one of the former of mentioned mornings. It was my first class of my second degree, the first in three years of living in New York, and now I was back in Colorado; somewhat of a stranger to my old hometown.
In the front row sat a lovely looking woman with a pair of bright blazing blue eyes, and the same look on her face that I exhibited. It was a look of excitement and skepticism; the exceptionally large cup of coffee next to her told me that we would be kindred. Michelle Knudsen, a young and athletic dancer and photographer, would grace nearly every day of the following 730 days. Our schedules mirrored one another, and most of our colleagues came to know us more as sisters. Flash forward to early March, when Michelle casually asks me, in the most charming way, to write something special for her wedding next month. This was not the only request, but she also expressed a desire that I present these musings during the ceremony.
(In that moment I am not sure that she realized how my pride had swelled.)
Now it is no secret to those of you that know me, that I am a romantic. I am silly with the stuff in fact, and cannot seem to pry myself away from the sweetest of ideals. So this task seemed perfectly appropriate, and although I knew it would be a challenge, I accepted immediately. I did however show pause over my ability to read it aloud on the big day. As social as I am, I have a death defying fear of public speaking. This fear claims 75% of the population, but add my emotional nature and tendency to cry at weddings, and well… I had to take time to consider what I would be delivering up there. The weeks that followed have been a personal journey into not only capturing the love of two dear friends, but also an attempt in defining love entirely. Or perhaps, more simply, what I love so much about it.
I began by thinking of what made Michelle and Rob so unique, and in my eyes, so true. I thought back to that first day; the privilege of gaining this new friend. It was a few months before I met Rob, and I remember thinking that Michelle radiated a particular light. ( One that most photographers go in search of their whole lives.) When I finally laid eyes on her other half, and then their wonderful ‘dance’, it was like adding water. He seemed to pull the light out of her, and improve its shine. It was a remarkable thing to see. In fact, it was something I will never forget. (As a child I would have described it like a kaleidoscope. One side shows you the blurry but slow falling of colored beads and the creation of constant new design. If you flip it over and look through the other side it is a whole new experience, but with the same use of color and form. The same kind of beauty, but independent of its second side.
Not unaware, simply unencumbered.)
After these revelations, I got stuck. Each time I would sit down to write about my love of love, I would short circuit. For centuries writers have tried to successfully take an emotion and explain it with words. Painters have tried to capture it with color, and musicians have exhausted their efforts in connecting notes that reflect the simple expression of feeling. I would become overwhelmed with my task and walk away from my computer, sometimes cursing heatedly under my breath. Not at myself, but at all those artists, for setting such a reckless example…. (Heh heh eh)
I finally realized that I would have to take all of that anxiety and turn it into something manageable. I began to picture it like a kitchen sink piled with dishes. I could take each dish one at a time, and rinse away the mess. And with that thought, I started clean. What I uncovered was all the obvious things that we already know, but enjoy revealing.
That each of us is a truly unique being; in the eyes of the ones that love us best. That we get to create our relationships right out of our wildest dreams. That the ‘rules of the game’ have never been defined because, well, they are different for every team.
I began looking back on my photography and even there I saw the evidence of my always evolving theories. An on going series called ‘What love must be like’ popped up in my archives each month, and I felt again like a child, seeing myself grow.
In 19 days I will hop a plane to the Riviera Maya, and surrounded by rich yellows and seductive reds, I will delight in the sharing of these revalations, and regale in the coming together of two amazing elements.
Congratulation Michelle and Robert Dillon…. I am in awe of your light.
“The tide is pulled and kept constant by the gravitational pull of the moon. These two things rely on one another to continue on, unabashed. You are what pushes and pulls me against all the otherworldly concepts. When you are there to ground me, my world can keep on spinning. “