Banana Bread by Tracey Clark
Give us this day our daily bread.
When I was a little girl and recited that line of the Lord’s Prayer, I always took notice. Suddenly, my religion had given me something I could see, touch and taste. Something I experienced everyday, scuffed with butter and dabbed with jelly. The other things I’d learned to say in church were in a dusty, lost language. For a moment at least, my Wonder Bread filled me with wonder, a gift descended from the invisible heights of heaven.
I was not wrong, as a child. Children do not err or misperceive. Bread is all this and more. It was only later, my sight dimmed by cynicism and self-absorption, when I began to search for more than my daily bread. I began to do what all of us do, and urge one another to do: go someplace else. Dream, lust, wish, follow, journey, uncover, trudge, and wallow. Overlook the bread, and find your bliss. It must be somewhere, the fulfillment we seek, hidden in something bigger than a breadbox.
It seems to me we spend nearly the whole of our lives overlooking the obvious: debasing the ordinary and idealizing the unattainable. I’m damn tired of it, aren’t you? Why don’t you sit down and have a slice of bread? Have a pair of pants and shoes, a blanket, a sky, a blue jay, the back of an envelope. Have your work, and just do it. Have a neighbor, and say hello. Have a night’s rest, and a day after. Have a smile, a cough, a burp. Blow your nose. Pay your bills. Fold the towels and match the socks.
The story of Buddha’s enlightenment goes something like this. Tired of the same kind of search you’re on, he sat down under a tree, and he didn’t get up. He sat there, night and day, until he resolved the whole breadbox question for himself. On the morning of the eighth day he looked up and saw the morning star. He said, “I, the great earth and all beings simultaneously attain the Way!” It was an expression of awe and astonishment. What if you suddenly saw through all your fear and doubt, your restless craziness and realized that you already possessed everything you were so desperately looking for?
He didn’t see something invisible. He saw something that he’d overlooked all his life. You might say he saw the bread in the daily. And of course, we can too.
This entire diatribe is a way of introducing you to the photographer for this site, Tracey Clark, who is also the founder of Shutter Sisters. She practices mindfulness through the lens of her camera. She practices paying attention to the things we most easily overlook. I don’t doubt her, and neither will you, when you see the fullness she captures in a half-empty bowl of cereal, for example, or the halo she conjures from the top crust of banana bread. Tracey is leading an online workshop called Picture Spring that starts in April. A pair of eyes and any old camera is all that’s required, and Tracey will help you see your life in a completely new light. I can’t wait for you to see the whole of it.