FINE ART UNLIMITED OPEN EDITION The shadows of trees on Wizard Island being cast in direct light shining on Crater Lake, Oregon...

This Too Shall Pass

Crater Lake National Park, Oregon

FINE ART UNLIMITED OPEN EDITION

The shadows of trees on Wizard Island being cast in direct light shining on Crater Lake, Oregon.

This is the fourth photo from my 2014 artist-in-residency appointment at Crater Lake National Park.

I've been sitting on this one for quite a while. Between a very long creative drought which kept me from processing it, and also a lengthy bought of writer’s block which kept me from figuring out what to say, I just didn't feel that it was the right time to show it to anyone.

I have to be honest here. I've been in a pretty deep emotional and mental rut lately and I can't figure out why. It's a sense of emptiness and discontent and I just go through the motions of day to day life hoping that I can find a way to break out along the way. I go into 'hermit mode', retreating away from even my closest friends and most personal interactions while I spend way too much time in deep thought about my frustrations and how they are keeping me from reaching my goals. It's a slippery slope between using those thoughts to push myself forward and getting caught up in the whirlpool that drags me down. This isn't a complaint or cry for help and advice. It's just part of my personality and a result of my neglect in maintaining my 'spiritual battery'.

Maybe I'm different than most people, but I'm the type of person that needs to remember what lurks in the shadows so that I can better bask in the light. The problem is that it's easy for me to be drawn into those shadows deep enough that the light isn't even visible. And that's where I've been for the past couple of months. I isolate. I get very quiet. I think I do those things because I'm in such a negative space and I use the distance and quiet as a shield to protect the people around me.

But I've been working hard on coming out of this space. Exercising, remembering the things that I need to be grateful for and focusing on those, setting incremental goals, and keeping my eyes on the shore while I tread water are the things that are helping me move forward. Sometimes talking with other people who are also in the shadows provides some context for me. It forces me to remember the light because I'm trying to get them to see it. I start to think back on the beauty that I've witnessed and the experiences that are still out there to be had... if only I... we... reach and work for them. Mornings like the one where I took this photo are moments to be cherished: Experiencing the beginning of the day on the rim of Crater Lake during a cold October morning where I was seemingly the only person in the park, watching the sunlight dance on the rippling water and feeling it on my face with the only sounds being the wind in the trees and the clicking of my shutter. Those moments are out these for all of us. It's such a beautiful world out there.

And so as I write this, I start to tread the line between the shadows and the light. I can feel the warmth and appreciation starting to permeate those dark areas of my soul. I actually have goosebumps as I type this sentence and that tells me that I'm on the way up. I'll still be pretty quiet and distant while I emerge from the shadows, but I know that it's pretty damn bright where I'm going. In the long haul... everything is going to be alright.

Keep your chin up. Photo © copyright by TJ Thorne.