Cactus on a Beach

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I will go to the beach until I can no longer go to the beach.

Wind, rain, cold – they don’t stop me.  Only when the snow covers the ground for the winter and makes climbing down to my favourite beach treacherous do I stop for the season.

On this bright, crisp, sunny day I dressed in layers and headed out.  I had checked the tide times, packed my bucket and my camera, and carried a snack in case I got hungry.  This time, I even remembered to pack tissue – if anything can send me home early, it’s that or the lack of a bathroom.

I expected to be alone on this chilly day, but when I arrived, a couple was already there.  With a bucket.  A large bucket.

My heart sank.

No doubt they were searching for sea glass.

I took a breath and went down anyway, hoping they hadn’t cleaned it out.  It took seconds to realize they were serious sea glass hunters, however.  The tracks always tell:  footprints woven up and down the shoreline showed they had covered every inch.

Sighing, I decided to make the best of it.  I had my camera, after all, and it was a beautiful day for a walk.

I didn’t find much sea glass.

What I did find was a tiny plastic cactus, swept up the beach by the tide.  I couldn’t resist a few shots of it standing on the sand, the irony of a cactus seaside not lost on me.

The cactus stands on my kitchen windowsill, now.  A reminder that sometimes things don’t go as planned, but if I keep my eyes open, I might find a fun little unexpected detail.

 

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Moving On

Succulants

Speaking of letting go, it seems that it’s time for me to move on from the challenge I created for myself.

At the start of the year, I was feeling stuck with my photography, and so I made up a mindfulness challenged that aligned with my yoga practice and allowed me opportunities to “focus” on my photography.

It started off well.

Midway through, however, I got stuck in a different way.  I was inspired once again with my photography, but sticking with the challenge turned out to be, well, challenging.

For the last couple of months, I have had my list out on my desk, hoping to get back to it.  However, instead of helping me to write, it stalled me completely.

This morning, I am moving on.  I am letting go of the challenge, and returning to my write-when-the-inspiration-arises format of this blog.

After all, it served its purpose.  And some writing is better than no writing at all.

Mindfulness Challenge Week 27: Letting Go

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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.

 

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 26: Stillness

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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:

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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.

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 25: Texture

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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.

#createmindfulness2017

 

Mindfulness Challenge Week 23: Harmony

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Zen Life

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.

#createmindfulness2017

 

 

Mindfulness Challenge Week 22: Home

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.

#createminfulness2017


Mindfulness Challenge Week 21: Breath

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.

Mindfulness Challenge Week 20: Details

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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.

#createmindfulness2017