Musings on Photography

Common Hours

Posted in whimsy by Paul Butzi on December 31, 2009


Two quotations floated out of my brain junk-drawer as I contemplated the coming new year.

I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.

Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Conclusion


How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

-Annie Dillard

Trying to pin the Dillard quotation to a specific source I found

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time… Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.

– Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

The balance between wanting to fill every second, and wanting a life with a broad enough margin that I can enjoy the quotidian – it’s not easy for me.

I am not a big believer in omens. Still, we can hope that starting off a new year with not just a full moon, but a full moon that is also a blue moon might be auspicious. And if starting with a blue moon is auspicious, how much more auspicious is starting with a full moon that’s also a blue moon on the same day we have a lunar eclipse?

I hope that in the new year we all advance confidently in the directions of our dreams, that throughout the coming year we spend our days as we would spend our lives, and that at the end of the year none of us open our safes to find ashes.

One Response

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  1. Paul said, on January 1, 2010 at 10:55 am

    Never heard of Anne Dillard, went to amazon to look at her books and saw a another great quote from the same book you mentioned: “Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients, that is, after all, the case…. What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?” I suppose if each image I take is like something spoken, I probably could slow down my shooting and take one shot instead of perhaps the typical “five or six just in cases” with my digital camera. I have found so many times I don´t have the same emotional attachment to my digital images as I have for my film images and ended seeing them as trivial. So cheap to shoot and experiment that I tend to shoot everything I see which is great to a point but there are also quite a few “empty” images.
    Happy New Year.

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