Lens-Artists Challenge: Seasonal

Winter in Wisconsin can be very monochromatic. I do tend to feel SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and remind myself to take Vitamin D and get outside on any day when the sun shines. The challenge is to embrace this fact and celebrate it. So then why not embrace all the seasons in monochrome? It seems counter-intuitive, for the colors of the rest of the seasons are, I think, their most spectacular features. But a challenge should be challenging. Can I find visual interest in photos of all the seasons without color? Let’s find out.
Here we go…WINTER.

SPRING…

SUMMER…

and FALL. 

You know what? That was pretty fun. I do mourn the loss of color, but without it, I appreciate form, texture, and contrast all the more.
Thank you, Tina, for hosting this seasonal challenge!

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Celebrations

I celebrate the gathering of family, the reunion of loved ones. I choose the table cloth, polish the silver and wipe the crystal glasses until they shine. I light the candles and arrange the appetizers in a tempting display. I listen for the doorbell. 

I remember an Advent anthem I sang in church choir, years ago. It was called Anticipation, and I cannot find the author or the composer, but the words remind me of the joyous preparation and promise of celebration.

“The sky is black; the dawn is but a promise, and here I wait, impatient for the light. My dearest friend is coming back tomorrow. Anticipation fills the endless night, and soon the sky will fill with golden sunlight. The day will break with joy beyond compare, and I will fly — I will fly — to meet him in the air.”

 

I look forward to celebrating the return of the sun’s light, to the reunion of parents, children, sisters, brothers and friends. May we all warm the dark nights with laughter and love, good will and good food, and remember our connection and belonging.

Thank you, Amy, for sharing a glimpse of celebration in Peru and sparking our imaginations.  

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Happiness Is…

I see trees of green…

…red roses, too…

…I see skies of blue and clouds of white…

…the bright, blessed day…

…the dark, sacred night……and I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

The colors of the rainbow, so pretty in the sky…

…are also on the faces of people passing by…

I see friends shaking hands, saying “How do you do?” They’re really saying, “I love you.”

I hear babies cry; I watch them grow…

They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself, “What a wonderful world!”

This wonderful song always makes me cry. In my mind, I hear the voices of Louis Armstrong, David Attenborough and the Barrington Childrens Choir expressing these words of appreciation. I feel myself dancing to it with my daughter at her wedding. It is my song of happiness for the best the world has shown me…the Earth and Sky, loving People and my children. It is truly a wonder-filled world, and I am forever happy to be in it.
Thank you, Ann-Christine, for challenging us to articulate all our reasons for happiness. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Contemplating Water

“Water is the driving force in nature.”
Leonardo da Vinci

Breathing in, I see myself as still water.
Breathing out, I reflect things as they are.
— Thich Nhat Hahn

How is your nature allowing you to reflect reality and drive change? Just something to contemplate….

Thanks, Patti, for inviting us to share thoughts and photos on Water!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Open Sesame – Doors and Doorways

I’m an out-of-doors sort of person, and my photo albums reflect that. This photo immediately popped into my mind when I saw the challenge theme today. This is my idea of a doorway, and it’s almost the only door I’ve ever photographed.

Maybe I just don’t like doors. They represent separation, closing off, exclusion. They can be so imposing when they’re closed, and so limiting even when they’re open.  I like this door. It invites but does not insist. It gives you options, but it is interesting enough not to ignore. And it is humble in its surroundings.

This is the door I choose. Thank you, Tina, for focusing my attention on doors today. 

 

Lens-Artist Weekly Photo Challenge: Magical Light

“Light! More light!” – last words of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Was Goethe, the celebrated poet and scientist and author of The Theory of Colors, crying out his final request in an effort to quench his thirst for enlightenment of the mind, the soul, or the eye? Or all three?
I am sure they are all interconnected.
Coincidentally, his deathbed wish became the motto of Lawrence University in Wisconsin, where I sent my oldest child to college. 

Three things converged earlier this week to illustrate to me the power of light and its affect on my soul.

First, on Sunday, we switched our clocks back from Daylight Savings Time. The sun slips further away from the Northern Hemisphere, and daylight hours are noticeably diminished. Nights fall early, and mornings are dark.

On Tuesday, the U.S. had midterm elections. An ominous gloom has settled and hung over this country since our last election. I am anxious for my children, the planet, and the future. I feel the grip of darkness in my soul.

I suspect that I am susceptible to Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. I feel physically drained, deeply depressed, cold and vulnerable. Cloudy, dark days bring questions of personal survival to my mind. And then, Thursday night, temperatures dropped and the first snow fell. 

Fortunately, the next morning I was scheduled to volunteer in a Nature Center class of fourth graders. I drove carefully through the falling snow, noticing changes all around. The minute I arrived in the parking lot, I saw a small child lifting her face to the sky with her tongue out, hoping to catch a falling flake. Her face was lit with joy.

Light from the souls of the children flooded my day. Snow angels, snowball target practice, a hike through the woods to the river, and the emergence of a distant but brilliant sun made my mood by the late morning sparkle. There is magic in light, in warmth, in proximity to the energy of our home star, the Sun. The magic brings life to every living thing. I am aware of its sustenance and my dependence on it. And I give thanks for it every day. Thanks, also, to Amy for inviting us to share the magic with this Photo Challenge!