Sometimes restraint is a fine thing—in the use of cayenne pepper, say, or the wearing of day-glo paisley. No doubt there is a time and place for going over the top with both, but the tricky part is knowing just when and where that might be.
I can't remember where I saw the advice to flower photographers not to "overdew it," but it has stuck in my mind as something to remember in case I ever see dew again. (It doesn't feature much in desert life.) With rain or dew, restraint is generally a photographer's friend. Two or three drops of water to adorn a perfect bloom and evoke the freshness of morning, or perhaps one large, precariously balanced droplet to catch the sunlight, ting! and reflect the sky in a beautifully distorted, fish-eye lens kind of way—that usually says everything that needs saying, and says it eloquently. In other words, less is more.
|Water practically gushing from a canale during a thunderstorm|
Yes, well, that advice went out the window when we had a second thunderstorm this week.* The official measurement was "a trace," but my neighborhood had good, drenching rain for about half an hour and probably received at least a quarter of an inch. As I was wandering around the garden afterward, camera in hand, looking at a world dripping with water, I thought, why on earth would I want to be restrained when we've just had rain? Why capture one droplet when the whole excitement is that we've just been doused by hundreds and hundreds—no, thousands and thousands, or maybe (gasp) even more of them? Why adorn a plant with restraint when it is glorying in saturation?
Admittedly, a quarter inch of rain isn't that much, but that's precisely why it deserves some over-the-top revelry. It may not be a lot, but our alternative to "not much" isn't "plenty," it's none at all. When an enjoyment—a necessity—is scarce, you live it to the hilt when it comes along and thumb your nose at good taste. Restraint is for those with a better range of choices, who can minimize a pleasure and still have plenty left.
Right now, we in the southwest are delighting in all the raindrops we can, because there's no knowing when we'll see them again. This is our day-glo paisley moment, our time to relish a hair-raising, eye-watering, smoke-coming-out-the-ears mouthful of hot pepper intensity. "Overdew" it? You'd better believe it. We've done "less." It wasn't all it's cracked up to be.
|The tasteful, restrained flowers of 'Wild Thing' autumn sage|
Right now, more is more.
* I promise to stop talking about the weather soon.