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This afternoon, after a late lunch, I headed home feeling oddly dispirited. Depression is the curse that keeps on giving. Every once in a while, for no real reason, I get struck by a wave of what I term "psychological nausea." It's a feeling--usually fleeting, thankfully--of anxiety without cause, a focusless dread. It can suck the wind right out of my chest.

I had my camera on my shoulder but felt no compunction to use it--despite it being a fairly gorgeous late winter afternoon, the sun low and golden, the shadows long and dark. For some reason, probably out of habit, I spotted something that moved me enough to unholster my camera. I took a shot. And then another. And another. Forty-five minutes later I had filled up a CF card and was feeling much better about things.

Then it occurred to me. Some folks have yoga. Some have running. Others music. A few desperate ones bad TV. We all have something that sets our mind straight. For me, increasingly, it's photography. The heightened state of mindfulness I enter while searching for shots has become my elixir. It provides my flagging psyche an hour off from the grind of being me, redeploys it in the pursuit of simple animal pleasures like finding a shaft of sunlight on the shady side of the block.

I captured one memorable image in my hour of zen: a simple shot of a businessman's dress shoes treading into the sunset of the work week.

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Week's End
February 2005