The scene is one I can imagine centuries ago. A young man overlooking his homeland, within his reach a promise of a career to ensure him of a great life. A “normal life” both he and his family have dreamt about since he was a kid.
His dream at his fingertips, he does not move. He sits there perplexed at the struggle within his soul. A piece of him desires something very different, something unknown. He can taste the adrenalin of this uncertainty.
Two thoughts tangle, tearing him up. A decision has to be made. A divergence of his universe, in one he will stand up, walk back to the village and accept his career to settle into a normal life, while in the other he’ll look over his land one last time and accept adventure as his new destiny.
The divergence was instantaneous.
He sits motionless, wondering which spirit remains. The shadow of a setting sun shifts the appearance of his surroundings and over the horizon, a faint sound calls out catching his attention. He draws a breath and looks over his land.
“How did you end up doing what you’re doing?” her question snapped my head up from the photograph in front of me. “You had a freshly minted MBA, a simple plan of embracing the American Dream working with a Fortune 500 and somehow you fell into this crazy global existence.” She looked at me half-mockingly.
“The American Dream rejected me…and I panicked,” I laughed. “Once the seed of doubt entered my thinking, there was no looking back.”
I look back at the photo. Wonder what life would have been like if I’d hung around the States instead of taking a flyer of adventure in Asia?
Enjoying this contradiction, I review the photo and the stack of journals in front of me, searching to find a trace of a young man who disappeared so long ago.
She holds out a piece of paper, and reads from it:
“Invincibility. The youthful feeling of blind confidence where anything imagined can be achieved. Memories of flying down a mountain, one foot barely touching down on a boulder before confidently taking flight again, suspending life as the other foot searches and touches down lightly only to set off once more. Freedom. Repeat until exhausted.”
“Zero fear,” she says after reading the passage. “All of his senses meshing perfectly with nature and in total confidence. No thought of failure. Bliss.”
“I can understand this feeling,” I add, “youthful invincibility is one of the best stages of life where everything seems possible…running through it all, never believing it will end.”
“Then one day, a faint touch of doubt enters the mind mid-stride and the peaceful invincibility begins to fade. Strained by the thinnest gauze of doubt, the confidence of the immortal mind of youth vanishes forever. And life begins…”
She reads to me, handing me a yellowed piece of parchment as she finishes, dated a day before the young man disappeared.
“The stage of life where we all find ourselves lost at some point…” she says aloud while carefully turning a page of a journal.
“The time between the youthful invincibility of blind confidence where everything will work out as dreamed, and the age of reason where experience brings an understanding that it’s alright if it doesn’t…”
I smile at this thought. The Gauze of Doubt introduced itself to me when my version of the American Dream faded right out of school along with the myth of a normal life. My favorite quote, Doc Holliday from the movie Tombstone still rings clear, “there’s no such thing as a normal life, there’s just life…”
The photo and journals date back to the mid-1800’s, a young man with a lust for life imprinted on his character, a man who spun his own destiny. Words of wisdom in his thoughts, words that hold strength because they’re backed by his actions.
Experience matters. Friendship matters. Integrity matters. After his disappearance, his journals and stories focus on the lives he touched and his new surroundings.
Veering off the well-worn road to success, he chose the path of adventure. He traveled. He learned. He traveled some more.
He never forgot the moment the gauze of doubt covered his eyes, unexpectedly sending him hurtling into a divergent universe. A universe he created.
There is a sense of envy I have reading his words, my wish to experience and see the pieces of life he lived.
Three stages of life formed his writing, at each stage an opportunity to accede into a new reality:
“There is a bit of Thoreau in his philosophy, his writing reminds me of the quote “…not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves...[Henry David Thoreau, Walden]” she looks back at me while taking a sip of her coffee. “The thin gauze of doubt he talks about may dissolve the confidence of youth, but in doing so it ramps up the adrenaline of reality.”
“Almost two hundred years separate you two, but yes, you do have your great, great grandfather’s mind, half stuck in reality and half elsewhere,” her eyes giggle, meeting mine.
And doubt seizes the day. Will I ever find out what happened to him?
It is intriguing to look back in time, to dream of changing the unchangeable, but the past pales in anticipation of tomorrow’s opportunities.
I do not move. I sit there perplexed at the struggle within my soul. A piece of me desiring something very different, something unknown, and I can taste the adrenalin of this uncertainty.
The divergence was instantaneous…
Thank you very much!
thats very beautiful photography..i like the B and W, feel emotion..
Thank you so much ~ B&W photography can be a perfect medium to bring out emotion, wishing you a great 2017.
Reblogged this on Silhouette Wanderlust and commented:
Wonderful photos and beautiful words. This writing soothes the soul.
🙂 Thank you so much ~
SO beautiful, Randall. I’m so glad, without any doubt, that we share the same part of the multiverse.
Thank you very much, Ann ~ this is quite a special universe we are sharing 🙂
gorgeous photos!! I love B&W
Thank you ~ there are times when B&W can bring forth expressions otherwise difficult to reveal. Cheers to a great ’17 ahead.
indeed when it’s in B&W you sometimes can have more ideas/imagination/ideas about the photo. In color, the theme, mood etc. is sometimes already set because of the colors. Cheers to a great and healthy 2017 ^^
Sending you Christmas Greetings Randall.. Wishing you Peace and Joy where ever your travels take you in the world.
Love and Blessings And All the very best for 2017
Wishing you the same Sue, the best to you and your family in 2017.
🙂 Thank you Randall.. 🙂 Big Smiles
Just want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season filled with friends and family: hope, love, faith, and good cheer.
Wish you and your family a wonderful year ahead Dana ~ great health and happiness for you all!
Wishing you nice Christmas days, Dalo, full of much joy and warmth, and lovely winter holidays, too, bringing you many good and beautiful things! 🙂
Dear Nicole, a wonderful note and wishing you the best of happiness as we move into 2017. 🙂
Wishing you a wonderful holiday season, Dalo. Thank you for your blogs, it is always a happy day when you post something new. Have a wonderful New Year!
A wonderful wish and wonderful words Inese ~ wishing you the same as we move into 2017. Cheers ~
Thank you so much for your good wishes! You are a man of many holidays, and isn’t it wonderful 🙂 If all the New Year days celebrated by other nations were marked in our calendars, it would do so much good. People would think of each other, congratulate each other, smile to each other.
And I’m sure one convergence is that we’re all glad you did take off and share.. 🙂
Beautiful ~ I love this reply, as it makes me excited for the next one that comes my way 🙂 Cheers to a great 2017, wish you success and happiness as the year moves forward.
Another amazing collection of stunning and powerful photographs. I love the portraits. I can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for you ! Happy new year and happy travels
There is something about 2017 that gets me excited ~ in part happy to have 2016 in my rearview mirror, but mostly to experience what this coming year has to offer. Cheers to one of adventure and happiness!
Do you have some exciting plans for 2017 ?
The second to last photo is very beautiful!! I wish we had a sunset like this in the Netherlands 🙂
Thank you very much ~ and there is so much of the beauty of the Netherlands I wish we had here! We could trade, or better yet take in the beauty of travel and visit such sights. Wishing you a wonderful 2017.
Wishing you a happy new year and happy & meaningful trails.
Thank you much Sidran, wishing you happy trails as well.
I wish you a year full of inspiration and creativity! Warm greetings from Romania, Randall!
Thank you, my friend ~ wishing you the same and hopefully one day we can catch up in Central Europe for a coffee, beer and many good stories! Cheers to a great 2017.
If you visit Bucharest and the vicinities, I would like to be your guide! I would be a good guide, because here is my world! But we have a communication problem! My English is based on Google Translate, and … movies. I can handle with writing, but the dialogue is hard! I understand English speech, but I miss the linguistic exercise!
If you laugh about my “Oxfordian” pronunciation, then maybe we will use Romanian, and I laugh by you! 😀
This I will certainly do. A communication problem is a small thing ~ I think we’d figure it all out. Really do look forward to see Bucharest at some point! I’ll begin practicing my Romanian (or my Romulan).
With Romulan or not, I’ll wait for you! We will definitely find a way of understanding. I will take vacation and I’ll show you some places, that no guide can show you!
Thank you very much Petrus. Wish you a great 2017 of shooting.
i love the black and white photograph, i think the touch of gold is it’s soul waiting patiently to be heard 🙂
your words always fill me with “I wonder” and my mind then wanders into that space of lost in between being found
Thank you for a beautiful view of your world
Take Care…You Matter…
I think it is always a healthy mind that runs around between the space of being lost and found, I like the way you put this. Wishing you a great day ahead Mary and take care.
i had to smile at your healthy mind, i like that ….
if we were all found, then we would have no purpose of being in this moment…i enjoy being lost, i find the most amazing moments to become a part of 🙂
You have a great day too Randall
Gorgeous. Perhaps an overused word but so perfect.
Love your infusion of Thoreau, Randall. How many times I’ve wondered if I simply chose the easy route at life’s intersections, I’ve lost count, but the few times I didn’t… Ah, those were the ones I cherish still. I’m pretty sure, at least in this universe, you made the right choices. 😉
I love these photos, especially the portraits. The use of black and white really conveys a sense of mood and mystery.
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This almost makes me sad! I often wish I had the same optimism & blond confidence that everything will work out for the better that I think came so easily before.
The photos are beautiful, I especially the B&W with gold. :))
I hope not too sad 🙂
Sometimes I wonder where my eternal optimism comes from, but I do think it dissipates as we age. The pros and cons of maturity perhaps. Wishing you a great end to summer Alina!
Reblogged this on From 1 Blogger 2 Another.
I’ve known you for 10+ years. But I never know you are such a brilliant photographer. I love your photos. Each of them!
Thank you very much, Yin Jia, isn’t it funny how we get to know people in one environment, and then later we find out different things about their life 🙂 Yes, photography is a little hobby I enjoy, takes me to some new places and also learn a lot more about the places/cultures I see. Wishing you a great start to the autumn.
You have a wonderful life, as you have had experienced a lot. Great picture, especially those black and whites.
Thank you very much, Yin Jia, it is very nice to hear you talk about my photos and that you enjoyed them. My life has been quite lucky in terms of being able to experience so much, and mostly to have met such great people along the way. Wish you a great autumn ahead 🙂
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stunning work! Excellent! so motivating and inspiring !!!
Just came from your photography site…wow! There is one of the great things in this world, and that is finding people to inspire ~ well done on your part 🙂 Look forward to seeing more and enjoy.
That is so nice, Dalo, and I feel really honored by your fine word. THAT is so motivating to share images… …thank you for that!
Wonderful blog, great photos! Genuine and original !! ❤
Wow, Randall – with each new post, or better said artwork, I read from you my admiration of your work grows some more. I find myself wanting to comment on so many different aspects of what you are writing about, there is just so much thought-stirring input to be appreciated here! I have heard of the multiverse theory, but need to investigate further – is it by any chance related to the idea of parallel lives? I find the “gauze of doubt” description to be very true, and can relate. Also, yes – perfect quote by Thoreau “…not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves…”. Again something I can relate to from my own experience, and it reminds me of the saying/quote “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose”. Your photography is sublime as always! You capture the spirit of the things you observe. Thanks for sharing your gifts with us! Have a great week 🙂