A Path Back Home
When I am in nature, certain images stop me in my tracks, and at the time I might not know why I am so drawn to them but sense they are part of a greater story, language, pattern, or blueprint that connects us all. I believe that if we look closely enough from the right angle, we can find something to appreciate about a place or living thing – and perhaps gain insight into our own nature, as well.
So it was with these images of the Saratoga Springs mineral springs that resulted from accepting the opportunity of a lifetime to slow down, linger, and lean in for a closer look, freed from the busyness of “normal” life.
During 2020, I experimented with staying close to home. Instead of spending time on the coast, hiking through the gorges of Ithaca, or visiting family in British Columbia as I would have liked to, I explored what’s right here.
With fewer tourists in town, I made more frequent trips to popular summer spots and investigated and appreciated more deeply the natural resources that were the backdrop of my childhood. I particularly was drawn to the mineral springs in the Saratoga Spa State Park, to which I returned again and again. I was intrigued by how the mineral water transforms whatever it comes in contact with – whether rock, leaves, or people. There was something deeply comforting in returning to what had been present in the background all my life. It gave me a sense of stability in a time that felt groundless and uncertain.
The two greatest resources that helped me through the turbulence of 2020 were my meditation practice and spending time in nature (with and without my camera). Both were invitations to return again and again to what is right here and become more intimate with it. To discover and deepen the path back home to what is most abiding and nourishing. To stay rather than run away into distractions, for everything that arises within us and around us is a portal for awakening.
In the simplicity of staying, I found profound satisfaction and freedom. Like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, I learned that I need not travel beyond my own yard (so to speak) for my heart’s content. How liberating to stay and appreciate what already is here and offering itself so freely: the spouting springs and flowing waters.
All of these images were created in 2020. It’s worth noting that some of the autumn images came about while immersed in the Ellen Reid SOUNDWALK installation in the park, thus adding an extra element of co-creation to the process. The images in this exhibition are also part of a larger work, 53: Staying, that pairs images from the year with original, spoken poetry and can be experienced on my website, SusanTaraMeyer.com
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