Last week, a thunderstorm crossed Chicago. All that sunny day, we were warned about the imminent danger–about the derecho winds, the baseball-sized hail, the floods. Finally, a lot later, the sky changed. Clouds rolled in. Lightning blinked, then connected in a long slow bolt, a twitching line to the ground that lasted long enough to watch it. I stared at that bolt longer than any other in my life–electricity firing right there in front of me. And then, there was a darkness and a stillness…as if the trees, the birds, the air itself held a breath, waiting for something to happen. Time seemed to be suspended waiting, waiting, waiting for the energy of the storm, for the air to release and breath again, for a hard cleansing rain. But only a little rain and the darkness became just the night.
I photographed that night. Close. I wanted to see the evidence of the energy in the little drops of rain, in the silence of the leaves.
Now, a week later, I am sitting here, listening to a gentle rain on the windows, and looking at the photos and I think…I was too close. Sometimes I am too far away and there’s no drama, no details, no passion for the moment. But being too close, there’s no discernible pattern, and no focus. The moment passes, the magical energy of the storm fades, and the memories linger.
Lessons learned on anticipation and distance? I can’t keep anticipation forever. I need a little distance, a little space to see things clearly, to see the pattern.
But please storm, come back soon. Very soon.