For three years I have attended a conference at a beautiful setting by a lake in North Carolina. One of the highlights, for me, was living in a little cabin by the lake built at the turn of the century, with a real screened-in porch and a wonderful high-back rocking chair. I've spent hours rocking, watching the mist rise from the lake in the early morning as the water was touched by the first rays of the morning sun. At night I would rock and watch the birds and the darkness gradually dim my view of the trees and lakeshore, until there was only the light of the moon and stars.
I felt a need to capture this experience in some way, as we humans are so inclined to do. And so, using most of the rolls of film which I had brought with me, I started to photograph the various rocking chairs at the conference center. I'd place them in groups or shoot them alone, in different light, at different angles, trying to capture the essence of my experience of the rocking chairs.
I attempted to be inconspicuous with my "Study of Rocking Chairs." After all, most of the conference participants were from the area, and rocking chairs on porches were not unusual. But I managed to get "caught in the act" several times and had to endure the ribbing of being one of those eccentrics from California. But I continued photographing rocking chairs, certain that one of those pictures would immortalize my experience.
Back in California, I could hardly wait to get the film developed. But much to my dismay, none of the photographs were right. Yes, there were some good shots, but I could not choose a single picture that would encompass the totality of my experience with the rocking chairs.
But in my disappointment, I realized that the angles, lighting, time of the day and even the design of each individual chair, reflected a different aspect of what made for a rocking chair. The spirit of the rocking chairs was elusive and ever-changing. Like the Everywhere Spirit, the spirit of the rocking chair cannot be captured, but is free to move as it will.