The existence of a speck of dust makes everything possible. If dust does not exist, neither does the universe, nor you, nor I. ~Thich Nhat Hanh

solitude

Upon a trunk is a framed photograph of my mother, a hand painted photograph, of her when she was young.  When my eyes linger I’m introduced to unabashed joy.  Before it are three small framed images … her first born – my sister D, and her two sons – C and L.  

It is an image of my mother I do not hold in memory…invisible like my father’s. It is of a young woman before she was a widow with three children, a twice divorced, and finally a woman married to T, her first love.

She named her sons after their fathers.  Her last two born are daughters, M and S.  Within M’s name is Faith. Within S’s name, Joy. A mother’s blessing.  

Then there is I…her second born who as a teen exhausted her.   “Do I have to?” she responded to a police officer’s question, “Is this your child?”  

A mother-daughter relationship defined as “complex.”  

My secret childhood fantasy was to come home from school — the afternoon sun warming the kitchen…she standing in the kitchen — and I would hear, “Be more gentle when closing the door.”

Not the vibrations of more gentle but the sounds of more gentle. She could hear…she could hear me…my voice. My faith, my faith despite being the size of a mustard seed was felt by God.

She has come to visit many times as I dust these photographs … often remembering the visit after L’s funeral. She shared that the only time in her life she regretted being deaf was after I told her that within the sound of his girlfriend’s voice was D’s.

This I believe open the door to the realization that if my childhood self had succeeded in finding and pulling out the thread of deafness in the tapestry of my mother’s life, she would no longer be. If she no longer was, then the universe of my life would not exist. It was she, her total being that made everything possible.

The morning chill came through an open window. The morning had begun its transformation from black to variations of dark blues to lighter hues outlining night’s black shadows. It had just passed…the morning ritual. The magical moment of silence in which all of the world — right before the sun’s rays lightens the sky — seems to hush in stillness. Then in the distance one songbird followed by another as if a congregation’s “Amen.”

My mother came to visit. I may have called her as I, with a cup of steaming tea, looked up at the antique framed cross stitch hanging on the dining room wall.

It was during one of those rare visits to her home in which she shared a beautiful piece of counted cross stitch. I saw the delight in her face as she told me it was a gift…a gift of gratitude to someone unknown to me…a stranger. Aged old jealously rose unbidden and formed a barrier between mother and daughter.

And then, “Would you like one?”

“Yes! Please let me frame it.”

Within an antique framed cross stitch…a magical moment. An exchange of love and validation.

When I look up at
The wide-stretched plain of heaven,
Is the moon the same
That rose on Mount Mikasa
In the land of Kasuga?
~ Abe no Nakamaro (cited: http://jti.lib.virginia.edu)

skyscape … Leica D-Lux 7 f/5.6 1/400s 34mm 100 ISO

skyscape photograph submitted in response to The Life of B’s monthly square challenge … the absolute rule – Your main photograph must be square in shape!

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,

“it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness,

“it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity,

“it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the winter of despair,

“we had everything before us, we had nothing before us,

“we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way

“– in short, the period was so far like the present period,

“that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received,

“for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” ~Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities.

Quote from Charles Dickens’, A Tale of Two Cities, and images submitted in response to Travels and Trifles first photo challenge for 2021.

Photography, in a nut shell, is lines, shapes, colors, and feelings

In photography negative space is perhaps the most important element as it embraces the subject within your image — the element of interest — helping it stand out and inviting the viewer’s attention.  It is the aspect within a photograph that generally doesn’t attract much attention.  It is sometimes referred to as white space and has the potential to change what appears to be an average subject into an outstanding image.

The simplest example of positive and negative are the words in this blog.  These words draw your attention while the background doesn’t.  The words are positive space, and the white background is negative space

Negative space awakens feelings of peace, calm, quiet, loneliness, isolation. It is less about the subject within a photograph and more about awakening a feeling in the viewer.

Negative space can create a sense of lightness, airiness…it can strengthen the positive emotions in a photography, emphasize the feelings of your subject, conveying whatever story you as a photographer wishes to evoke in your viewer.

Negative space provides “breathing room” giving the viewer’s eyes a place to rest and preventing an image from appearing too cluttered…creating a more engaging composition.

Negative space, in the world of photography, may be more important especially if the photographer tends towards creating images that are simple; yet effective. Michael Kenna, Bruce Percy, and Masao Yamamoto are three artists known for their minimalistic images.

This week’s lens artists’ host is Amy (The World is a Book). Hop on over and join in the fun.

Each night as I watch the sunset, I am surprised to see the the western sky’s limitless wardrobe of clouds.

I have found that taking the time to sit on the veranda to watch the sunset and photograph the impermanence of clouds offers me moments of peace during this time of uncertainty. Thank you Leya for this week’s photo challenge: surprise.