William F. Hammond suggests on page 35 of The creative journal: A power tool for learning; that everyone should create their own individual rules in regards to the creation of one’s individual journal. I would like to transfer this suggestion towards your mindset of your individual relationship with the environment. In my opinion, you must discover what the environment means to you and how you as an individual want to utilize what the environment has made available. Your individual relationship with the environment is modeled through rules your subconscious follows such as; to litter or not to litter, to swim or not to swim, to watch television or to play outside; you get the idea. Reflecting on my travels has brought me to the conclusion that my subconscious values the adventure, exploration and internal discoveries in which various environments provide. In correlation I equally value the frozen moments in time I take in order to capture moments and memories of my environmental surroundings, via cellphone, camera and social media. November 8th 2015 at Lago Como, Italy was the first of many moments I noticed myself obsessing over pictorial images prior to living in the moment.
I am trailing behind my paragliding tour guide as we make our way up a cliff. I look straight ahead and see this man carrying a folded parachute that is triple his body size. I am convinced that it is strategically blocking the mile of yellowed grass we still have yet to climb to enhance the suspense of the view awaiting us ahead. I look down towards my feet and I watch them go one after the other; following a manmade trail most likely created by the various paragliders here before me. To my left I can see the lake beginning to peep over my view of the cliff. The body of water is florescent blue, nothing like a lake I have seen back home in Saskatchewan. As I continue to climb up the cliff, I quickly grab my cellphone and get my camera app open. I do this to prepare myself to take snaps of anything I find inspirational enough to put in my scrapbook and keep in my memories forever. I take pictures up ahead, below, behind, to my left, and to my right. I am not pressing the camera button carelessly as if it is a game of “who can press the button the fastest”; I am taking my time, strategically angling the pictures, making sure nothing is blurry or left out of the shot.
We make it to the top of the cliff and my tour guide transforms into a photographer. Along with him are numerous Go-Pro cameras. He explains to me that there are a few strapped onto the parachute, one is angled towards us and the other provides a view of our surroundings. The third is strapped to a pole he claims we will take turns death gripping for the duration of the flight. Once I am strapped into the parachute he begins to take pictures of me, one with the hill of yellowed grass in the background, and another from behind with the view of the lake. After we are both satisfied with the bound to be memories he captured, we were off. The tour guide is placed behind me and in unison we begin to run off the edge of the cliff.
My legs continue to run until there is no land left for them to land on, instead they are flailing in the air. Instantly I am weightless, I feel nothing but the slight wind kissing my cheeks. Just as I begin to look around and notice the natural beauty of the lake; I am instantly disrupted. The tour guide wants to take more pictures and asks for me to pose for the camera. We are currently soaring through the air, with nothing but a thin sheet of fabric keeping us afloat and we are both concerned about making enough time to pose for a camera. Precious moments experiencing the totality of living in the moment are so easily disrupted due to the obsession of capturing photos to look back on at a later date.