Mindfulness Challenge Week 19: Change

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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.

#createmindfulness2017

*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.

 

Mindfulness Challenge Week 18: Nature

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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.

 

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 16: Patience

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.

 

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 15: Awareness

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Art Everywhere

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.

 

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 13: Beauty

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Beauty, Unexpected

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.

Mindfulness Challenge Week 12: Perspective

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Salt

Photography is all about perspective (as is life).

Mundane objects can become surreal art through a macro lens.  Tiny details, normally overlooked, take on new possibilities when studied and appreciated.

The morning sun on the kitchen table changes colours, creates reflections, and lights up salt shakers.  Suddenly, salt is art.

Salt is also an accidental self-portrait…  Look closely.  🙂

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 11: Balance

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Balancing Act

My daughter wanted to do a photo shoot with her American Girl Doll, Rosie.  In one of the shots, the doll is literally balanced on a bicycle.

Life and parenting are a lot about balance:  Time spent between work and family, between taking care of the house and taking care of the children, and between busy schedules and time for relaxation.

Making this photo was about balance, too:  Stealing a few creative shots while also setting up fashion shots for the doll.  I got to take pictures and spend time with my daughter; my daughter got to play dress-up and share this with me.

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 9: Touch

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The Things We Touch

Every day we put on clothes, we pick things up, we cook, we slide our fingers across our keyboards and our phones – mindlessly.  And yet, in each of these is a touch, a texture, a temperature.  The fabric we wear is stretchy, silky, or soft; the dishes are cool and hard.  Food has endless textures:  bumpy, crumbly, or even slimy.

How often do we notice?

What if we paid as much attention to the water running over our bodies in the shower as we did the pillow we lay our heads down on each night?  What if we were as mindful of the softness of the scarf we wrap around our neck as we are the tag that scratches at our back?

Here is what I do notice:

  • A new book, its pages crisp and clean
  • The warmth from my children when we curl up on the couch
  • The weight and softness of the throw I cover my legs with while I relax
  • The heat of a fresh cup of coffee
  • A pair of fuzzy reading socks
  • A hot bath
  • The almost-spring sun as it heats the inside of the car
  • Ice-cold water during hot yoga (and the grip of my mat during asanas)
  • The smooth keys of the keyboard while I type
  • The curved edges and ridged buttons on my camera

This mindfulness challenge began to help create more awareness in my photography; it is helping to create more awareness in my life.

#createmindfulness2017

Mindfulness Challenge Week 8: Simplicity

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This is Simplicity

This photo was taken a number of years ago.  Rather than making a new one, I chose to use this one as it represents simplicity to me on many levels.

I’ve always taken pictures, but this is one of the first photos I took with my DSLR.  Even though the camera became more complicated, my style did not.  Photography for me has always been focusing on a few simple details, cutting out anything that does not add to the subject matter.

A daisy is that most common flower, found growing wild, picked by children who pull the petals off, and gathered by women in wedding bouquets.  They are grown without fertilizer or fanfare.  Daisies represent purity, innocence, cleanliness – perfect for the theme of simplicity.

In art as well as photography, a palette of black and white is also simplicity itself.

This photo is  a reminder to pare down the elements in a composition; a reminder that sometimes, simple is best.