Pushing the Scope

The Dark Side of the Lens is a captivating short film put together by Mickey Smith, an Irish surf photographer. The transcript is beautiful and has a few phrases in it that always linger long with me: "I never set out to become anything in particular, only to live creatively and push the scope of my experience for adventure and for passion. That's still all that means something to me...same as most anyone with dreams."


"I might have to scrape by for a living, but at least it's a living worth scraping...there may not be a future in it, but at least it's a present worth remembering."

My desire to stay on the move often makes me feel flaky. In each new place there are new things to discover but also new people to have to say goodbye to each time. You set up your life in an apartment for the moment and "nest" a little bit, only to pack it all up shortly. But as with anything in life there are pros and cons to every situation. Though the "unsettledness" is sometimes hard, there are the flipside benefits of getting to see new places, have a wide scope of experiences, delve into new cultures, make more friends, gather different ideas, and of course, eat good food. One of my favorite authors, whose words I repeatedly come back to, put a beautiful concept in my head about travel: You open as in childhood and—for a time—receive this world. There’s the visceral aspect too—the huntress who is free. Free to go, free to return home bringing memories to lay on the hearth (Francis Mayes, A Year in the World).

After my lease was up in New York, I decided it was time again for some movement, some gathering of things, to continue to spread the scope of my experience. And there were people I wanted to see, plain as that. I went to Spain for three weeks with a visits to friends in Madrid, Pamplona, Bilbao, and Vigo. Pedro had a friend's wedding in Vigo so I was able to attend my first Spanish wedding which was quite a treat; and time with the Morales is always great. After that we set off for Japan, where he is working, for two months. More posts on that later...

Madrid: A friend recommended this park to me behind the Palacio Real and the Cathedral. It was gorgeous in it's autumn colors and the still summer green grass. I had a lovely stroll.

Next two, Pamplona: Where the running of the bulls passes and the Cathedral.

While visiting a friend in Bilbao we went to the coast which is a quick hour-ish trip by car. The País Basco countryside and coasts are stunning and much like the ones in Galicia. Above is Bakio. A little ways down the coast was a church, San Juan Gaztelugatxe, built on a peninsula in the 900s! We climbed down and then up about a million steps to get there, but the views were priceless. My jaw was floored in awe the whole time. I really couldn't take it all in, and it almost "hurt". In A Severe Mercy, Sheldon Vanauken talks about a beauty that hurts. While beauty is pure and good, I think that sometimes there can be a pain in that something can be so beautiful, you just absolutely can't take it in or fully understand it. And that leaves you wanting. But maybe that's one of the purposes of beauty.

I went to the Guggenheim in Bilbao...a long time dream. The building designed by Frank Gehry is itself enough to go for—there's not a straight line in it! Minimal majesty. The collection of modern art was fantastic as well.