catching illusions

I wrote to a friend yesterday that I’ve been busy catching illusions. I referred to my commitment to let them stay so I could grieve their passing. And then spent the rest of the day wondering what I actually meant.

I thought first of the literal meaning of images I like to catch on camera. Rarely these days, do I just accept that image as finished or ready to share. No, I play with it as modern technology will let me, immediately, right there on my phone, with a spontaneity that feels good. I can search for the feeling inside me through color and shadow and composition and emerge with an image that looks as real as what I began with.


This past week, the resulting images have felt magical and hopeful. Is this too an illusion? Is it simply the expression of me in relation to what is out there in a way that I want to be true?


Is art then the treasure hunt us humans do to touch truth? Because what is on the surface might be too painful or too difficult to accept as true.

Another friend recently made a reference to being very sensitive. That she had little tolerance for the corruption, pollution and general malaise of our current state affairs, of how badly we human beings treat our own bodies, treat each other, treat our country, treat our planet. The definitive ‘yes’ of resonance I felt resulted in a clear thought that sensitive people simply have no tolerance for any kind of illusion that insists we desire what we cannot have or might be unattainable. I just hate it when this thought arises. I want to celebrate the tradition of freedom I have been been raised with. It is July 4th after all. I want to believe that we all have equal opportunity and equal access to what we all need. I am sitting with the illusion that we are all truly free. I feel the grief that this is might not be true, of how many human beings in this country are prisoners of isolation, loneliness, and fear, that manifests in discrimination, violence, poverty, and ill-health.

I like to think that as Americans, we are all treasure hunters. I think this can mean we actually have the freedom to hunt for the treasure behind the illusion that all is well, and that the true gold standard is to be truly seen and celebrated no matter where we came from or what we look like or what we believe.

My celebration today is to acknowledge where community can be celebrated, in whatever form, in relation to the humans that are there, to the animals who make their presence known, to the abundance of life giving plant life,


to the dance of fireflies in darkness and dragonflies in light, to the coolness of flowing water in extreme heat, to an infinite richness that can be accessed at any moment no matter how much money I have in my pocket. I want to celebrate and at the same time I grieve the illusion that catching illusions and celebrating peace is possible for all human beings. I don’t take this freedom for granted. I am not hungry or fighting for my survival. I am white and middle class and have known privilege. I can protest and demonstrate and resist the utter craziness of the state of world affairs AND I can find peace at the same time. I don’t think it is an either/or, black and white proposition. It is my right as a human being. Happy Independence Day. May we all find our true freedom.


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