Glass Garden

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Glass Garden

What do you see?

A wine glass of water reflecting the blue of the sun umbrella above and the green of lilac leaves?

Or, do you see a glass garden of shimmering greens and drifts of blue?  A moment of dancing light and water-coloured imaginings.  A cool breath of light and air.

Take a sip from this glass garden.

Taste this pause.  This breeze.  This bit of wonder on a warm afternoon.

And, remember to drink deeply, always, of this elixir we call summer.

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Hi, again.  It’s been awhile.  Attempting a little comeback here.  I’m going to select a photo a week, or so, and write to it.  It’s a summertime affair with words and photographs.

Why don’t you join me?

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Invincible Summer

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It’s a grey day..in May!  Barely a hint of spring anywhere.  No buds ready to burst.  No flowers blooming.  Nope.  Nada.  Nothing.

Albert Camus’ quote…”In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.”

That’s all I’ve got.  Well, that, and an offer of a bit of visual sunshine…

These tulips here, they’re a gift from the woman who runs the flower shop in my neighbourhood.  They’re on their last legs now.  At the stage when they’re more sculptural artifact than tender blossom.  Me, I happen to love this stage. So, I took a few snaps.  The light setting on my camera was all wrong – but I love the effect. It’s a bit of sunshine and warmth – a perfect antidote to a grey day.  When in doubt, or when in ‘grey’, I reach for the camera.

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The gift of these flowers in the first place provided some warmth of their own.  The shop owner handed them to me the last time I was in there. A lovely surprise.  A perfect gift.

I’m in her shop a lot. Like her, I love to give people flowers. To say thank you.  To say happy day.  To say you mean something to me.  I was in there, just last week, choosing flowers for two wonderful friends who helped me on a momentous day – they, along with my beautiful brother, helped hang my first photography show, ever.  Not to push the metaphor too far, but putting yourself out there in whatever form, but particularly in art, is a bit of a winter experience.  All that fear, storming around inside.  Invincible summer came in the form of family and friends showing up and supporting.

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I was at a photography show a couple of weeks ago.  It was a fund-raiser for the gallery.  I was volunteering at the sales desk.  A gentleman and his partner had come to the show to look, and possibly, purchase.  They are collectors.  For the one gentleman, photography is his passion.  We got chatting, he and I, although we’d never met before.  We talked photography, of course. There was a Burtynsky for sale at the show. One of his early works, from the 80’s.  So interesting to see the early work.

Then, I admired the gentleman’s handsome silver-handled cane.  And, he told me this story.

One day in January, just four short months ago, he woke up and his whole life had changed.

It took a few weeks, but the doctors determined he had this very, very rare disease, the name of which I do not recall, and might not share if I did, as it felt kind of personal, his telling of his story. The disease, it’s not lethal, but it is deeply debilitating.  He falls, unexpectedly.  His vision blurs.  He can’t do stairs without resting after two or three steps.  He can only stand for ten minutes at a time.  It’s how we got talking, in fact. He had to find a chair, which in a gallery are few.  There was an extra one at the sales table, so he asked if he could join me.  This gentleman had travelled the world, and the country, in his work.  Not any more.  He can’t travel.  And, he can barely work.  And, now, they are getting ready to sell their home.  The stairs are too much.  The house is too much.  It’s not an option to stay there any more.

Life. Changes. Fast, sometimes.

And, yet, there he was, this gentleman and his partner.  Making an evening of photography. Resting when necessary.  Meeting new people.

Whatever the winter, there is an invincible summer within.

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Cross-posting across the way with Vision and Verb.  Click on the link, and have a look.  Beautiful photography and essays by a community of women from around the world.

Vision and Verb

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A Hint of Things…

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A Hint of Things

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We were six.

My mom and dad.  My mom’s sister, who’s 90.  My mom’s brother, in his mid-eighties. My cousin (one of them), and me.

A re-union of sorts.  My mom is the youngest of six siblings.  Two have passed away, one – a dear sister, just last fall.  And, both my aunt and uncle have lost their spouses.  My uncle lost his wife, three days before his sister died, last year. It has been a difficult few months.

And, so, for the first time in fourteen years, it was time for a re-union. Three of the remaining four siblings (one can’t travel anymore) came together to spend a week in Mexico. And, it was magical.

Just like you’d expect it to be.  Stories told and shared from years gone by. Like 80-plus years gone by. Stories told from each of their perspectives. Stories told that the rest of us hadn’t heard before. Tender stories. Growing up stories. Stories of life during the depression. Stories of growing up in a big family. Stories of growing up a minority – Catholic – in Orangetown Toronto…back in the day.  Stories of first jobs, and mis-understandings, of hidden forts, and secrets kept for a really long time. Like, what (or who!) really caused that little fire?!  (Luckily, it was only a little fire!)

I’m a radio-gal from way back – started my career in broadcasting making radio.  So, of course, I recorded as much as I could.  Hearing their voices, hearing their laughter.  Hearing them remember.  There’s something about the sound of a voice that adds so much to what the words convey.

My cousin and I listened in…sometimes like two flies on a wall, listening and watching as they went back in time…remembering, and conjuring another era, another time in their lives, like it was yesterday.

We were in the mountains of Mexico for this.  Blue skies, warm sun, fragrant flowers. Birds flitting about, horses clip-clopping by on the cobblestone streets just outside the walls of the hacienda.  Abundant life.

We’d sit on the ‘loggia’ as it’s called, like a veranda only facing inward, towards the garden. It would be warm and sunny, and the afternoon light splashed across the tiled floor. This was usually the time when the stories would start to flow. But it wasn’t all about the past.  They were getting to know each other anew.  Catching up.  Discovering strengths they didn’t know each other had…like dealing with loss, and with getting old..while staying young in spirit.  (I’d like to add that I also watched my mom and her sister navigate those cobblestone streets with low heels.  Incredible!)

And, so it was..with feet firmly planted in the present (even if a cane was required) that they re-connected and remembered, and created memories anew.  All the while, handing down to the next generation (and beyond) a few hints about how to live, and how to age…leading, with grace, by example.

And, so, that’s how it was for a few days up in the mountains, and under the Mexican sun.  Kind of magical.

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Joining the wonderful community of women over here at Vision and Verb.

Vision and Verb

A little bit of Mystery

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Unexpected Beauty

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I was sifting through my images from the month of January, and this one caught my eye.

I love the swirl of light, the warm and muted colours – except for that flash of yellow which is so wonderful!  Who doesn’t want a dash of yellow in deep winter!  And, I love the ‘abstractness’ of it.  I mean what is this?  Can you tell? Does it matter? Not to me. I am simply enjoying the warmth and sparkle of it…

As I link up with Kat Sloma’s Photo-Heart connection, she encourages us to look for the message within the image.  What is it saying?  Why this image? Why now?

A few things come to mind. I’m attracted to the beauty of it..the warmth, the colours, the curves. And, I’m attracted to the mystery of it. It’s like an invitation to allow for the unknown. A reminder that sometimes form must give way in order to reveal the mystery inside. That sometimes if you look anew, something beautiful awaits.

Usually, I’m captivated by the line and shape of things…expressing a subject in its most elemental terms.  This image blurs all of that and transforms the ‘what’ into something new.  And, that’s appealing to me these days.  I’m not sure I know why.  I just know it is. The answer will emerge…all in good time. For now.. A softness.  A new point of view. A mystery. This is what I’m embracing as February begins.  That, and some sunny, warm colour!

Unexpected beauty and a bit of wonder on a wintry day.

Just what the doctor ordered.

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Silver. Lines.

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Silver. Lines.

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It’s so simple.

A silver sky.  A few phone lines.  And, a strand of vine.

So often, I’m attracted to these kind of minimalist scenes.

And, I have to wonder why?  Why does my eye go here?

And, what is this love of ‘negative space’?  I do dearly love it.

Perhaps it gives me room to breathe. Room to really see what’s right before me.  The layers and wisps of clouds, in lighter and deeper shades of silver. The pattern of the wires. The curve of a random, strand of vine. I mean really see it. Not as backdrop, but as foreground. With room to spare. Each element standing on its own. Each element contrasting the other. Each element supporting the other in being seen.

In a way, it’s a bit of rest, seeing things in simple terms.  In the midst of a busy city, and alive in complicated times, simplicity is a powerful thing.  A comfort.  A reprieve.  A chance to see more clearly.

I return again, and again, to this simple kind of beauty.  At least, it’s beautiful to me…not always to others.

And, I’m grateful for it. For what my eyes can see…and for what my eye is drawn to, which on this day was layers of silver, a few lines, and the space to breathe.

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To Begin. Again.

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ForwardBeginnings could happen more than once, or in different ways.  You could think you were starting something afresh, when actually what you were doing was carrying on as before.”  The Unlikely Pilgrmage of Harold Fry.

The timing of this may be wrong.  Or, maybe, it’s right.  It’s not meant to reflect on the beginnings of a New Year, even though we are in its first month. January.  Janus, the twin-headed god, looking backward and forward.  It is a nice co-incidence that it is the New Year.  But, rather, I think this is really about looking backward no more.

The beginning that is happening ‘more than once‘ as the character Harold Fry calls it,..is my beginning…of a new life, post-career. The ‘first beginning’ happened 18-months ago, when I walked away from my longtime career.  And, like a kid busting out of school towards the first day of summer, I have experienced joy and adventure and the feeling of the warm sun on my skin, figuratively and truly.  Much of this first beginning has been about travels, discovery, play, wide open spaces, timeless timetables. No schedule. No demands (well, barely).  And, no holds barred for living.

But, there is, now, or so it seems, a second beginning.

Like that endless summer vacation we lived as kids, so much of the sense of freedom comes from being outside the norm. Away from the rigours and routines.  Wrapped (or unwrapped) in boundless time and energy.  Free!  But that kind of freedom is, in some respects, relative.  It’s based on knowing the ‘un-freedom’.  It’s in relation to the schedule, the ‘norm’, the business-as-usual we always, always returned to at the end of summer. Except this time.

This time…summer’s over – (to let that metaphor roll on..sorry, it will end soon!). I’m not returning to ‘business as usual’.  There’s no ‘back to class’ happening.  Nope. And, the mad times of playing and staying up late with friends, and sleeping in, and carrying on in whatever manner (I’m talking about ‘summer’ here, and, well, a bit of life these past 18 months, too!) these kinds of summer times, they are, perhaps, winding down.  It is time to begin (again) and experience a different kind of freedom.  Something deeper.  I think.  I mean, I don’t really know, for sure.  I just feel things shifting.  There is a new rhythm, a different kind of drive, a different way of being in the day-in-and-day-out of my days coming to the fore.  I feel it.  I just can’t describe it.

What I do know, with some certainty – is that I’m entering new territory.  And, with it comes another beginning – perhaps, a truer beginning, to my new life, post-career.  And, it’s much less about looking back, and all about looking forward.

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Cross-posting with the wonderful women over at Vision and Verb.  Please pay them a visit over here…

Vision and Verb

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