Sunday, November 06, 2005

A World of My Own Making

It's official: I'm delusional. I thought it was just Bush & Co. but apparently, I have my own cardboard-shaped ideas about how the world really is.

I recently got back a batch of photos I'd taken in Wyoming, the state with open spaces, very few humans and an annual budget surplus - utopia, basically. As usual, I took far too many photos and because I remain standing on an analog river bank looking nervously (somewhat enviously) across at digital, I'm still dealing with negatives and prints.

During my stay at Bitterroot Ranch, the most magical part of the day came when 180 or so horses were let out of the yard and allowed to gallop in one big herd up the hill to the grassy butte that overlooks the property. There, they spent the night, munching away, sleeping standing up and enjoying the change of scenery. The enthusiasm they displayed was not unlike Fred Flinstone at the rock quarry whistle, signaling the end of a workday - skep-di-de-do-dah, yabba-dabba-do and all that.

Imagine my dismay when shots of this equine spectacle were delivered to me with white lines running through them, apparently a machine malfunction of some sort. All these glistening beautiful animals framed by ugly white lines; I was so disappointed and annoyed.

I took them back to the photo lab, pointed out the damage, accepted their apologies and came back a few days later to collect. "I hate to break this to you," said Helen, the kind, patient woman behind the counter, "but our lab tells us these are actual power lines. Here, look at the negatives."

It was true. My god, how is it I never saw them? So strange that my mind's eye had clung to a vision so visciously that my actual eyeballs just went along for the ride. Oh, I suppose even the good folks in Wyoming need telephone communication but at the expense of my clear-sky fantasy? I mean, what happened to smoke signals?

I guess we only see what we want to see which is why mirrors and I have never gotten along very well. Such determined realists, they are always throwing facts in my face while I prefer the glossed, edited ideals of my recollections. Reality seems to be one of those thorned beasts that gets uglier every year and, short of Photoshop and Blanche Dubois lighting tricks, I'm woefully short on battle tactics.

Suggestions welcome.

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