I’ve been feeling that way a lot lately. Silly as it may be, our house was recently featured in an online “sneak peek.” Afterwards, complete strangers were thoughtful enough to leave some very lovely comments and we were overwhelmed by their kindness. At the same time, thousands of people began “pinning” my photographs to their Pinterest boards, and as flattering as it may be to have thousands of strangers “like” one’s house, we were rather taken aback. My husband and I are very private people. My decision to create this blog was not taken lightly; I waited eight years. Writing about our restoration and posting photographs of our home was meant to help and inspire other homeowners. I’m proud of our restoration, but seeing my photographs of our house on websites other than my own – thanks to Pinterest – feels, I don’t know … somewhat creepy.
Call me naive, but I didn’t anticipate the shit storm that Pinterest would create. I thought a few people might visit my blog, appreciate my photographs and writing; perhaps, leave a comment or two. I never thought my name would suddenly be linked to the Pinterest boards of thousands of complete strangers – many of whom I’m sure are perfectly lovely, but also some who are not. Frankly, I’m more than overwhelmed. I’m annoyed. I take copyright law very seriously and Pinterest does not. To a lesser degree, I’m annoyed that (again, thanks to Pinterest) a Google search of my name turns up results not even remotely associated with my work. Instead of being directed to my images and essays on this blog, the search results overwhelming consist of websites that have pinned our house. And I really don’t like it.
Not one bit.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, I realize that isn’t really all that important. There are more pressing things to worry about. Like unexpectedly having pre-cancerous bumps frozen off my face, as well as other things that I really don’t want to share. And all of it, big and little, is rather … overwhelming.
To make matters worse, I’ve neglected to do the one thing that always makes me feel better – the thing that allows me to think, to relax, to focus and put things into perspective. Sadly, I haven’t been taking my morning and evening walks. Last Thursday, I decided that had to change and since then I’ve slowly been getting back into the habit. On Friday I walked to the Rodin Garden and enjoyed myself immensely, despite the dreadful heat. Over the holiday weekend, we took some lovely walks in the foothills. And then last night, behold – it rained! So this morning, with camera and fresh batteries in hand, I took advantage of the cool, overcast, mildly foggy conditions and set off on a walk. And something wonderful happened.
I was awestruck by the sheer beauty of nature. From the exquisite cacti blossoms in a neighbor’s garden to the hidden beauty found in something as mundane as leaf litter. Beauty was everywhere I looked. And as the fog retreated and the sun peeked out from behind giant fluffy white clouds – a rarity here, I counted my blessings.
Am I still annoyed with Pinterest? Yes. Am I still irritated that my name is now linked to strange websites? Absolutely. Does this loss of control freak me out? You bet.
But somehow, the simple act of walking and paying attention, truly looking at and listening to the natural beauty that surrounds me, makes me feel better.
And suddenly, I’m no longer overwhelmed.