I am not sure how to begin this entry. I feel melancholy and wonder why. Every month when the new moon returns, I prepare myself to go out with the hope of seeing it and photographing it once more. If nothing else, the endeavor reconnects me with the heavens and the Earth. I am looking forward to it this month, as this moon will not have the fan fare associated with the start of Ramadan or with that of Eid. It will be a quite trip, a trip of and for the heart, a return to the beginning. Almost twenty years ago, in the very month of October, I captured my very first moon in a photograph.
It was not the best of photos, but it did capture the moon, one of the youngest I have ever had the good fortune to capture. Since that time I have seen many moons and have discovered a beauty that is rarely seen. The new crescent moon, like many things in nature, is a hidden pearl. I marvel at how the most valuable of things in the world are hidden and require immense effort to acquire them. Take for example the pearl, a small iridescent orb of crystalline calcium carbonate formed over years inside an oyster or other mollusk deep underwater in the sea. To find it naturally is quite rare, at least these days, and I cannot fathom how it was even first discovered. To retrieve a pearl requires great effort in diving down under water tens of feet if not more, wrenching an oyster off the ocean floor, bringing it to the surface and then wrestling open the oyster with the hope that it might contain a single glowing pearl.
There is however, a deep wisdom behind this. For as soon as something of value is discovered, the greed to own as much of it as possible soon follows, and in the wake of that greed much destruction takes place. I have often pondered on notoriety and obscurity, asking myself which is best. If we allow ourselves the license to follow the ego, we will strive for notoriety, for the ego always wants to be known, even if it results in its own demise. Logic would have it, on the other hand, that obscurity is the more prudent path to follow as it will afford one much protection and desiring that protection will always keep a person safely tucked away behind the veil that conceals who they are. However, before we all go off to hide in our shells we must understand that the hidden pearls are of no benefit if they remain hidden and revealing them and giving them the notoriety they deserve helps spread their benefit to everyone.
Discovering hidden pearls over the years with a camera in hand and sharing them with others has been both a joy and a disappointment. I find great joy in sharing my photos and more so when those who look are overjoyed with them as well. As we gaze upon what is depicted in the photos we feel a connection with the Earth that brings all of us closer together. A sense of wonderment and, in some respects, a longing to see in person the same thing as that shown in the photograph develops and with that the wanderlust takes over and suddenly my audience become my companions in the field. All of us searching, seeing and falling in love with the Earth and what she gives us, to the extent that the Earth becomes a priceless treasure, in-expendable and worthy of protection.
Unfortunately, as with many hidden treasures, most people are clueless to their worth until they are elevated to notoriety. In fact, the true treasures of this world live in obscurity for their whole existence with very few ever finding them and fewer yet benefiting from what they give the world. Although I relish finding and benefiting from the hidden pearls of the world it also brings me much disappointment that more people do not garner for themselves the benefits at hand.
We need to find some hidden pearls for ourselves and drink in the value they posses to enrich our lives then share what you gleaned from them with others in the hope that we can all come to appreciate and value them. The pearls you find might be other people, or something in nature like a tree or an animal. Maybe the pearls you find are the words of a poem or a song, or possibly even the precious shining moments of life when they flash before our eyes. Whatever they might be, they must be found, valued and shared so that we can all come to cherish what we have in the world.
As I said at the start of this post, I’ll be heading out in a couple of days to search for my hidden pearl, the new crescent moon, and soon thereafter, I will return to the mountains to find the veiled autumn color that glows in obscurity. I invite you all to tag along if you wish. Just let me know.