Tag Archives: Beauty

Embracing Life As It Is

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With summer in full bloom I feel constantly called to try and capture the vibrant beauty with my camera. Some of these moments are only meant to be captured with the heart’s eye like the tiny speckled fawn following her mother into the bushes. While others like the butterfly resting on vibrant blooms or the incredible abundance of berries after the rain may be shared here with you. I have never seen such an abundance of berries and marvel at the green lushness on each walk through the forest.

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Last week a different kind of experience left me feeling rather unsettled for a few days challenging me once again to accept life on it’s own terms. For me dragonflies, like butterflies and hummingbirds, have always felt like messengers of joy and magic, delighting me with their beauty as they whirl through the air.

That perception was deeply challenged when I found a dead (?!?) dragonfly on the path to the garden. Stopping to glance at it briefly after another dragonfly had flown away from it, I intended to just walk by to get to the garden to fulfill my mission of checking on the plants and do some weeding.

However as I was stepping past the dragonfly body, a movement near it caught my eye. Thinking that it was perhaps a spider, I curiously turned back to take a closer look. Crouching down I noticed the spider was turning to look at me. My mind reeled when I recognized that the spider was not a spider at all, instead it was the severed head of the dragonfly with two of its legs attached. For a moment I wondered if I had stepped into some kind of Sci-fi movie.

As I moved around the dragonfly in disbelief, it’s head kept turning so it could see me, which was a bit unnerving. Then witnessing the body starting to move as well, I wondered what was happening here. It seemed liked the two parts were trying to move towards each other. All my concept of life, death, dragonflies, nature and beauty were turned upside down in that moment and my mind (head) did not know what to do with this information. 

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Later after grounding myself in the garden with weeding for an hour, I decided to go back to the house to do some research. Noticing my deep reluctance to go passed the dragonfly, I made myself stop to look at it again. This time neither the body nor head moved. Part of me was greatly relieved, while another part of me (my head) wanted answers.

At home I looked up all kinds of information on dragonflies. I learned a lot I didn’t know, but only found one other person online speaking of a similar experience of the detached head staying alive for quite some time. Now several days after the event I am able to share this without feeling disturbed by it. It took some time to come to terms with this and now I can honestly say, I am glad that I had this experience. Once again something in me needed to expand, let go of fear and not only accept something that felt so bizarre in the moment, but find the gift and wonder in it.

I even asked myself what this might mirror to me. Reflecting on this, I am now able to see how often my head (logic) is in charge and how we are so conditioned to let it make the decisions in our lives, often not taking our heart, body or spirit into consideration.

Taking the world in through my eyes (like the dragonflies does with it’s 30,000 lenses in each eye) I instantly put reality into certain boxes of reference and sense that these boxes narrow my experience of life. It also made me wonder if life is asking me to slow down, instead of listening to my mind’s constant nagging “but you haven’t done this…” and run around like chicken with its’ head cut off. This saying has a whole new meaning to me now and I don’t say this lightly.

It also made me look at beauty and how my mind keeps it neatly in a box: This is beautiful! This is not beautiful! I am grateful for the many gifts this experience brought me from challenging my perception of life and nature, looking  much deeper into myself and how I meet the unknown and how I meet life, as well as finding beauty in dying and death.

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The greatest gift however is the realization that I can trust life to bring me the perfect experiences I need to expand and welcome life’s gifts with an open mind and heart. That is not always easy like this experiences showed me. Yet I know that as I open to what is different and unknown, I take another step on this journey towards greater love and wisdom.

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Close Encounter

 

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Preparing for my little road trip and getting caught up in all the things I had to do before leaving, I lost track of time and suddenly noticed that the sun was already setting. I still had to get my car which I leave parked where the pavement ends, but now needed to bring back to the house to pack up for my journey. With darkness was fast approaching I grabbed my keys and started walking quickly through the forest

As it was getting darker and darker I realized that I had forgotten to bring a flashlight and began walking as quickly as I could. In the darkest part of the forest trail, normally so magical with light streaming through the trees, I suddenly heard the eery sound of a wolf howling. I stopped for a moment to get a sense of where it was coming from and realized I was walking right towards it.

Turning around wasn’t an option, so facing the fear that had arisen, I walked on and was glad, when I finally came out at the more open and wider logging road. The half moon had risen and P1170912was there to greet me and I was delighted to see it. If felt strangely comforting. The sound of the wolf’s howling was very close now. It was beautiful, wild and also sad sounding. I waited for a few moments to see if there was a reply, but no other wolf answered. Feeling a sadness and loneliness that wasn’t mine, I walked the rest of the way to my car and got there just before it was completely dark and happily drove home.

Arriving at the house I noticed the moon was shining brightly over the water in the bay. It looked so beautiful and I just had to get my tripod to try and capture the moon and the first star lighting up the sky. As I set it all up on the dock, I could still hear the wolf calling in the distance. Playing with different settings of my camera and noticing how more and more stars were appearing in the night sky, the sound of fish jumping brought my attention to the water lit up by the moonlight. Suddenly I heard a big splash just ahead of me and something rather big with wings rose from the water coming straight at me.

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To my amazement a Great Blue Heron landed right beside me on the dock. That first surprised look from both of us, as we looked at each other, would have been quite comical to witness, I am sure. I couldn’t believe that I found myself standing beside this large beautiful bird and I am not sure what he was thinking. He looked at me intently, as both of us stood completely still.

Knowing my camera was right there but pointing the other way at the moon, I realized there was no chance to capture this moment, any movement and the Heron would be gone in a heartbeat. Instead I allowed myself to be fully present and receive the gift of this close encounter.

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I was sure that this was the same Heron that I had been visiting with out in the kayak, watching him catch his dinner, sometimes with amazing precise elegance and other times jumping into the water with an ungraceful splash, but coming out of the water triumphantly with a fish speared in his beak. I have seen him land on our dock numerous times and hang out there, when no-one is there. A few times he made me laugh as I watched him grab and shake the white rope playfully as if he is bored or practicing catching fish.

On this night he didn’t stay long with me on the dock, but long enough for me to feel like I had stepped out of normal reality into some other magical realm. As I made my way slowly back to the house, wolf was still calling and waiting for an answer. The pictures of the moon didn’t turn out as I had hoped, but that didn’t matter at all. The experience with the Heron on the dock in the moonlight was far more precious than any photo.

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The next morning I set out on my journey, letting go at some point of all the things left undone and trusting they could wait till I returned. Getting to the ferry terminal, the morning fog was shrouding everything in its mystery. Standing at the beach waiting for the ferry to arrive and suddenly seeing it coming at me through the fog, I knew some magical journey had already begun before I even left our little island.

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Puddle Mirror

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The beautiful reflection of the trees and blue sky in a puddle caught my eye the other day. It is amazing what a simple puddle might reveal…. This was too sweet to pass by. It took a while before I finally succeeded in taking a picture without my own reflection in it. As I circled around the puddle a few times, trying different angles and directions, my own image kept showing up.

It was not until later when I looked at the photographs on the computer that I became aware that the puddle really had insisted on showing me my own reflection. So the next day after a rainy night I decided to go and take another look.

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As I walked the familiar path I came across a squirrel sitting at the side of the road. It watched my approach and I had the unexplainable feeling that it had been waiting there for me. I expected it to race up the tree at any moment, letting me know in no uncertain terms P1160286that I was the intruder on this perfect morning with drops of rain glistening everywhere. But it didn’t. It sat there quietly on the ground and I stopped a few feet in front of it. We looked at each other for a while and not until I decided to take out my camera, did it run up into the nearby tree. From it’s new perch it looked at me with it’s kind and steady gaze, making me wonder what he or she was seeing.

As I moved on and rounded the next corner I was surprised seeing a small deer standing at the same side of the road. It looked at me with soft eyes. I couldn’t resist and raised my camera to take some pictures. This time I wasn’t wondering what she was seeing, but instead I was very aware of being seen. Finally I decided to take a step towards her. She  raised one foot, then another, and very slowly moved deeper into the forest to watch me walk by from a distance.P1160817

Soon I found myself standing in front of a puddle, then another, gazing at my own image in the different shapes of puddles and backgrounds.

I don’t know why it felt so liberating to look at my own reflection in the puddle mirror. I stood there for a long time, looking with curiosity at the image in the water and taking in what squirrel and deer had seen. It felt strangely comforting, like coming home to myself, embracing and acknowledging my own presence. I was both the observer and the observed.

I also had fun taking pictures of myself in the puddle. Instead of avoiding my own image, it now became my focal point. All the seriousness I had been feeling left in that moment as I smiled at myself in the puddle mirror. I could almost see the little five year old girl who used to love racing barefoot through the summer puddles, not caring if she got dirty or wet.

The smile turned into a grin when I said out loud: “Mirror, mirror on the path, who is the fairest one of all?” Could I dare see and claim my own beauty? The puddle mirror whispered: Yes!

May we all walk in beauty and in our beauty on this earth!

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“You suppose you are the trouble
But you are the cure
You suppose that you are the lock on the door
But you are the key that opens it
It’s too bad that you want to be someone else
You don’t see your own face, your own beauty
Yet, no face is more beautiful than yours.”

~Rumi

 

Almost Open

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It’s not every day that Hummingbird brings me a message so loud and clear and this one wants to be shared:

You can look at beauty or you can look at problems. You can’t be immersed in both at the same time. If you choose beauty, you will respond and take care of what needs your attention in the moment with openness and love.

The message was so perfect for me and I decided to get out of my head and instead immerse myself in the beauty all around me. A short while later I discovered that the one and only rose blossom is about to open. The wonder of it all! I can’t imagine a more perfect symbol for beauty.

Wishing you all a beauty-filled day!