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.
There is no calm like the silence of a hot summer night.
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.
There is potential for art in so many places.
In the winter months (and in Northern New Brunswick, it still looks very winter-y outside my window!), I find this most challenging. Gardens and beaches and backyards are my go-to for photography. While there are plenty of beautiful possibilities in the snow, I much prefer the opportunities brought by warmer weather.
Indoor photography is a great place to practice awareness. It is a challenge to notice the tiny details of daily life, to appreciate the the normally overlooked compositions in the home.
This silver paperclip stood out from the rest, catching a glint of light coming through the window.
Art is everywhere.
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.