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.
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.
Things that give me energy:
- Light (sunlight, truthfully)
- Salt air
Testing my Patience
April is the ultimate test of patience:
Shivering in spring jackets, because we can no longer stand to layer ourselves in winter wear; fingers icy because we refuse to wear gloves for even one more day; wiping snow off the car with our sleeves because, frankly, we are fed up.
Watching the snow melt, only to wake up to earth covered – once again – in snow; waiting for the ice to break up in the bay; driving deliberately through puddles so the spray scatters onto snowbanks in the hopes they will melt just a little bit more.
Patience brings rewards, too:
That first glimpse of salty water under the bridge and rivers beginning to flow once more.
An edge of lawn; a blade of green grass.
Sand and waves and a single piece of sea glass.
April can be a cruel month, but the rewards are worth the wait.