Don't Drive on the Grass | Mark Lindsay

It was only a week ago that I was writing about the heavy ground fog and smoke that was hugging our hamlet here north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Picturesque (albeit laden with small particulate matter) it presented me with a treasure of photographic opportunities. Now it is raining.

It has been raining straight for at least seven days. If the little, weather icons on the top of the Chronicle's weather page are correct, it will rain for the next seven. The ground is saturated. Water is pouring off the hill upon which our little bungalow is perched. My garage studio, cut into the hill at street level, has an inch of water on the floor. More water is pouring in from the old concrete walls. It is so dark that I need lights on during the day as I work in my home office. I'm starting to feel like a soggy mole.

This brings into the forefront the nature of creativity. Painting in the studio is not possible. Taking my camera out might be feasible if I want to risk short-circuiting its electronic brain. I don't. This isn't drizzle I'm describing, the rain is hard and steady, peppered with some hail, thunder and lightning. How does one actively create when his milieu is flooded?

Yes, I realize that great, heroic photographers like Robert Capa and W. Eugene Smith would show disdain for this weeny essay. However, I am decidedly not a great photojournalist and am quite comfortable in my own skin. And there are times when I am willing to risk camera and well-being. This week does not happen to be one of those times.

Happily, there is more than enough to do on a rainy day here in the incandescent glow of my office. The office is also a digital studio and I can review, edit, arrange, and print the myriad images already made in drier times. I have plenty to do.

However, a holed-up photographer isn't a pleasant thing to behold. Mostly, we need to be out in the air making new images. Postproduction (something we used to call a darkroom) can be rewarding but not in megadoses.

holed up: Sitting at your PC—day and night—in the dark in your jammies without any human interaction. – Urban Dictionary

Yet, the nature of creativity requires dormancy. It is like life, itself. Our creative selves need uninterrupted sleep. Thinking and fretting and forcing are the poisons of creativity. Conversely, we nurture creativity with meditation, peace, and allowing. Action is not always the best thing for artists.

So, here I sit. It's actually raining harder than it was when I started this blog. I edited a photo that I took in the now gone fog/smog and have presented it here. The lights just flickered. I'd better post this before the power goes out. Then I can sit in the dark and ponder things with meditation, peace, and allowing. That would be right before I bounce off the walls of this dark, little office.