The Station: Part II

Photos by Noelle

The photography meetup instructions were to be there no later than 6:30am on that Sunday morning. I probably should’ve left everyone a note “Come anytime between 6:30am and 7:30am, because the Zephyr is never on time”, but why spoil the anticipation. As it turned out, she presented herself, full of hydraulics and steam, at 7:45. As everyone grumbled about the delay I quietly sipped my coffee and admired her individuality. “Arrive whenever you want, honey. Nobody’s going anywhere until you get here.”

I have avoided a number of the meetups because I don’t have a camera. Just an iPhone. I have found all the lenses and tripods daunting in this group. No one has ever said a word to me or done anything to make me feel awkward, this is my own shit. I know it doesn’t matter on an intellectual level, but emotionally, I’m thirteen years old again getting beat up at the bus stop for not fitting in with the other kids. Cheap clothes, pudgy, dirty finger nails, greasy hair, nothing remotely fashionable, current or hip. I have probably never fit in, at any point in my life, but whenever I lack confidence I’m that poor, little girl, scrambling not to be noticed. Not that an iPhone isn’t hip or sophisticated. I’ve got a six, but in my mind I often feel this oddness of being the only one there with a phone and no paraphernalia.

Photography aficionados are a hearty and welcoming bunch. They love trading information and working their craft. Everyone is going to great lengths to set up their equipment and find the exact right angle and I’m just looking for a pole to lean against. People are trading tips and current Lightroom techniques and I haven’t a clue what any of it means. I look at my finger nails. They’re clean.

It’s weird the stuff we hold onto. The knee jerk reactions that are so deeply hardwired they feel like they belong to someone else. A few weeks before when the event was posted I sat and thought about it for a good long while. I’ve photographed this train station before, last summer. Click the link below if you’d like to see that series. I have an artistic eye that exceeds, more often than not, my lack of better equipment and software. It seemed silly to still be sitting, hunched down, on the school bus hoping no one would notice me. So I clicked the RSVP ‘yes’ I would go.

Everything changes with one genuinely, heartfelt choice that invites in newness. Histories can change on such small things. Just a click and my younger self is redeemed, as easy as walking through a station door. https://noellevignola.wordpress.com/2014/09/08/night-train/?preview=true&preview_id=1598&preview_nonce=90bbf66289&post_format=standard

Photos by Noelle

The Station: Part I

Photos by Noelle

It’s a huge love affair. The feeling of train stations. Newer ones aren’t as sexy, but that pulse of people moving places and massive engines engaged around me remains. There is a wondrous sense of travel, time and motion in train stations, even in the hubbub of a morning commute, that never feels as strained as that in an airport. Time becomes the maleable element. There’s little fanfare when the California Zephyr is late. In fact, it might shock everyone if her silvery self arrived on time. Where else do we so willing accept that there is a rhythm we can’t effect and casually grab some coffee and take a seat? Few places, whether within us or external to us, are like this in our lives. We are all in a tremendous hurry. To where? Who knows? Most of us can tick off places and times on some schedule, but could hardly tell you what cracks a whip, so persistently in our minds, to make us move faster.

In the United States the name of all the main train stations remains Union Station. I find a cozy comfort in this, too. A familiarity that fills you the moment you walk through their doors. They are timeless places hawking to eras long since past, and yet, here I am like thousands of others partaking of the stone and glass. Thousands long dead and vanished in the dust that swirls upon the early morning tracks invite me in. Train stations are, for me, time machines for touching on the life force of dreamers.

Photos by Noelle

Little Light

Little lights dot the slopes in the crevasses of rocky crags and the meetings of hillsides. I see them winking on the edges of prairie grasses or from a thin strip of spring ice. So small a thing yet it holds me fast on the trail. I will change positions, lie in mud, and contort myself ridiculously to capture even a wisp of it. Mindfulness at its best. Who doesn’t love a sweeping landscape and my camera is full of those, too, but the little lights demand my full attention. They don’t come obviously or easily. Flickers on baby’s breath and shafts seeming to eminate outward from an inner source I can’t see. Prairie land in particular is full of such light. In all that rolling sameness are small plants acting as beggars to a regal sun.

Soar

Gulls at Johnston Lake: Photo by Noelle

Gulls at Johnston Lake: Photo by Noelle

What if it is all to get us to let go of the cliff ledge? What if we’re all being shaken off our belief we must have security, predictability and knowledge? Every hardship a challenge to the internal structures we create to define who we are, how everything works and what is true and real?

What if all of this is for our awakening? To encourage our understanding of freedom, rather than a lesson on imprisonment. To forget everything we think we know and let go of the ledge. Free fall and trust we will fly. What if it’s the reason we chose to live? We wanted every single moment to happen, because our spirit already knew it could soar.

Coyote

Free Bing photos

Free Bing photos

Early, before the sun is up. Breakfast half eaten against the back drop of autos heading into the city. I hear them yelping between the motors in the nearby field. The night was cold for summer, giving rise for them to howl for autumn.

I am pressed and clean for the day ahead, but their barks call to my wildness beneath the suit. All these routines and order, economies, mortgages and regulations. I stand at the window and listen. My heart beats faster with the next call and I realize it is not order I am hungry for, but the feel of dirt and the grass beneath my feet. To run and howl with abandon with my kin.

Alas, a deep final breath at the sill, as I turn from the window, checking my coyote spirit as I head for the door.

True Power

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” Marcus Aurelius

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle

Sunset storm over the Rockies: Photos by Noelle