Taking a Break

Ornamental Grasses

Constancy may be a virtue, but it’s a damned boring one

I stick to a daily routine because it makes me more efficient at getting things done, like walking, writing, and photography. Add to those the little projects I assign myself: re-learn some French, maybe pick up a little Spanish, read such and such novel and this other author’s short stories. Do some cooking and maybe explore a new recipe. Check out a TV series that’s new to me. Get the guitar out of the closet and work up some calluses. See some friends. Go to Toronto to visit some of the sites. Email friends and colleagues, and maybe post something on one of those social websites. Read some science and tech stuff. What about using LaTeX to typeset a book? How’s that working out? Does it embed fonts into its PDF. Oh yeah, a bunch of new podcasts came in and there’s that jazz album I haven’t listened to in a long time …

Like everyone else, I’m juggling this and that and occasionally (often, really), dropping pins. Most of the time it doesn’t matter much. But every so often I hit the wall. Bam!

Then, instead of pressing forward, I want to withdraw. No, amend that. I need to withdraw. And I do. I recently posted an image on Flickr that said “Time for a Break, Be back soon” and instead of posting new daily images, I’ve simply dropped photography for awhile. I’ve dropped seeing friends for awhile too. Not because I don’t enjoy seeing them, but because I’m overwhelmed. The world is with me too much, too soon.

I have to step back, relax, and simplify. I deliberately slow down in everything except writing. Except for immediate family, I become a hermit to the world. It doesn’t bother me to do this because I have built-in hermit tendencies anyway. Essentially I’m a hermit who likes people. How weird is that?

So, call these withdrawal states what? Hermit attacks? The way other people have panic attacks?

I can always tell when they’re approaching. My photography goes stale. When I’m on, I can walk the same paths I always do and always, every day, see new things to photograph. It’s possibly my one photographic gift, to see the new in the familiar. When I’m on, the world around me resonates with images, and I pick and choose a few from them.

Then I start going through periods where I don’t see much to photograph. It gets worse. I reach the point where I don’t even care if I see anything or not, and quit carrying a camera around. Hermit alert! Downtime required.

And that’s where I am right now. Hermit mode, waiting for a reboot. However, looking out the window of Starbucks today, I’m starting to see some interesting images. And I brought along a camera. The pendulum may be swinging back.

Some people are manic-depressive. I’m expansive-contractive. Like a subatomic element that one moment is a wave, the next a particle, existing in two contradictory states, depending on the observer. Like a photon. The stuff photography is made from.

Living in Heisenberg Uncertainty. The universe is a strange place. But it photographs well.

3 thoughts on “Taking a Break

  1. Gene,

    True, so true. Despite our love of all our hobbies, friends, and interests, it DOES feel right sometimes to simply set one down for a while and walk away. I’d wager that many of us have become too addicted to our computer world from time to time. Enjoy your hermit-state. We know you’ll be back.


  2. Amy, thanks for commenting. My hermit break is mostly over now, and I feel better for it. It helps to slow down sometimes.


  3. Gene: FWIW, I saw this coming. I am always amazed at how much you accomplish, and am not surprised at all that you need “reboots” … as do we all.

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