Into the darkness.

What do you see? At night? When you are alone?

What do you imagine? Late at night? When nobody is around? Do you worry about your bills? About the next day? Maybe even the ultimate thing — dying? Does that make you fearful? Does it scare you? Does it excite you?

I’ve been reading some posts from friends. On Facebook. On Twitter. Even a few on Instagram.

Some are about loneliness. Some are about the long cold night. Some are about a day. Good or bad. Some are just saying good night. Some are about not being able to fall asleep. Some are about having somebody to talk to at 3am. Online.

I have no answers to these questions. Or, the posts.

I have my own late night issues. Mostly, I’m just not a great sleeper. It’s not worry. Even about the great ending. I’ve always reckoned that we all have to pass sometime. I just don’t sleep sometimes.

I have my own ways of dealing with it. When I know I have to get up early, it’s in pill form. Sometimes, it’s just simple carb loading and decline. Sometimes, not wanting to disturb anybody, work helps. Usually, in the studio. Once in a great while, I go outside and look around. I make pictures. At 2 am. Or, 3 am. I’m sure if a neighbor saw me, the local cops would appear asking me what I was doing.

That’s how this picture came to be.

Not sleeping. Walking. Looking. Seeing. Making a picture or two. Let me tell you, things get spooky out there. At about 3 am. In the darkness. Well after dark. Way before dawn.

Now you are wondering, I think. How is the tree lighted? It’s an urban area. The light comes from a street light. Shining from across the street. With a nice long exposure, I was able to put enough light on the sensor to illuminate the tree. The bare tree. The moody tree. The spooky tree.

In order to get my head in the right place to talk to you, I listened to Spirit. From an album called, “The Family That Plays Together.” For the more youthful of you who read Storyteller, I’m fairly sure you never heard of them. For the folks around my age, you still might  have never heard of them. They were only around for maybe five years. The album that I’m playing was recorded in 1969. Some members left. New players joined the band. Eventually the band splintered into a bunch of other bands. They are like branches of a musical tree.

That was a time.

Creativity burbled up from an underground spring. It carried on through the 1970s. Music changed. Art changed. It changed many people. I changed me. It brought me to where I am today.

Today, everybody is a musician, a photographer, a writer, a chef. That’s okay. But, really? There isn’t enough people to consume all of the new work. Not that they would. Because the new creators want everything right now. They don’t want to pay their dues. To learn. To grow. To practice. To grow some more. They’ll tell you that they don’t need a gatekeeper because the want to keep control of their work.

Seriously? Truth be told, they’d love a gatekeeper. Alas, much of their work doesn’t cut it. It isn’t good enough for mass sales. Make no mistake, sales aren’t everything. But, that’s how you put food on the table. And, sales mean that people are doing something with your work. They are seeing it. They are liking it. They want more. That’s the trick. Do something so well that your readers, fans, viewers, want more.

That.

That is why I work hard every day. Why I do what I do. Everyday.

What about you?

Sure. I get it. Day jobs. Paying the bills. Putting the food on the table.

But.

I hope that you think about your passion daily. After dinner, family time, good night-time to children. I hope that you do whatever you enjoy. It doesn’t have to be taking pictures at 3am. It could be watching a movie to study the cinematics. To look at how light is used. To see beginnings, middles and ends. Just to learn.

Learn. There’s my word for the year. I didn’t think about it. I didn’t force it. It just sort of came.

Apparently, I’ve ingested it. It’s my word for the year. It rises up out of the primordial mists that make up my brain, heart and soul. It’s right where I want it. I don’t think about it. It’s just there. There for whenever I need it.

And, you?

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