Photography as Self-Help – The Road to Redemption

The road is long
With many a winding turn
That leads us to who knows where…
Rufus Wainright
A selection from the lyrics to the song “He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother”
I have always loved to look at roads and paths and sandy walkways leading to who knows where.

When I’m on the highway or freeway, I’m all business. I drive. I don’t listen to music or my books on CD and my eyes are on the road and the drivers surrounding me… behind and ahead. I don’t like to talk in the car, if there’s someone else there… or not. I’m a good driver… a careful driver… an annoying driver.

But when I get on the side roads… the service roads… the roads leading to places I have never been… it is a magical journey… at least to me. To someone else, it may just be the way home.

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I remember wanting – so badly – to find a real-live labyrinth. My friend had recently traveled to the Caribbean and sent me a photo of herself walking one… and it looked so peaceful and healing.

I have another friend who guided a group of us – on the phone, no less. Now that’s talent! – on a meditation where we visualized a labyrinth. I can still remember her voice, so calm and clear.

I wanted to find my own labyrinth. It was purely happenstance that I passed one on the way home from my therapist’s office, where she’d told me, once again, that I needed to take better care of myself.

I was driving along and – bam! – there it was, in the middle of a teaching hospital greenspace. I must have passed it a hundred times before and never noticed it!

You had to pay to park and I had no money, so I did something bad. I followed a back road for faculty and parked on crunchy gravel, under a tree. It was hot that day and the sun felt heavenly. I walked it until I got to a bench under a tiny tree. The sun was bright on my face and I felt wonderful. Surely, I would be forgiven my tresspassing. And I was… in fact, I was rewarded with a beautiful twenty minute walk in circles… on a road… to nowhere in particular, and yet… to somewhere. The center.

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What is it about these roads that captures my attention so?

Maybe it’s about travel or running away… or running toward… or not running at all, but dreaming of places I’ve never been.

Maybe it’s art… the sensual curves… the shade dappled under my feet… or the mystery.

Roads go on
While we forget, and are
Forgotten like a star
That shoots and is gone.
Taken from “Roads” by Edward Thomas

 

Does the road eventually end? Yes. But if you look ahead you notice… it has begun again. There’s never an end. Not really.

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