Sunday, March 30, 2008
Walking down the quiet side streets in Victoria this time of year is a dream. The streets are lined with trees all in bloom. A sea of pink which will soon fall like snow over the sidewalks and alleyways. Not only is it beautiful to look at, but the soft sweet scent of the cherry blossoms stops me in my tracks as I breathe in deeply, mindfully. Sometimes you don't even have to leave the city to take in the beauty of the natural world.
It's days like this where I find myself keenly aware of my senses. I am grateful for them all. It reminds me of a wonderful scene in City of Angels where Meg Ryan describes the texture and taste of a pear as sugary sand. I couldn't get enough of pears after that, and I had never really even liked them before. A subtle shift in my awareness, and now I love pears. It's not just the taste that I love, but they have such a beautiful feminine shape.
It's so easy to go about our busy lives and not take notice of all the different sensory textures that weave together to enrich the tapestry of our days. There are so many magical things to behold, if only we remember to open ourselves up to them.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
I spent the spring break week visiting my parents. They live two hours north of Victoria in a beautiful little town called Qualicum Beach. One of my favourite places to hike in that area is Little Qualicum falls...we spent the day there together, trekking through the lush rain forest, deeply breathing in the fresh cool air, marveling at the intense power of the thundering falls...it's such a powerful place. My mom and I were like excited children, exploring the forest floor for tiny life forms to photograph up close. Some of these things were so tiny...the size of a grain of rice! As the saying goes, nature teaches us that we are both specks and giants. So true!
Sometimes when I return from a visit with my family, I come home feeling a little sad, a little empty inside, and it used to really bother me. I would think to myself, why am I not content to return to my everyday life? Is there something missing? Am I not living as fully and with as much joy as I would like? And then it hit me. The reason I feel this way is because when I am around the people close to me, especially my mom and dad, I am blanketed with so much love, so it can be hard to say goodbye. I realised it's not that my life is empty...it's quite the opposite! I now come home feeling full... with a heart overflowing with gratitude, and a deep knowingness that I am loved :)
Thursday, March 20, 2008
This is Taro...my own personalised little Easter Bunny. He was not happy with me when I tried to take his picture. I tried to put him inside the flower pot, and that lasted a whole three seconds. Most of the pictures I got were of his back feet hopping out of the frame, or him turning his back to me in defiance but he allowed me to take one decent shot, and one only, before indulging himself in a flowery snack. I have a camera shy rabbit...but I love him just the same :)
I went wandering with my camera today to try and shake the melancholy I've been feeling all day. Saying goodbye to Whiskey yesterday was more difficult than I had anticipated. Spending a whole week with him was wonderful, but I grew more and more attached as each day passed. I had a really hard time letting go. I can't imagine what I would be going through right now if he was my dog.
I feel such freedom when I am taking pictures. As soon as I plant my tripod into the ground, and set my camera at that perfect angle and peer through the viewfinder, I am completely in the present moment. All that exists is my subject, whatever it is in that moment, and everything else fades away. I can lose myself for a good hour in one little patch of new growth in a garden, or the mossy base of a tree, or the barnacle covered rocks near the ocean, or even an old worn out tractor covered in colourful rust. The past and future instantly dissolve and here I am... gazing in wonderment, as I think to myself, how precious the simple things are.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I've been in a state of conflict since my last post. Several times yesterday I wanted to run back to my computer and delete my last post. I felt it was silly and not worthy of putting out there. But something in me refused to touch the delete button. I think that post was necessary and couldn't have come out of me at a better time.
You may have heard of a place in the world where they make beautiful hand woven rugs and they purposefully create a flaw in each rug to express their humility... a way to symbolize the imperfection in all of us. I see my last post as my own little flaw, glitch...a break from the incessant worry that what I write isn't lyrical enough, poetic enough, metaphoric enough...not perfect enough. I've put so much pressure upon myself to try to write well. Whether or not I have succeeded is subjective. But this strive to be "enough" is tiresome. In my everyday life I consider myself to be a very real and honest person, very much an open book, and it's not that I feel I am being dishonest in this new space, because I feel as though I am being very genuine. It's just that I am afraid to go wrong...say the wrong thing, become boring, scatterbrained, weird, too silly, too much this, too much that...whatever. Maybe all of this stems from the fact that I am writing to an unknown. I am writing to people who don't know the real me...I am also writing to a part of myself who hasn't quite figured out who the real me is.
It was very important to me from the beginning to make sure my truest self was being presented here. And that truest self encompasses a whole lot of different sides and angles to my personality. I can be silly at times. I can also be moody, sad, introspective, peaceful, angry, shy, friendly and bubbly, insecure, oversensitive, philosophical, compassionate, and a multitude of other things...just like everyone else.
I've never been much of a writer, and I don't know if I will ever be as passionate about words as I am about pictures. But I do wish to be able to express myself, my many selves. And now that I have created my own *flaw in the rug* I can hopefully continue to be beautifully imperfect, original, quirky, like no other.....myself.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday, March 15, 2008
I'm posting some older pictures...taking care of the dog doesn't allow me much time with my camera these days. I don't like to leave him on his own for too long.
These pictures were taken near the ski resort on the island last summer. My mom and I ventured up there to explore and we were both completely taken with this beautiful place. Neither of us had ever been there before, but we heard it was a must-see hiking spot. Being surrounded in alpine forest (which looks quite different from the rain forest terrain near the ocean) made us feel like we were trekking through the majestic Rockies. We were high enough that we could see the ocean far below. A boardwalk takes you on a journey through lush meadows blanketed with these curious stems that are topped with soft cotton balls. I've never seen anything like it. Apparently in late spring, these meadows are abundant with colourful wildflowers. We will definitely be going back as soon as the snow melts!
I wanted to post a picture of my beautiful mother. She came to town yesterday for a short visit, so she is in my thoughts today. We have such a wonderfully rich and spiritual connection...I would be truly lost without her love and guidance in my life. She is my friend, my mentor, my world. Love you Mom xoxo
Thursday, March 13, 2008
One of the reasons I love the rain so much is because water droplets are a photographer's dream...at least for this photographer! If you look close enough, you will discover hidden worlds within the reflections of a water droplet. So magical :)
I am spending the week looking after a friend's dog. It is a bittersweet time, as I was just told that he has an aggressive form of cancer and isn't expected to live more than a month or two. We have developed quite a bond over the past eight years...this is as close as I will probably ever get to having my own dog so our time together is very important to me. Whiskey is very special. He is an Australian Shepherd, but he knows as well as I do that he's part human. He smiles (most people think he's showing his teeth in an aggressive gesture, but I don't know too many aggressive dogs that wiggle their bum in excitement as they show off their pearly whites), he talks and tells you all kinds of stories about his day when you walk in the door to greet him (the sounds are a little odd, but we pretend to understand), and he comprehends more than a dog really should. His owners have to spell out words if they don't want him to know what they are talking about. He's quite emotionally complex, which is why I love him so much. If he needs a bath and you tell him he stinks, he gets quite hurt...looks at you with his big beautiful expressive eyes, drops his head and slowly walks away. It's heartbreaking. So there will be no baths this week for this little lovebug...only hugs and wet nose kisses, extra treats, gourmet food (ingredients listed on the can: duck, golden delicious apples, garden peas, yukon gold potatoes, trout, etc...he eats better than I do!), plenty of walks through the forest, and lots and lots of love.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
I spent some time with a good friend today...We went to Chocolat and shared a lava cake. Now, I've had other lava cakes, but this little cake was DIVINE. What makes this particular cake so incredible, is that they put one of their dark chocolate truffles on top of the cake, and then warm it up so the truffle melts all over the little piece of decadent delight. I know my chocolate, and I have never experienced anything like it.
We were talking about the complexities of life and the relentless quest for happiness (I think the cake was the inspiration for this conversation) and she said something that made me feel all warm and gushy inside. Do you ever feel bogged down at times with a subtle guilty feeling of all the things you *should* be doing to live a happy, fulfilled life? Drink lots of water, exercise (don't forget to stretch), floss, eat 7 to 25 servings of vegetables a day...make sure they are organic, take your vitamins, get enough sleep, don't eat too much chocolate, smile more, worry less, do yoga, pilates, meditation, work on some sort of creative project, leave your work stresses at work, cut down on the caffeine, pet your cat, feed your fish....sigh...
I find trying to fill my days with these daily requirements quite exhausting. But my friend said something quite simple...it could be considered yet another thing to add to the lengthy list, but this one made me smile. She said, do something every day to make someone happy. I love that. It gets us out of *me* mode for starters...how refreshing.
You never really know how you are going to affect the people you come across. It could be as simple as a smile. Have you ever smiled at a sad and life-weary elderly person, and watched her face illuminate because someone took the time to notice her? What a powerful thing.
Maybe sharing a few photographs of my walk today will make someone out there feel a little lighter and closer to spring.
What will I do tomorrow?
Friday, March 7, 2008
So many things are changing. Outside, and on the inside. I feel as though new parts of myself are opening up. I am putting myself "out there" more than I have in the past, seeking new connections; with nature, with life, and other human beings. The most exciting part, right now, is the launching of my new website! It just went live two days ago, so I welcome you to wander over and have a visit. How interesting that this new unfolding is correlating beautifully with the emergence of spring. It makes me feel so alive. :)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
I don't know why I am so fascinated with mushrooms. When I am out with my camera and I see them, I find myself spellbound by them. Maybe it's because they are a little bit mysterious. They are the stuff of fairy tales. Perhaps a much appreciated umbrella for a tiny elf caught in an unexpected spring shower?
Monday, March 3, 2008
I think I am in denial. Spring denial. I used to live in the B.C. interior where spring didn't really truly arrive until late March, early April. Now that I live on the coast, where the climate is much milder, and the blossoms come out earlier, each passing year I believe spring has arrived long before it truly has. You see, I got my camera back on Friday. I was so excited to get out there and start taking new pictures...of flowers....that's what I had in mind. Because it's SPRING!! I got all geared up on Saturday, went to one of my favourite local gardens, and...well...spring hasn't really arrived just yet. There are no flowers. Well, there are some, but I think I was thinking a month in advance. But! I am very very grateful for the warmer weather, and the little crocuses that are bravely pushing their way out of the earth, and the new baby green leaf sprouts that are coating the forest floor, and the warm sun on my back, and the daylight hours are stretching...ok, maybe it is spring. It's that lesson in patience tapping me on the shoulder once again. As I wandered through the garden, I did find these incredibly soft velvety leaves, and loved the way the edges converged as I peered through the lens.
There is something so comforting and reassuring about the changing of the seasons. Especially spring, when everything appears new again. A fresh start after winter's long slumber.