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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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