June 2014


The question being:  Is this life’s journey all about the destination, or the journey itself?  Is life all about reaching / achieving / arriving at some conceived point of being?  Or, is life all about the living itself?

One of the reasons the question has popped into my head as of late, is via photography.  As in, the types of photos I sometimes end up taking – my Drive-By Shootings… which is exactly that – my shooting something while I am literally simultaneously driving by it, before it is passed, and behind me.

Now, I have been doing these Drive-By Shootings for years now.  What about it that sparked the question of this essay to pop into my head, was my working on the last batch that I just posted yesterday, I thought of something, Richard (a fellow photographer acquaintance o’ mine, on the opposite side of this little blue marble, in the Netherlands) asked of me on the subject of my Drive-By Shootings.  The question was along the lines of, if I see something of photographic potential, while I am driving, why do I not just pull over and stop, to take the time to get a photo of it, instead of my just pointing my camera at it and depressing the shutter in hopes that I may have captured it, as I drive by at seventy-five miles per hour (or, 120 kilometers per hour, to him)?

My response back to him was, if I did that, then I would never reach my destination, as I would be pulling over every five minutes to grab a shot of something that is catching my eye.  More on this later…

IMG_0013The second reason this all has popped into my head as of late, was of this little snippet I saw online ->

What it was about this that stuck with me, was just the very last line there, “…the journey is your destination.”

Now, circle back to Richard, and the question he posed to me of my Drive-By Shootings, and my response, coupled now with that last line of that snippet, bringing to the forefront this whole – what is this life’s journey about and for?

In my response to Richard, it really got me to thinking about me and my life… how my answer of why I do not just simply stop to grab a photo, but instead just try and get it as I go flying past, pretty much describes me and my life – to me, it’s all about moving forward.  Never stopping.

When I am driving somewhere, that is my purpose – to get somewhere… that is the point of me doing it, and why I am driving – to get to a destination.  Not to just drive, and pull over every who knows what, when, and where, in order to take a photo that may be catching my eye… my task is to drive to where it is I am driving to, that’s it.

That same single-minded focus, is pretty much how I live my life.  I’m all about trying to discover, figure out, get to, and achieve this state of knowing, understanding of what me, my life is all about and for.  Trying to figure out how to survive in this life/world, to continue on.  So, my life is lived pretty much head down, in first gear, just plowing forward non-stop… I guess, just hoping that at some point, I will look up, and I will have arrived at some point where it all makes sense.

You know, while typing that last paragraph there, even I was recognizing the flaw in all of it.

Because, what if life isn’t about reaching some end point?  What if life is all about the journey itself?  Of, living?  That this whole day to day thing that we all do, is not a means to an end, but, what it is all about and for?  Life.  Living.  Being.  Growing.  Learning.  Doing.  Experiencing.

So, why the hell then, am I plowing forward, full steam ahead, with nary a look up, through it all?  How the hell do I expect to learn, understand, come to realize what I, and my life, am all about, if I am not paying attention in the classroom that I am in to learn it all?  What am I doing?  Head down, just quickly grabbing at things as they come my way, and go by… to, what?  Waiting for the bell to ring?  Hoping that, at the “end of the semester/year”, i.e. – life, it’ll all have just sunk in, and I will just know and understand?

I am happy and proud with some of the photos I have taken and gotten via my Drive-By Shootings.  And a lot of times, am just really amazed at what I was able to get, in that even more finite capturing of a fraction/moment in time, that photography already is, because I am also doing it all while careening by at a high rate of speed.

Just imagine the photos I would have gotten, if I would have actually pulled over, gotten out, taken the time to frame up, compose, shoot the scene.

Could it all be that simple?  That, life, is only all about the living?  That, this life’s journey, it’s all about the journey?

You know, I think Life is probably pretty much fed up with me.  So many times, has it tried to point out to me, that life, is really just simple and easy as that.  And me, just staring blankly back at it, not grasping that, until it just gets exasperated, throws it’s hands up in the air, and walks away.  Really, so many times has the notion that, despite how I tend to complicate the living fuck out of the simplest of things, because, well, it’s just can’t be that simple and easy!  Well, what if it just is?  It really is that simple.  Life is just that.  So, pull your head out of your ass, Jeff, and start enjoying and living it!  Taking it all in!

And I have felt and known that before, that life is all about the journey, about the living… but, somewhere, at some point, and some time, I just let that notion slip away, and became more focused on the “reality” of this life/world, whose end and purpose, seems to just be to debunk, strip, rip out any notion that we may have, that makes us think that our life is more than it is.  That we, and life, are more than we, and it, appear to be.

I sometimes note about myself, that in my “old age”, I seem to have become less right brained, and more left brained.  So analytical am I.  Always deconstructing each and every little thing down to it’s atom like scale… analyzing, analyzing, analyzing…

I don’t know.  I mean, I always do present myself with little things to point this all out to me in my life, to remind me… like, just this simple type of photos I take, these Drive-By Shootings…  did some aspect of me, direct me to start doing and taking them, as an exercise to learn this simple fact?  Yes, I believe so.  Thank you, teacher/me.

Remember, we are the creators and masters of our universe / world / life.  We are the ones who put everything, and everyone in our life… even maybe people like Richard, on the other side of this blue marble, to ask me a simple question as to why I simply just don’t do something.

Yes, I am sure Life, as well as the other aspects of ourselves, do have occasion to pull their hair out over us sometimes… but then, they just look at us and smile, minds knowing, hearts loving, souls patient, that we will figure it out and get it.

Thank you.

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