While I dream, brainstorm and make plans for the documentary in Ethiopia, I want to live fully in the present moment. To embrace the desire rather than the object of desire. In hopes that in doing so, I can put aside judgment and find the perfection in what is. And as anyone who has worked on a documentary or followed an unknown path knows, the unexpected twists and turns are exactly what are meant to be; the unforeseen far better than the plotted path.
Six weeks out from our arrival in Ethiopia, our documentary team with L.I.A. has already had one twist in the story. The woman on whom we planned to focus will no longer be involved in the film. When I heard the news I thought, of course not! What would a documentary or any low-budget film be without the unexpected?
“The world is blue at its edges and its depths,” writes Rebecca Solnit in her essay “The Blue of Distance.” “…a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. … the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here.”
“We treat desire as a problem to be solved … focus on that something and how to acquire it rather than on the nature and the sensation of desire…. If you can look across the distance without wanting to close it up, if you can own your longing in the same way that you own the beauty of that blue that can never be possessed.”
I’ve never been to Africa, never seen with my own eyes the light at dawn, how the dust scatters the sun. Is there a blue to far-off distances there? I lived in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and loved getting lost in that haze of blue, always surprised to find a world of brilliant yellows, reds, oranges and greens upon arrival.
Our film has changed as we now focus on a different story, one of a man who leaves his wife and kids during the week to join his other family, the street kids in the slums and the L.I.A. program that offers them hope. I hope to live in and embrace the unknown, planning as best we can and dancing in the blues of desire and anticipation.
Read more about the documentary and how you can get involved here.
(Photo of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park by Michael Melford, National Geographic)