A favorite bike trail crossing of mine on the Great Western Trail is just a few yards off of this gravel road intersection. It’s a good stopping point to tip back our water bottles, compare notes on the ride and turn back to the trailhead where our vehicle awaits us.
Central Iowa gravel roads are a twisting, turning maze of this way and that. I’m never quite sure where the highway is to take me home again but that’s part of the adventure when I’m on a photo expedition. Finding this particular intersection – 33rd Avenue and Fillmore – has eluded me for weeks.
I was delighted a few nights ago to stumble onto a not-yet-travelled strip of gravel with gorgeous old barns, windmills and fields of cattle. While I had yet to find anything that caught my photographic eye that evening, I did make a happy discovery: the 33rd Avenue road sign. Could this be it? I drove along for a mile or two and there it was. I’d found it.
I was further thrilled another quarter mile or so to come across an old single-lane bridge. The road was lined by swamp and deep woods on either side. When I exited my car to snap a few photos, I had to make it quick as the mosquitoes – late in the evening as it was – were literally out for blood, aghast (or perhaps thrilled?) at my intrusion.
It was a successful outing. I’d found a bridge to photograph and more importantly, my elusive intersection was elusive no more.
The act of being creative, of fashioning something new, something wondrous, something uniquely different than anything anyone in the entire history of the human existence has ever done before. Whether that something be in the form of an innovative approach to everyday tasks, a beautiful work of art, generating an idea into a mechanism of words or fabric or materials or sound or some other combination of elements or even just a different way of looking at the world around us.
How many brand-new creations, innovations, discoveries or ideas have occurred over the human history of time? My brain is unable to compute the possibilities, to even contemplate what it would take to discern that. Where, how, would you even begin?
Suffice it to say, there probably isn’t too much that’s truly new anymore. It’s highly likely we humans have already tapped all there is to do, to know, to be within the realm of creativity. Or have we?
What else is there? What fantastic new breakthroughs in science or the arts or literature or music or images or architecture or film are lurking in the hearts and minds of the human experience, as of yet undiscovered? But hidden there – just THERE – all the same. Waiting for the spring load of release, that spark of ingenuity to make themselves known, either through systematic research or via an inadvertent occurrence that could not possibly be replicated no matter how hard one tried. Trip stones of discovery patiently awaiting their day in the sun.
The prospects for new advances and discoveries, beauty and fulfillment – it’s impossible to know what lies just beneath the surface of conscious reality – of any of us, really, not yet known but waiting, waiting…
This is one of the joys and lovely satisfactions of human achievement. Might that I one day be a contributing member of the creative class, however miniscule my contribution and even with only myself as an appreciative audience for what I myself might create. I only need then to trust my intuition – something I’ve started becoming more and more keen in taking note of – and to take a deep breath and commit myself to taking chances, throwing myself into my passions and maybe, just maybe, coming out on the other side with something sparkling, something new, something that wasn’t there before: creation. It most likely will appeal to no one but myself – as if that’s some small thing – but then again, it just might be SOMETHING.