Author Archives: Gary Voland

Chihuly at Cheekwood

    

     Cheekwood Botanical Gardens will be wrapping up it’s exhibition of Dale Chihuly’s brilliant glass sculptures soon, so you’ve got just a few more days to make it out there before the show is gone. The gardens provide a natural, organic canvas to showcase the beauty of his designs.

     I arrived a little before sundown with some friends, and the glasswork looks beautiful in daylight. After the sun sets, accent lighting carves out every nuance and curve. The attention to detail is incredible.

     Chihuly’s work has been exhibited through installations all over the world, and it is a special treat to have part of his amazing body of work so close to home. The display ends on October 31st. If you plan on making it out there, give yourself enough time to stroll around and soak up the environment. You will not want to rush through this, and there is a lot to see.

     If you don’t have time to make it out, you can see more of my visit over at my Flickr page.

    

Follow Your Bliss

     This is a photo of my nephew. He’s 18 months old here. And fast. As soon as I had him in focus and framed in the shot, he took off and this is what I captured. The first time I saw the image I fell in love with it. I didn’t expect it to evoke the kind of emotions it does, but the more I look at it the more it means to me.

     His legs are growing strong and he has a fascination with bringing the horizon closer to him.  You should see his face when he runs to his mommy. It’s priceless. He is in a beautiful stage of life where running after what makes him happy is pure instinct, and fear takes a backseat to exploration. A living example of following your bliss. I hope he never loses that. I’m trying to learn from his example.

     About three years ago, things were not looking up for me. I was in a rut and had been there for a very long time. The dreams, ideas and aspirations I had in my youth had, like my nephew in the photo above, slowly gone out of focus and away from me. That’s what happens when you stand still in life. It keeps going on whether you join the parade or watch it go by. I would go through my day with this weight hanging on me like a lead winter coat that I could not take off. I felt suffocated. I couldn’t find relief, only escape, and that never lasted very long. The problem with escape is the comfort it brings only sticks around if the pursuer stops pursuing. Try as I might, I could not escape myself.

     If the conscience is the truant officer of the soul, then mine is like Tommy Lee Jones in “The Fugitive”, relentless, dogged, uncompromising. I could think of very logical reasons why it was perfectly okay to spend one more day in misery. Why the task of living life to it’s fullest was suited for better men than me. Why the risk of taking chances exceeded any possible reward. Why the idea of following your bliss was the luxury of the independently wealthy or mentally deranged. I could spout all these with conviction and there, standing shin deep in what was left of my life’s blood, holding his hands up as I held him hostage, was my conscience saying,”I DON’T CARE!”

     Well, I started listening and I’m glad I did. I’ve always had this part of me that believed that anything is possible. What one person can do, another can do. I’m attracted to stories of survival against the odds and the redemption and endurance of the human spirit. Stories that remind me not to take life for granted and that it’s never too late to turn it all around. It’s a great thing to be alive, and I’m glad I’m here.

     I do my best to follow my bliss these days. It’s all around me. It just depends on which lens I look through whether I see it. Sometimes it’s closer, sometimes it’s farther away, but it’s always in sight. I use a camera to chart my progress and I’m grateful for such a wonderful tool that allows me to find out more about myself and those around me.

     Here’s another shot of my nephew. He looks like a student here, but he’s really the teacher.