I took this picture just after sunset Saturday night near where I live in a suburb of Birmingham, Ala. The sky around me was so perfect — and the trees providing the frame so perfect — that I didn’t feel I was responsible for the art I was making. I felt more as though it was being handed to me on a silver platter. All I had to do was click the virtual shutter on my iPhone. When that happens, it feels like magic.
Most people who spend their lives concentrating on politics and power and governing philosophy don’t seem to spend much time thinking about the meaning of life. It’s all about rights and control and fighting someone else for supremacy. When I was much younger, I could understand that coolly rational way of looking at political discussions, but I’m way past that. For me to think it matters anymore, I have to have a reason why it matters insofar as living life. Experiencing such stunning beauty as I photographed last night — and playing a humble role in making it into art — helps make it all make sense to me. Please indulge me while I try to explain what I mean.
I have no desire for power over other people, so politics for that reason alone doesn’t interest me. I have trouble getting excited about tremendous wealth just to live a life of decadent luxury, so the thought of that bores me. I’m ultimately interested in power and money only if they can serve something I see as a higher purpose. My love of life and my love of beauty give me that purpose, because they give me an instinctive understanding of why I was placed here by “the all-wise Author of nature,” to use Adam Smith’s poetic title for God.