After the big trip the adrenaline rush was no more. The counting of days before the departure—that was gone too. Now it was just the two of us, the Bogey Man and I. Jet lag gripped me as I watched the shadows on the ceiling. The nighttime demons were out to play. The trip was gone. Over. All that was left were the photos and bills. It was back to, what the Italians call, the terrible dailiness of life. Normal life felt half-empty after this grand voyage. I was in a rut. I had a vacation hangover.
A month went by. And then another. The vivid memories of the trip mellowed into a shade of ocher. Details mingled and got confused with one another. I looked at photos and didn't remember when or where I made them. The short days of our Venetian winter were over. The birch trees out my studio window were now in full-leaf. I stared out at the trees thinking of the Grand Canal instead. Like a junky, I craved the excitement of being a half-world away from home. I looked around and everything —everything—looked so goddamned familiar.
Right after our return I came up with a new art project. I figured I'd celebrate the mundane, the ordinary, the routine, the quotidian. I'd call the project, A Stone's Throw and make nothing but images that were close to home. This would be a celebration of all that is near. Finally, in late March, some three months after returning home, I finally off my butt and got a map. I drew concentric circles. A mile out...two miles out...how far should I stray from home? What exactly would be the definition of a stone's throw away? The concept of any project is the fun part. And what fun I'd have once I get started! But, I looked up from the map and stared at the birch tree instead.
Inertia is the most powerful force in the universe. Getting started on just about anything seems to require enormous energy. I stared at my camera—the same camera that has now been to the other side of the world. I talked to it. I halfheartedly took it for a walk as if it were a dachshund. I barely made an image or two. Even the shutter sounded lethargic. Returning to my studio, I slumped into my chair. And then I stared at the tree again.
Finally, I put the date on the calendar—the start date for the new project. It stared at me for a week. The day arrived—April 14th— and I packed the truck with camera gear. I went out to Muir Beach in earnest on this chilly Thursday morning and I began shooting. Coming back with several hundred images I finally proclaimed the project to be living. I also declared that the vacation hangover is long-last at end. I buried my ghosts, at least for now.
Life finally returns to normal. The dailiness of life is terrible no more.