Search for Simplicity

Last night we watched A River Runs Through It, based on Norman Maclean’s book of the same title.  It wasn’t the first time of course, but each time I’m reminded what a beautiful and human story it is.  There is quite a wonderful feel to it and of course the filming is superb; it fully absorbs me and touches my heart.  By no means are the characters simple, yet there is a certain simplicity and quietness to the complexity.

Grasses in the field | Washington

Grasses in the field | Washington

As Norman and his brother Paul fished the river so I love to spend time along the river, photographing.  The troubles and complexities of life are left behind as soon as I step out there and God’s beauty surrounds and fills me.

Grasses and flower after the rain | Washington

Grasses and flowers after the rain | Washington

The story makes me think about relationships, about how people interacted.  Sure seems very different than today.  But even a few years ago it was indeed more personal.  Imagine writing a letter on paper, with a pen.  Or have a good conversation on the telephone, or better yet, how about in person, face to face.

Grasses and reeds grace the edge of a wetland | Washington

Grasses and reeds grace the edge of a wetland | Washington

We’re so connected now, perhaps fully overwhelmed by technology, with our iPhones and texts and emails, etc., that the human interaction has nearly vanished.  Are we hiding behind this technology, afraid of each other?  Eventually the signals fade and so do friendships.

An old fence post, fading into the field | Washington

An old fence post, fading into the field | Washington

As I walk down the paths along the grassy fields, their delicate simplicity and beauty allows me to reflect on the days past.  On the friends lost to distance and time.  But also to imagine and reflect on the days to come.  The rays of the sun eventually break through even the gloomiest of days….

Afternoon sunshine illuminating summer grasses | Washington

Afternoon sunshine illuminating summer grasses | Washington

I found perfect joy on many occasions among these grassy fields.  All I carried was a little Sony RX100 point-and-shoot camera.  Often in the company of my awesome wife and our sweet dog Stan.  Simple and beautiful and glorious.

As I get older I search more for this elusive simplicity.  I still think of the days I traveled a lot chasing landscapes but now see that I’m greatly enjoying the little things so much more.  There is more excitement in walking down to the river I know than to go chasing some far off lands.  It is like getting a letter from an old and true friend.  There is history there, memory, personal experience, connection.

Frosted grasses and reeds | Washington

Frosted grasses and reeds | Washington

In the end then, I love the way Norman put it:

“Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.  I am haunted by waters.”

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