Archive for February, 2013

Ode To A Benevolent Camelia

February 22, 2013

Camelia in Hand (Black & White) 108 (1024x768) (3)All week I have been beset by an inexplicable weariness.  I seem to move in contrast to the bouyant  me I celebrated in my last blog. My new eyes still astound me, though the dryness brought on by the drops I continue to apply is  uncomfortable. Frequent “Tears” are necessary to keep the vision clear. I have continued to take photographs, but without the enthusiasm of recent weeks. The physical tiredness that slows my body slows my mind as well. My whole system struggles to keep up with small tasks…to interract with children, grandchildren and dogs, yet my heart is especially tender. Emotionally I am raw…as aware of the sorrows of others as of my own. I am torn between pushing myself to carry on with the usual responsibilities – hiding my weakness and vulnerability – or yielding heavily to my present being…blessing the weight that pulls me toward surrender.

Yesterday, as I walked home heavily, little dogs pulling me eagerly down the path toward our house, I noticed one large camelia on an otherwise barren bush. It hung low on the bush, almost concealed by the dark green leaves of the plant.  The flower was obviously bowed down by its own lush blooming, and I felt myself strongly drawn to its solitary and barely evident expression. I must take the dogs inside and return to photograph this unexpected gift…slipping my left hand beneath cool petals to turn its face to the light.

Camelia Plucked from Bush 110 (768x1024) (2)After taking the shot, I found that I couldn’t leave it to be beaten down further by oncoming rain. I must pluck it and carry it with me to place in an old blue bottle that lives in my kitchen window. Of course I photographed its journey to a new setting.

Camelia in Blue Bottle 115 (752x1024) (2)Her head still drooped a bit with the weight of her own loveliness… and the effort of blooming for all the other buds that remained tight-closed and fell to the ground unrealized.

As I aimed the camera and shot the simplicity of flower in bottle, I thought of a sculpture, perhaps born of a similar weariness at another time in my life. A reclining woman, a resting woman… Placed beneath the benevolent countenance of the Camelia, she seemed to complete the image. I felt that I was being shown by my slightly wakened creativity my present reality: bowed down by the years of blooming…in great need of rest. Weariness must be affirmed as a beautiful thing. no shame in letting go…in yielding to this moment in time that claims me.

Camelia in Blue with Sculpture 116 (768x1024) (2)As I shifted the sculpure in relation to the Camelia in the bottle, my sense of play returned; my spirit froliced a little as I leaned gratefully into the beauty of the years that weigh me. I watched my familiar body lie down and felt the deliciousness of surrender to the light that made me.

Camelia (A Benevolent Flower or Let Her Rest) 119 (1024x778) (2)


The Approach of Spring

February 8, 2013

Leif in Red Hood (Black & White) (2)Last weekend a chill wind caused me to don my red c0at and put up the hood for my evening walk to the beach. A wintry feel to the air denied the obsvious signals telling me spring was near. The red-winged blackbirds at the top of the oaks were announcing it loudly from tree to tree, and the fluffy yellow warbler – buffeted by a strong wind off the water – was not deterred from singing of his arrival on the southern gulf coast.  I could see these birds with much more ease through the new lens in my eye than through the camera lens of my little Canon S-100. And fortunately. I had discovered other signs of the season shifting into renewal mode.

Fairy Moss (1024x768) (2)This soft green moss appeared suddenly on the still cold surface of the earth, prompting me to fall to my knees and stroke its softness with delight. As a child I called it fairy moss. Well… I still do. Even now, I imagine tiny feet skip-skipping over the verdant turf; trilling laughter rises as they celebrate spring’s arrival in a dance of joy.

Japanese Magnolia (The Eye of The Flower (768x1024) (2)I can also imagine them garbed in the fallen petals of the Japanese Magnolia, the luscious pinks, purples and whites a swirl of color against the fresh green of the moss.  I have visited trees in the yards of strangers to photograph the extraordinary grace of these flowers. Even without the color, the delicacy and poise of the blossoms on their stems entrances me.

Japanese Magnolia (Stark Loveliness) (1024x915) (2)I don’t really know where I am going with this…except that with my newly opened eyes I am entranced by all I see, am possibly newly opened in my mind as well to the manifestings of new life in the world I inhabit. I want – like Alice in onderland – to nibble a cookie, shrink to fairy-size, wear velvet petals and dance on the soft green moss. I want magic laughter to rise from my throat and mesh with the air that others may drink my joy. It seems almost possible when I take in the natural beauty of creation. When my fascination and delight turn into a photograph in which I can see again and possibly share the perfection of form that I have been fortunate enough to notice, I do want to leap for joy.

Young and Curious Pelican (776x1024) (2)And yes, I continue to visit and wonder at my attraction to the pelicans I wrote of recently. They seem to be absolutely one with the burgeoning awareness I am celebrating, this springing into newness. During my last visit I was getting rather caught up with my photographic dance, turning this way and that – perhaps striving a bit much to capture something special – when suddenly I was stilled, felt my gaze pulled down, and practically at my feet was this adorable creature. His look – so quizzical and direct – made me almost embarrassed at my compulsion, but I had to laugh. He (or she) was just so cute, and seemed to see as children can see what is true. He brought me back to myself, reminded me that it is all right here, Something special is right where we are…if only we will see.

At Home With The Pelicans

February 3, 2013

??????????????????????As I recover from the removal of my second cataract, I find myself drawn to the pelicans that bask on the pier at the Inner Harbor Park. Without the little dogs, I am accepted. The relaxing birds are not threatened by my slow approach. With silent steps I move closer, fascinated by what I can see through the camera’s eye.

I went the first time two days after the surgery, weary of being inside, needing movement and the beauty of nature to remind me of my place in the dance. The left eye was still very sensitive, the pupil not yet adjusting to light. Yet my need to be nourished by the awkward grace of these creatures was greater than my lingering frailty. I needed to focus on something more than my self in order to realize myself.  Besides, nature heals. I know from experience that recognition of my spiritual connection with nature makes me feel more alive.

Why pelicans? Well, I admit to going first to a Japanese Magnolia, knowing that the blooms would not last very long. Their fleeting beauty would be a pleasure to photograph. Then walking back to the place where I had left my car, I thought of the pelicans. I have seen them so many times when walking the dogs…just on the other side of the harbor, tempting me to use my inadequate zoom. Without the dogs to limit my proximity. I could drive around and park near to the place they gather. I was free and they were there.

But now that I have experienced their nearness, and the charm of their inimicable behaviour, it is more than their availability, more even than how priviledged and fortunate I felt to be among these wild beings. In a sense, I could share their sudden and inexplicable urge to soar, to swim, to return, to stretch, to cackle at a neighbor that came too near. The more I lingered, the more patient I was about aiming and taking shots, the more I felt that I belonged. I was almost at home with the pelicans as they went about their simple mode of existence. And they know when to rest, when to huddle down close to the warm boards of the pier, even if they need to keep a watchful eye.

When I finally left them that evening my new eyes seemed to have undergone some sort of initiation or christening. I took home with me a frisson of joy that would spark again when I looked at the photos the next day on my computer screen. Here they were: my friends with their gorgeous feathered raiment, their clumsy stance, their penetrating gaze.  I admired again the strange beauty I had walked amongst, the gestures I had witnessed. I thought of my father, wading amongst them on Horn Island, clipboard and pencil in hand, and felt I understood his long-standing passion for this particular bird. My heart soars with a sense that I may have landed in the strange new land Walter Anderson spoke of in his Horn Island Logs “…where everything I see is new and strange.”