When the months get colder and the snow has covered summer’s garden, I shop for inspiration.
Inexpensive supermarket flowers make for many photos. I could not stop taking pictures of this pretty bouquet that I picked up the other day.
They didn’t look like much, stuck in a vase. Some of the petals were curled and withered from the plastic wrap, and a few leaves torn. They weren’t perfect, but when I rearranged them in the bright afternoon sunlight, they made for some beautiful compositions.
Here are a few of my favourites:
These are all available in my Etsy shop as digital dowloads:
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.
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.
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
Two pink doors, side by side, simply begged to be photographed.
For starters, I have always been drawn to the colour pink. Pink in any shade appeals to me: coral, champagne, or watermelon. So when I spotted these doors, the only logical thing to do was to make a picture.
They are almost perfect symmetry, twin doors separated by stripes of white and blue with identical silver knobs. Salt air and rain have aged them separately, however. It seems one has been more affected than the other.
Soon, these doors will open to ice cream and summer breezes. Sand will be tracked over their thresholds. They will be witness to sandcastles and sunburns.
I can’t wait.
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.
Connecting the Years
In my daughter’s collection of doll clothes are a few items kept from my childhood.
This tiny embroidered dress is one of them; I can clearly remember dressing my own dolls in it when I was her age.
I’m happy I kept it. It somehow connects her childhood with mine, the years in between disappearing for a moment. It is also a connection of how many of the things I loved have become the things she loves.
Fresh flowers are beautiful, without question.
There is a certain allure that comes with age as well. Forgotten flowers, with their papery petals and crinkled edges, are no less beautiful. Faded hues turn sepia and thin veins become more evident. Their layers are compressed, holding on to the last drops of moisture, the last moments of life.
Time is a fragile beauty.