Dreaming of White Picket Fences
This topic was a challenge to photograph.
How could I show “Letting Go” in an image? The only thing I could come up with at first was capturing petals dropping from flowers, or the typical dandelion seeds picked up by the breeze.
But I wanted something different, something more.
This image of a white picket fence, captured through an antique window, is more apt.
It is the dream of white picket fences, the North American ideal. It is the dream of perfection.
But life isn’t like that. At some point, we have to let go of that aspiration of perfection, and instead strive for what is perfect for us. It may not be 2.5 children in a 1.5 story house with an expanse of land and a tire swing in an apple tree. Letting go can be freeing: It opens us up to new possibilities of perfect. Letting go of expectations lets us embrace the unexpected.
Life is never truly still.
Slight movements surround us, always. There are interruptions to our meditations, sounds and distractions. Breath means movement.
While practicing using my neutral density filter, I left my camera focused on the pool for a few minutes to go help my son clean the car. I had just tripped the shutter on a 30-second exposure when he called for me.
My daughter, thinking she’d be funny, attempted to capture a selfie on my camera while I was gone.
The stillness of the shot captured her movement in front of the camera, a faint purple haze in front of the pool.
When I was choosing a photo for this entry, my initial thought was to use this first image, as I felt it showed stillness well:
However, it occurred to me that the challenge of being still is to accept the constant movement surrounding us. Instead of ruining the image, my daughter inadvertently created a metaphor.
Nothing – not even stillness – is perfect. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Around here, it is not unusual to see ATVs rolling by at the beach. The expanse of shoreline and lack of crowds make it possible to travel the shoreline this way. For a moment, the quiet of the beach might be interrupted by the passing of a driver; however, it is a moment only and I have yet to witness anything less than respect in this activity.
Wet sand lends itself to changes in texture. These tire tracks are probably gone now, washed away by the tide. If I hadn’t been paying attention, I might have missed the intricate pattern created by this brief moment.
There is no calm like the silence of a hot summer night.
On the beach, I search for sea glass, drift wood, and circular rocks. I am drawn to curves and softened edges, items that have grown more beautiful from friction, from change.
Perhaps it is my Libra nature, but I am also drawn to balance.
These circular rocks represent harmony for me. Their shape, their colour, and their texture are more enhanced by their arrangement and their togetherness.
The weathered wood and the surrounding space further create a zen feeling in the photograph.
Harmony is balance, calm, and a feeling of rightness. It is an agreement and a pattern of likeness.
It is peace.
There’s no place like home…
I could have chosen many images to represent home: our house full of our memories; the soothing beaches we’ve spent hours on searching for treasures; the house I grew up in; the people who make this place feel like home: or any of the scenic spots surrounding this beautiful city.
Any of these, alone, seems inadequate to represent the feelings of comfort and community that come from having a history in a place, when thinking of the city we live in.
It is equally challenging to place the entire meaning of home in our house; we’ve moved several times and each one felt like home.
Home is more than a place: It is family and ftiends and shared stories and a sense of safety. It is where our past meets our present. It is an intangible feeling of being at home, a feeling of belonging.
While waiting for the Canada Day fireworks, we spotted this beautiful rainbow over the water. The light was mesmerizing. I decided to use this picture to represent home because it is warmth, beauty, and wonder – just like home.
When I focus on my breath in yoga, I visualize the sea.
Breathe in, waves recede.
Breathe out, waves wash the shoreline.
Its natural rhythm calms me, draws me into the moment, and brings with it all the soothing qualities of the beach.
It is a reminder to slow down and go with the flow, to let go and ride the waves, so to speak.
The ocean is my motivation, my inspiration.
One of the things I love best about photography is that it forces me to pay attention to the details: the way the light casts shadows; the contrast created by differing backgrounds; or the flowers that have fallen from the plant.
While photographing a brilliant red Canada 150 planter (Happy Canada Day!) on my parents’ back patio, I looked beyond the flowers to the table and spotted these dropped blossoms. Instantly, I was drawn to the mix of textures and colour created by this composition. I much prefer it to the photos I made of the flowers themselves.
The first “flowers” of spring: dandelions.
They pop up along foundations, between crevices in sidewalks, bordering curbs. They are the first splashes of colour, and then they, too, disappear. Seemingly overnight, they change into fluffs of white, pompoms dotting the fields. A breeze picks up the pollen and sends it on to new destinations.
Change is inevitable.
*Please bare with me while I catch up on many missed blog posts over the next little while. 🙂 Summer vacation is here, and with it, more time to write, photograph, and create.
Forsythia and Other Garden Discoveries
Until very recently, I had no idea what grew in my garden.
We moved here in the fall, when I was starting a new teaching position and spent all my spare time unpacking and planning. There was no time to explore the yard, and soon the plants were buried in snow.
Spring came late this year. Now, though, I can enjoy the bursts of colour coming up. Crimson tulips, pink rhododendron, and bright yellow forsythia. Soon, I will have blossoms on the apple tree and hydrangea. I’m almost certain one plant is an astilbe; another I think is a dahlia.
Nature provides much beauty, but in spring it’s the flowers I enjoy the most.