Guest Post: Elizabeth Liberty's Treasures

by Elizabeth Liberty

I hate winter. I love winter.

I've hated winter for a long time. And ever since I've had a camera, I have watched for the little glow above the shade in my bedroom that means it snowed last night. And then I would vault up, rush through my chores, gulp a little breakfast, loop my camera round my wrist or neck, and stared out the back door at the lovely, hateful snow.

I don't remember when I stopped playing in the snow. I just know that one year it became very cold, and nastily wet, and not worth the trouble. I suppose that was the year I grew up. I can't pinpoint the first moment I lifted my numb foot out of the snow, shook the ice out of my sock, and thought this is not worth it. I just...did.

That is, until the camera.

Suddenly, cold of all kinds became a necessary evil - as long as I could get to the icicles. Or the drifts. Or the hoarfrost. As soon as I woke on the morning of a snow day I would sternly caution my siblings not to walk on the snow before I could photograph it. They listened. After all, I was a madwoman with a camera. You listened or you suffered the consequences.

Winter was full of treasures. From clothespins to water pumps, chicken wire to windchimes, anything could become precious when coated with crystals.

I suppose that's what the mindset of childhood is mostly about. The idea that anything can be special. Anything can be magical. The mundane setting of our rural Midwestern property could be enchanted, worth photographing again.

I think, for a while, I lost the childlike quality that all artists need once in a while. I stopped looking at winter as something magical and looked at it as a hindrance. And it stopped being worthwhile to me.

Whatever kind of artist you may be, don't do that. Whether you write or sing or pound out tunes on a hundred instruments, don't stop seeing the magic.

I still hate winter. But I have three hundred pictures of it. So I guess things turned out all right.

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