This morning I woke up feeling rested and it was still early. I looked outside my window: the sky was blue and clear. (Not to mention, great weather! Just one of the many advantages of living in a country where winter weather is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.) I have been waiting for the right time to check out this spot perfect for taking good shots of the Burj Al Arab. Since it was early and the light quality was good, I decided to get my butt out of bed and give it a shot (I can’t help it, I like puns). There was little dust in the air (a constant problem in Dubai if you want clear photographs; it IS the desert!) so I packed up my camera bag and off I went.
It is so quiet on Friday mornings, I just love it. Driving actually felt leisurely as opposed to some crazy game of Frogger (so much more fun on Atari than in real life :)). I parked at the bottom of the flyover bridge and followed the small sidewalk up to its highest point.
As soon as I parked and got out of my car I heard a cacaphony of barking dogs. At first I was a little alarmed; guard dogs on the loose? As I walked up the bridge I realized a giant dog kennel was just underneath! I have driven by this every day for months on end as part of my work commute. Not once did I hear or observe this.
How many times in our lives do we not look closely or listen carefully to our surroundings? How many creative moments have we missed because we are too busy trying to reach point A, B, or C? (Or too obsessed with our hourly Facebook check-ins, etc.?)
I have to admit seeing those dogs caged up like that really bothered me. It wasn’t a positive experience to see weathered, thin animals barking in excitement and agitation at a distant human presence. I didn’t realize just how many people leave this country and leave their animals to fend for themselves. I have heard about it time and time again but seeing these animals, who appeared to have no home, really emphasized it for me. I have been thinking about contributing time and energy to K9 Friends in Dubai; maybe its time to stop thinking about it and start acting on my ideas!
I’m going to make an effort once per month to drive to a different area of Dubai and walk around a bit. I want to look at the small, hidden spaces in the city we are too busy to notice and look at. It will help me learn more about this place and the spaces around me! Perhaps one of these moments will get me my next great photograph or lead to inspiration for a drawing. Regardless, I am growing as a person the more I open up to these small and large moments of expanding awareness!
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: Try walking home from work in a different route. Or go for a walk in your neighborhood and really look at your surroundings. What do you see and hear? Have you always noticed the objects and spaces around you? See if it opens your eyes to your city and home.