“Light” was my word for 2014. It’s an ideal word to guide you when you love to make photographs. And it has moved me in directions I’m very glad to have explored.
But there is so much more to the word than that. When times are dark, we all look for light. As we approach the winter solstice, I leave you with a meditation by a favourite poet, Mary Oliver.
I have farther to go with this exploration of “light.” Perhaps we all do…
The Buddha’s Last Instruction
by Mary Oliver
“Make of yourself a light”
said the Buddha,
before he died.
I think of this every morning
as the east begins
to tear off its many clouds
of darkness, to send up the first
signal—a white fan
streaked with pink and violet,
An old man, he lay down
between two sala trees,
and he might have said anything,
knowing it was his final hour.
The light burns upward,
it thickens and settles over the fields.
Around him, the villagers gathered
and stretched forward to listen.
Even before the sun itself
hangs, disattached, in the blue air,
I am touched everywhere
by its ocean of yellow waves.
No doubt he thought of everything
that had happened in his difficult life.
And then I feel the sun itself
as it blazes over the hills,
like a million flowers on fire—
clearly I’m not needed,
yet I feel myself turning
into something of inexplicable value.
Slowly, beneath the branches,
he raised his head.
He looked into the faces of that frightened crowd.
Day 2, Pattern
This month I’m joining Susannah Conway and many others around the world in the August Break project.
In addition to posting a photo a day, I’ll be sharing a link to the site/blog/portfolio/flickr stream of another photographer whose work I greatly admire and who is inspiring me on my photographic journey. (They may or may not be doing the project too.)
And I’ll be on the lookout for artists who are new to me but grab my attention this month.
Today, I’m excited about discovering Shawna Lemay who blogs at Calm Things. I ran across Shawna’s blog by chance following the links in another blog, as often happens. But when I touched down at Calm Things, I immediately felt both serenity and excitement, for there was poetry there, along with beautiful photography.
And everything resonated with me. Quotes and poetry from my favourite authors, monks and mystics…some I was familiar with, some I wasn’t. And quiet, homely and haunting pictures…What a treasure trove. Sheer bliss.
Shawna is a published poet who loves to make images. She’s a Canadian. Meet Shawna here.
Today, I’m thinking of all those — known to me and unknown to me — facing grief, loss, health challenges and worries, or any other form of pain and suffering…
May the nourishment of the earth be yours,
may the clarity of light be yours,
may the fluency of the ocean be yours,
may the protection of the ancestors be yours.
And so may a slow
wind work these words
of love around you,
an invisible cloak
to mind your life.
from Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom
will shopping bring you true joy
when what you are dying to give
is your heart?
Over the holidays, my hope is that we all make time for more simple and real connection — with our loved ones, our communities, our fellow inhabitants of this unique planet, our natural world and our true selves.
I’ll be back on December 1 to start a practice of simplicity with Kim Manley Ort.
In the morning, everything is new.
The day’s blank slate lies before me,
ready for my writing.
May it be words of beauty I write.
May it be deeds of grace I do.
May it be thoughts of joy I think.
All the holy ones, listen;
this is what I pray.
Great spirits of the four realms,
Holy ones of the realms of minds,
Kindreds of yore,
as I go through the day,
keep my eyes open wide.
May I not miss beauty.
May I not miss joy.
May I not miss wonder.
Keep me awake and aware of the world.
Thanks to Ceisiwr Serith…