I have been blessed to be able to attend more than my share of rodeos this year… I love them, yet as I look back, it may have been one that I attended recently that got me to where I am today…battered and bruised.
I love photographing scenes like the one above… who can’t related to it on some level? Sure, you may never actually find yourself sitting on a real live bull… but, if you are like me, when you see a snap shot of this particular photo something comes to your mind… begging you to wonder if it reminds you of anything you have been through. For me is is this:
“art of letting go” , or should I clarify by saying the art of NOT letting go. When I see this scene my mind, my whole body flinches, and my first reaction is to say , (while snapping its fingers, and tossing my hair back”, “I have so been there”……..
There are those cowboys that have the dismount, down.. They come off their bronc, or bull, as soon as the buzzer rings.. “no need to stay around any longer than you need to”, you can almost hear them brag…they have mastered the art of the dismount saving themselves the disgrace and humiliation of having your teeth shaken out of your mouth… or worse. Then of course you also have those that never make it to the buzzer before they firmly hit the ground, only to have the bull use him as a horn rack, even they have more dignity in the end, then those of us that can’t master the art of letting go.
And if you are me, we fall into the later category.Yep, I tend to be more like the ones that get their hands caught in the rope.. they want to get off… they truly know the must, everything inside of them is screaming.. “HEY STUPID, DISMOUNT”… yet, for some horrifying reason, they find themselves caught…..body being whipped around like a rag doll until their brain are mush and they can’t focus on a darn thing.
Yes, I do want to master the art-form to the dismount…. the letting go… the not hanging on longer then you OT…. but, as the comedian says, sometimes while “we may have the right, we just do not have the ability.”
As the medics rush in to haul you to hospital, and the gracious “rodeo announcer” asks the crowd to not let you go home with out the applause for trying, you hear the whispers of the crowd and the secret cheers of the competition both singing their anthems, “another one bites the dust” but really.. at that point, you would rather just whimper away, unnoticed.
I have had the elation of a perfect dismount… man, you know when you hit it. Everything about it feels perfect…. I have also hit the ground a few times before I ever even knew what hit me, and been grateful I got off when I did…. but the one that holds my attention, in this moment, is the one in which I held on just a little too long… the one that I didn’t let go of fast enough, and I am paying for it with every ounce in me….
Don’t get me wrong, I am thrilled to have made it out alive and somewhat in tact…. I can be grateful that as ugly as it was, my arms are still attached…Yet ego bruised, played for the fool, and left empty-handed, not even a whisper of appreciation from others, for the attempt to at least try to ride the beast, coupled with my own acknowledgement for the lack of skills exhibited by not let go while you had the best opportunity to look good.
Yet, I can’t help but to envy those cowboys, wishing I were one who had mastered the art of letting go showing their skill as they gracefully hopping off onto the safe horse that comes trotting up…. No worst for the wear… Nope.. not me….. I hang on to the last moment…. holding on, hands wrapped in leather so tight to insure that I would stay bound no matter what…. tethered on to the wild beast as he bucked and snorted, spinning around until I didn’t know one direction from the other..Hanging on for dear life until my hands were numb and shaken until I was toothless…. believing with everything in me that…..
Well who knows what I was thinking…. my brain so rattled from the ride that even I don’t know what I could have possibly been thinking.. holding on so long… not just holding on… but tethering myself to it, as to insure I didn’t get off even if I wanted…..
Now… here I sit, covered in mud and other fun smelling stuff…. teeth rattled, body aching with full understanding that there is an ART of letting go…. So excuse me for a moment while I locate my teeth, pull up my boots and dust of my jeans…. man I wish I had paid more attention to the 101 class in the “art of letting go.”