Day 365

Dear 2016,

I remember how you began, on a puddly, slushy-wet-snow day much like today. You were gray and gloomy, and I walked around our little house at the coast of Maine with my camera, nervously, not knowing what to photograph or how to photograph it, and wondering if I had made a terrible mistake in committing to a year long project.

Those first few weeks, you pulled the rug out from under my feet and let me fall, but you didn’t let me fall too hard – just hard enough that I would learn how to accept myself better, let go a little more and face my insecurities and my fears rather than hiding from them. I found out how to be playful in my photography again, to separate my creative work from outside influence and focus on my own self expression. I found a way of seeing that became my own. I didn’t like all of my images this year, but the ones that I liked really spoke to me like nothing I had done before. When I look at them, I see myself in them. I hear the music I like to play, see the words I like to write, and I feel how my heart turns to water, pours itself into these pictures and looks back at me.

Every day of you so far, I have recorded in photographs and words. There were wonderful days, when my heart felt so content and at peace, and dark days when I was sad or disappointed. There were days where I had time to think, and rest, and and others where I was running from one thing to the next or working long days at my desk without a break. There were days when I saw photographs bursting around me like bright fireworks and I could barely click the shutter fast enough to capture them. There were others where I saw nothing, where I hunted and still found nothing, and the last light left, and I took a picture of something I wouldn’t have otherwise only because I needed to. There were days where I cried because you were very unfair, and days where I could have kissed you for joy that I had the privilege to be alive in you.

You tested me this year, and sometimes I felt my roots slipping. Like the little pine tree by the ocean, I felt the exhilaration of being in the thick of your storms, bending to the wind. I remembered my place. I didn’t choose a safe life in the forest, protected, hidden, with nets beneath me. I chose to experience my life on the brink, the way I knew I was meant to live it, because with all of the risk in doing so came all of the glorious wonders that I have seen with my eyes, touched with my hands, felt with my heart.

I am home, and I would choose this place again a thousand times.