Even the humblest of things can be glorious.
Here, for example, is a photo taken just outside Harvey Road Auto. I had just paid for the repairs to my pickup truck, got my keys, and left the garage. Off to the right I looked down to see this oval of orange rust covered by a sheet of oily water.
The circle of rust below the water was the size of a brake drum. Perhaps one had been left there to rust and was recently removed, leaving behind this glowing orange apparition.
The vertical corrugations? Sorry, but I do not remember, perhaps an old truck-bed liner. Whatever it is, it is nothing special, trash really.
The wild colors? Well, as an artist, I am allowed to increase the saturation of the colors in my images, much like scientists do with photos from the Hubble space telescope. That said, what you see here is not that far afield from what I saw there, humble things momentarily radiant, nothing any normal person would look at twice but something I was delighted to find, an image I will frame and exhibit.
Actually, I don’t know to what extent photographers can call themselves artists. After all, I did not arrange the rust, corrugations, and oily water in this photo. All I did was notice them and bring them to your attention. The mechanics did not labor to arrange the colors and patterns. They were busy repairing vehicles.
Actually, because such things happen, it could be that one of the mechanics carefully placed each of the objects in this image. I’m thinking of a photo taken by Jay Dusard of a wooden well cover, a circular top of untreated wood, at Georgia O’Keeffe’s home in New Mexico while she was still alive. On top of the well cover were three small stones. O’Keeffe and her gardener would rearrange the stones when they happened to pass by. Perhaps something like that was going on here, the mechanics consciously creating art. It is possible, but highly unlikely!
That brings me to the point I want to make, that ordinary things, because they may at any time suddenly appear glorious, deserve our respect. We may not actually see them glorious. We may not know if such a thing is possible. But because we have seen so many ordinary things suddenly appear wonderful, it follows that we should respect all ordinary things, suspecting that they may be quite wonderful even though we cannot at that moment see it.
It may even follow that we should respect our neighbor, you know the one, that person so easy to disdain, the person so far from wonderful that you can only think that anyone who loved them must be crazy.
I say, get crazy!