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north light

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Falling

I was half watching a programme the other night about space. The presenter was talking about gravity.

One way to think about gravity, he said, is that everything in the universe is just falling through space time.

The moon is falling into the valley created by the mass of the earth. The earth is falling into the valley created by the sun, and the solar system is falling into the valley created by our galaxy, and our galaxy is falling towards other galaxies in the universe.

wonders of the universe

He looked pretty happy about this theory (perhaps this is because he was perched on top of a stunning mountain range) but I confess it made me feel a little strange, this feeling that everything might just be: falling.

Sometimes the time that we’re in has that feeling too, that things are getting darker, tumbling in a way that’s outwith our control. The political environment is toxic, the news is dark as can be, and despite our fancy theories about the wonders of the universe we seem little closer to knowing how to look after this most beautiful planet.

It’s one of the reasons I find myself returning over and again to the quiet, tiny wonder of macro photography. Sometimes even the size of a landscape is too much to me but I always love the detail of the close-up watching, the surprise of what the lens might reveal. Plus you always know where you stand with a flower.

Here are a few recent macro shots, taken with the Hipstamatic. I hope you enjoy them.

A Sense of Belonging

I read something the other day that started me thinking about gratitude, and belonging.

How we feel a sense of gratitude when we feel that we belong – and perhaps that we feel a greater sense of belonging when we cultivate gratitude.

A sense of belonging is, for me, inextricably tied to the earth: feeling close to and familiar with the rivers and the trees, with the patterns of fields and the curves of the land.

I think perhaps this is why birdsong can be so powerful – it’s not just that it’s beautiful but also that it reminds us: of other places and times, other songs we’ve heard, it reminds us that we’re here, and hearing, and present, a part of the moment, the listeners of the song.

And I think this is why I love the flowers so. Even if you’re feeling out of sorts and disconnected, even if you can’t see the big picture or make sense of the patterns of life, or the lack of them, there they are, fully present, fully familiar.

All you need to do is bend down and notice, say hello, pay attention.

low down snowdrop shot taken with the Hipstamatic

I’m not sure if these are big thoughts or small ones, only that again and again I come back to this moment, this invitation, to bend down and notice.

To feel not just wonder but familiarity, and belonging, and remembrance that you’re at home.

~~~~

With thanks to Kim Manley Ort for prompting me to think about the power of gratitude.

Welcoming the Snowdrops

clump of snowdrops dancing in sunlight

When does a year begin?

For me it is this day, when the sun is finally shining and you walk out in hope because surely they must be here by now,

snowdrops close to the ground in half sun

and even though it’s not much of a surprise,

even though it’s become something of a ritual for you, this watching for them, waiting,

still –

snowdrops starting to emerge in sunlight

I’m not sure there is anything more lovely, more hope-giving, than the sight of these wee flowers poking up their heads through the mud, and rough ground, and glinting in the sun.

closer up of snowdrops in sunshine

The Edge of the Flowers

The early autumn here has been beautiful, weeks and weeks it feels like of dry sunny weather, and all the light we didn’t get in the summer. Warm too – last Sunday, the first of November, I was picnicking on the side of a hill in jeans and t-shirt!

I confess though, there’s something about the damp and misty days that draws me in, that lets you be in a different kind of way. Back down at the shore again in the middle of this week the other side had disappeared once more, and everything was drippy, damp.

daisy in the rain on a winter's day

There were only a couple of lone figures out, walking dogs or like me catching the sounds and patterns of the wading birds out on the mud flats, half there and half not as they drifted in and out of the mist.

There’s no pressure to do anything on a day like this at a place like this, not to enjoy, not to take photographs, not to be impressed or to impress, just be, half there and half not, like the birds.

Even with the dull light and the dampness there were still a few flowers dancing at the edge, and I couldn’t help but admire their torn and tearing softness, muted, like the tones of the day.

trailing
forget-me-nots
the river today
not even
an insect’s sound

6 August 2015