"If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it." --Toni Morrison
Besides being a photographer, I am a high school English teacher and one with a predilection for contemporary American fiction. Amongst my favorite of authors are William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck and Ernest Hemingway. Now, I must confess a few things. First, since giving birth to my second child last March, I have only read two works of fiction (gasp...I hope my department colleagues do not think less of me). I still read on a daily basis, but my reading now consists of photography books, marketing books, business books and let us not forget the parenting books (none of which seem to be helping me with my threenager situation). Secondly, I don't have the greatest memory and oftentimes, I can't remember specific details about some of the great pieces of literature that I have read. However, certain novels have dug themselves a home deep in the crevices of my mind and certain quotes from these novels seem to just resonate with me. They are like old friends, who appear just when you need them the most and help you through the most trying of circumstances.
While my husband and I were driving home from a day trip with the kids last week, I looked back at my oldest daughter in the car, who was innocently playing with her doll; suddenly, I was overcome with with emotion and I couldn't figure out why. It was something about the carefree innocence of her gesture, her laughter as the wind tousled both her hair and her doll's hair. It moved me to tears, but there was something beyond it; I just couldn't put my finger on it. I snapped a few pictures of her and a few days later while editing the images, I thought of a quote from the Toni Morrison novel Song of Solomon: "If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it" and there was my answer.
I have always been a driven person, which is an invaluable aspect of my personality. I tend to accomplish my goals that I set for myself, but I have always had to work hard to accomplish those goals. As much as this quality is an asset, it is also a detriment because while in pursuit of these goals, I often find it difficult to focus on other things. Now that I have children, I feel guilty when I put any time into my professional and personal goals; yet, at the same time I feel guilty that I am not devoting my whole self to my personal endeavors. It is a never ending cycle of pressure and it can be exhausting at times. When I looked at my daughter in the car, I was reminded that sometimes, I just have to let it go, stop being so hard on myself and enjoy the actual journey. I need to take a break from my own thoughts, feel the wind in my hair, and just let the chips fall where they may. So, there it is ...another reason why this little girl is my greatest teacher in life.