At this time last year my photography was put aside due to eye surgery. This was followed by the discontent that overwhelmed me during January’s freezing snow storms, unrelenting winds, and gray-toned skies. In April it was grief that eventually moved me to pick up my camera as a way to visually honor my mother’s life. Reviewing the images created in 2016 brings forth gratitude as photography motivates me to move outside of myself and to see the world anew. Thank each and everyone of you for being a part of my blog journey. May 2017 be defined by your continued awe-inspiring creative works.
Thinking back then…we were just at that age when we knew a few things about ourselves–about who we were, how we were different from…but hadn’t yet understood what any of it meant. …So you’re waiting, even if you don’t quite know it, waiting for the moment when you realize that you really are different…that there are people…who don’t hate you or wish you any harm, but who nevertheless shudder at the very thought of you…and who dread the idea of your hand brushing against theirs. The first time you glimpse yourself through the eyes of a person like that it’s a cold moment. It’s like walking past a mirror you’ve walked past everyday of your life, and suddenly it shows you something else, something troubling and strange.
~Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
This 7th of 15 image submitted for the Seeing Differently challenge is another of a series from the Colorado State University’s Trial Flower Garden taken with a Nikon D750 and macro 40 mm lens. It invites me to ponder, “is my knowing of self and other blurred by preconceptions?”
Please excuse two postings in one day…I’m going to be away from my computer for a bit. Till then, please take care.
Perception is never purely in the present – it has to draw on experiences of the past; … ‘the remembered present.’ We all have detailed memories of how things have previously looked and sounded, and these memories are recalled and admixed with every new perception.
After receiving great news I often experience a desire to reach out to someone, anyone with whom to share, to celebrate. When life’s sorrows come to my door there is a yearning for someone…something with whom to connect with…to find a shared understanding that eases the confusion that wraps around grief; yet, a bit of courage is needed…to silence anxiety’s voice, “to speak of death is lose the listener you seek.”
My mother, Elberta, passed away on the 19th of April, 2016…6 days after her 89th birthday. Since her passing, a number of popular culture icons also left this world…and I found myself, in response to the exhausting news coverage, whispering, “my mother died” as if this utterance would bring about a global moment of silence in which to honor both her life and death and to ease the aloneness that dwells within grief’s shadow.
One belief I have that has sustained me for many years is that to honor the lives of those who have gone is to keep them in the heart and be with others in such a way as to honor them. In an odd way…it’s like a unspoken desire to bring about…yes, a small bit of immortality.
I have read that one way (out of many) to walk alongside the grief and memories that come unbidden is found in the perspective that “in the days and weeks that follow a death especially for the first 49 days one can help the deceased’s mind/body by avoiding harming others, generating love and compassion, doing kind actions, making charity and specific prayers and practices that their spiritual teachers recommend and dedicating this positive energy to the mind/spirit of the loved one, wishing only peace and happiness for them and rebirth in the presence of their God or Buddha.”
With this way of being with grief and loss in mind, I undertook a 100 day-blog project to honor my mother’s life. She loved photography, poetry, nature, needlepoint, and teaching others sign language. It is my hope that the images and words within this project reached out and touched the lives of others with a similar sense of awe that she often expressed as she witnessed the beauty and mystery of the world about us.
My work as a psychotherapist taught me about the healing components of art, especially its means of communicating what words alone cannot convey. Also, during a difficult period of time in my life, a co-worker would send emails that included attached images of “aweness” and beauty. I came to realize that during those moments when I allowed myself to be opened to amazement my emotional self shifted from a negative state of mind to a place of equanimity…as if these images offered a safe harbor sheltering self from an emotional storm.
Thank you for joining me on this journey of 100 days…I hope you were gifted with a moment or two of “aweness”, contemplation, and/or equanimity as you wandered through the gallery of these writings and images.
From this day forward, I will be…
may we find peace.
Summer will soon
between wild flowers.
In our next spring
let’s meet as butterflies
multiple exposure image submitted in response to Jen’s Details challenge
How did it come to this?
A forced landing, weakened wings
a solid source of former strength,
taking you through
dark clouds and heavy downpours.
Those resilient wings assured your
as you soared through storms,
high winds battering
and pressing upon your life.
Now those same weathered wings
bear evidence of missing feathers,
thinning bones and shrunken wingspan,
no longer able to lift and sour
or glide with the gusto that carried
you through turbulent tempests.
Slowly, slowly you learn to accept
those clipped wings, to be content
with nesting in the arms of elderhood.
You submit to this final appendage
of your journey, bid farewell
to cherished autonomy
and slowly fold your worn wings
in peaceful surrender.
Fly While You Still Have Wings
My abode is
in winter seclusion
on this white mountain in Echigo.
No trace of humans
coming or going.
Sky Above, Great Wind
losing my way
is part of the journey –
Far Beyond the Field