A creative kind of disappointment

Photo by Yaroslav Shuraev on Pexels.com

Disappointment is simply a dream that doesn’t want to become a reality

Richard Wilkin

Have you ever created something only to discover what you had envisioned doesn’t really exist? I spent an hour yesterday morning walking around parks near my home toting my camera. Inspired by some of the intriguing yard art in our neighbourhood, I was beginning to think about creativity as a process. Where it comes from, where it resides, and where it goes when it disappears. Poised with my camera, I shot dandelions in the moment as a sudden burst of wind caused white whispers of seed to scatter into the air. Magnificent, certainly, perhaps even a photograph worthy of posting somewhere.

As I continued to walk, I shot two red winged blackbirds who were either fighting over a nesting spot or defending one that already existed. Clear, sharp in focus, images of birds whose red stripes were vivid showcased in the camera lens. More than satisfied, I continued walking along a creek bank. Pelicans feeding on fish, and performing some morning bathing abulations that I have never witnessed before. They are typically difficult birds to photograph because as soon as they sense your presence they turn their backs towards you. So thinking I had captured at least one shot of these antics got my adrenaline moving.

On the way back, I discovered a piece of yard art that was fun, whimsical and full of hidden surprises. An antique screen door used as the backdrop for an antique hand pump fashioned into a water fountain. Lily of the valley graced the base of the display and in amongst the tiny white flowers were three miniature gnomes in various poses. I didn’t even notice them at first but felt a shimmer of delight in this discovery quickly anticipating how wondrous these hidden glimpses would be in a photo.

Later in the afternoon, I spied a tiny wasp nest attached on the underside of a ladder propped against our backyard fence. It was petite and it took some time to process and register what it was. But before I would remove the nest, I ran to get my camera so I could photograph this tiny little wonder. Popping on a different lens for macro shots, I quickly began snapping pictures from different angles. Paper thin, fragile in shades of grey, white, with swirls of black lines, the subtle texture of the nest quite stunning. A wasp emerged as I was taking a picture which was really neat but I decided there was no point pushing my luck and was grateful I had captured many images.

So last evening I took out my camera card to upload the photos from my creative adventures throughout the day. When I opened the compartment to retrieve my camera card, it was obvious that the card had not been firmly placed in its slot. Feeling a sickening, sinking sensation just below my heart center, I was fairly certain there would be nothing on it.

Ignoring the truth of what was happening, I placed the card in the slot on my computer. Clicking to import new photos, I was confronted with the fact that there really were no images on that card. Absolutely none at all. All of those amazing creative fragments which had danced in my head throughout the day, gone. That swing of energy that carried me through the day had only culminated in a sense of disappointment which lingered for longer than it should have.

Reflecting on this now has made me realize that disappointment should not negate the power of creative bursts of effort. There is much in life that disappoints us and it seems best to release those feelings rather than to cling to emotions that disturb and distort. Creative practice is just that. Practice. In hindsight, the magic of all those moments behind the camera lens continue to inspire. Not to mention learning a rather tough lesson about camera cards!

When we adjust and adapt our expectations, when we summon flexibility as needed, our disappointment disappears!

Stay healthy and safe!