Summer has now arrived with a vengeance, and what can be more summery than the sight of deckchairs fluttering in a gentle breeze on a promenade at the sea shore? As much as the bright colours and the cheerful scene, it was the complex pattern of shadows made by the deckchairs that drew me to capture this image. Whatever is happening in our lives, we invariably experience some shadows at times, however sunny things may seem to be on the surface. Just as shadows cast by the deckchairs change over the course of the day, so they are constantly moving in our lives. Keep following the sun and let the shadows look after themselves.
I love spending time at the sea shore. This image to me represents the constant change, ebbing and flowing of life and the breath that is embodied in the sea and shore life. We like to think that things are permanent, that all will stay the same. We embrace our comfort zone and want to stay there forever. But in reality, life is change. Sometimes infinitesimally slow, sometimes lightning speed, but the only certain thing in life is change. Learn to love change and you will learn to love life.
I am always thrilled by the sight of gannets nesting on the cliffs at Bempton, in Yorkshire. The sheer size of these birds and the close proximity to the path makes it an amazing experience. The breeding season is a hectic time, with huge numbers of birds visiting the area to raise their young. For me this is one of the most incredible times of the year, full of hope and energy for the new season which is fast approaching, a sign that summer is well and truly on its way.
As the blossom heralds another spring, so the wilder weather of April arrives to blow it away. Although not the first of the spring flowers, to me, the cherry blossom says that winter is behind us and the promise of spring and summer are just around the corner. The ephemeral nature of the delicate flowers reminds us that transformation is moving apace. The blossom in my garden lasts just a week most years and bears a stark message to enjoy things while they are with us. Take time out to have fun and make the most of life as the opportunities arise!
How often when we are moving through our life do we stop to actually look at the small details of the world that is around us? This image shows a close up of a beach. I was fascinated by the variety of shapes and textures in the stones, as well as the detail of the drift wood. The tiny piece of green stem on the branch added a spot of colour in an otherwise neutral palette. Walking briskly along, none of this would be noticed or remembered, yet a closer look reveals a world of intrigue beneath our feet.
It’s been such a hot and sunny summer that much of my garden has been struggling to cope. I wasn’t hopeful that there would be much colour left by now, but these perennial sunflowers have still managed to put on a good show. Yellow is such a happy colour and although they remind me that autumn is not far away, it’s hard not to smile when you look at their cheerful faces.
The bright red of poppies make a wonderful splash of colour on our roadside verges and fields in the summer. Red is the colour of the root chakra, muladhara, and the four petals of the poppy flower also remind me of the four petals of the red lotus that represents Muladhara.
Muladhara characterises foundation and stability, the meeting of our basic needs in order to feel safe. When I see poppies I am always reminded of this connection to the earth. The colour red is also associated with energy and movement, and poppies certainly have plenty of that as they sway on slender stems in the summer breeze.
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other word would smell as sweet
Juliet’s famous words from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet come to mind as we are in the middle of the season for roses to bloom. We like to know what things are called, to be able to name them and this obsession with nouns starts early in our learning of language. Children learn to recite a series of nouns before they speak in actual sentences. As we grow older, we learn to make associations with those nouns, linking them with adjectives that define them as ‘good’ or bad’. These judgements might end up almost subconscious, applied without thought, our immediate reaction.
In meditation we might start to unpick these judgements, to question our habits and innate reactions. We might start instead to see shapes and forms and light, to see that things just are, much as a camera does. The camera applies no judgement, all images are of equal value. The beauty and ugliness are in the eye and mind of the photograph’s beholder.
Once the weather warms up spring seems to arrive with a sudden burst of energy. From the snowdrops and daffodils to hellebores and crocuses, the garden is suddenly changing on almost a daily basis. The arrival of the cherry blossom signals to me that we have moved on from these tentative beginnings, still at risk from snow and hail. The explosion of cheery pink and white powder puffs of blossom tells me that spring is well underway and herald the arrival of the warmer weather. I think spring is my favourite season; so full of promise and expectation, optimistic for the year ahead. It’s hard not to be cheerful in the spring as the new year begins to unfold in earnest.