The Sparrow in the Hall

StackedTrunks, originally uploaded by carolsLittleWorld.

I came upon an interesting quote the other day. It’s a bit long, but worthy of sharing with you:

“When we compare the present life of man on earth to that time of which we have no knowledge, it seems to me like the swift flight of a single sparrow through the banqueting hall where you are sitting at dinner on a winter’s day with your thanes and counsellors. In the midst there is a comforting fire to warm the hall; outside, the storms of winter rain or snow are raging. This sparrow flies swiftly in through one door of the hall, and out through another. While he is inside, he is safe from the winter storms; but after a few moments of comfort, he vanishes from sight into the wintry world from which he came. Even so, man appears on earth for a little while; but of what went before this life or of what follows, we know nothing.”

(Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Book II, Chapter 13)

People sometimes ask me where I get ideas for images. This quote immediately conjured up an image of a long hall with a window at the end of it-it’s not a window I’ve seen before but, I suspect, one I’m going to happen upon someday. Around the window, delicate curtains hang while outside birds (sparrows actually) gather on a nearby tree. I envision seeing the window clearly but outside not so much-maybe a window bokeh if you will. A soft focus view into the outside world.

The interesting thing about this window is that it’s trapped now. It’s trapped in my imagination and it can’t get out. Like something inside an old box or one of these old trunks, it just won’t come until it’s time.

So, while “getting crazy ideas” for images might be a bit of a gift, it’s also maddening because you have to live with the idea, live with the image in your head, until you can actually bring it to life-to get it out, get it on paper and be done with it. Someday, perhaps, I will take that picture of that window with that softness surrounding it, and I will think of that sparrow and that hallway, but, until then, it will haunt me. Forever trapped in the shackles of my imagination yearning to fly free, that sparrow is. I guess this calls for the old adage “be careful what you wish for,” right?

Just like that sparrow in in the hall, the connection is brief but the image and memory lives on forever.

Until next time…


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