Even the sound of our breath
can be too loud for serenity
Be calm with the entries in the Weekly Photo Challenge: Serenity
our souls long for the green and glorious lushness of spring
Explore the hothouse of entries at A Word in your Ear’s
Word A Week Photo Challenge – Garden.
whipped cream island in a sea of mexican hot chocolate
about as close to paradise we can get this winter
Set your itinerary with the entries at A Word in your Ear’s
Word A Week Photo Challenge – Island.
Snowsquall hunter gathering – it seemed like a good idea at the time
Snow, slush, wind, rain, hail, thunder, lightning…
anything else you’d like to add, Mother Nature?
Marvel at the elements in the entries at A Word in your Ear’s Word A Week Photo Challenge – Weather.
winter spring summer fall
“The heart’s seasons seldom coincide with the calendar. Who among us has not been made desolate beyond all words upon some golden day when the little creatures of the air and meadow were life incarnate, from sheer joy of living? Who among us has not come home, singing, when the streets were almost impassable with snow, or met a friend with a happy, smiling face, in the midst of a pouring rain?”
Myrtle Reed, Old Rose and Silver
Best is a relative term – meaningful is that place in our memory jogged by the split-second of a photograph. See the year in pictures at Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Your 2012 Outdoors and Nature.
“We love to think in winter, as we walk over the snowy pastures, of those happy dreamers that lie under the sod, of dormice and all that race of dormant creatures, which have such a superfluity of life enveloped in thick folds of fur, impervious to cold. Alas, the poet too is in one sense a sort of dormouse gone into winter quarters of deep and serene thoughts, insensible to surrounding circumstances; his words are the relation of his oldest and finest memory, a wisdom drawn from the remotest experience. Other men lead a starved existence, meanwhile, like hawks, that would fain keep on the wing, and trust to pick up a sparrow now and then.”
Henry David Thoreau– A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849)
Find out how others see the passing of the solstices at the Weekly Photo Challenge: Changing Seasons.
Works by Swedish painter Carl Larsson are informed by a very visible love of family – in the soft shades and warm light of often idyllic scenes of home, the artist provides us respite, he offers us in watercolour the relationship between beauty and all that is morally good. The domestic scenes, especially those of Christmas, remain fresh and appealing for they represent what most of us strive for – a few peaceful moments in the company of loved ones where the cares of the world have fallen away.
For many December is bittersweet, a time for reflection upon the past but also for forging traditions – those small customs for the benefit of the young, they who do not yet realize the importance of their heritage and who will, hopefully, keep it alive once we are gone. One wonders whether Larsson was familiar with Ring Out, Wild Bells by Alfred Lord Tennyson. The poem has been recited at the annual New Year’s Eve Celebration at Skansen in Stockholm every year since 1897. Its themes are clear and precise, as relevant today as they were when it was first published in 1850.
- Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
The flying cloud, the frosty light;
The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.
- Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
- Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
For those that here we see no more,
Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.
- Ring out a slowly dying cause,
And ancient forms of party strife;
Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.
- Ring out the want, the care, the sin,
The faithless coldness of the times;
Ring out, ring out thy mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.
- Ring out false pride in place and blood,
The civic slander and the spite;
Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.
- Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.
- Ring in the valiant man and free,
The larger heart the kindlier hand;
Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.
Read more about these subjects:
Unseasonably warm, it was more of a grey day than most but the weather warns that this will be the last of it for awhile. Light rain still falls and with each drop we wonder why it feels more like March than it should in the short weeks leading up to the winter holiday – where is the first snow, the one that makes us run to the window and just stop, in silence, to look out. City or country, it is always magical.
In another lifetime and at about this same time of year, it was a tradition to look for a Christmas tree in the bush before the snow became too deep, mark it and then return with a sharp axe once the house was ready to receive it. On one such mission accomplished, the walk back was a quiet one when the scene above unfolded before us. There was no choice but to just stop – and watch as the light along the horizon slowly changed and the clouds rolled through blue, mauve and apricot. The moment marked a lifelong predilection for big sky landscapes, a quality of light and softness that makes one sigh or draw breath and hold it in as if to capture a part of this beauty for ourselves.
On New Year’s Eve decades later, a hushed midnight stroll down the main street of a small town found us awestruck once again. There in the window of a gallery was our very private memory, every detail captured as if the artist had been there with us. Morning couldn’t come soon enough.
This is what art is all about – having it grab your heart and wring from it something so deep that there are no words.
Here are a few 21st century landscape painters whose work speaks for itself:
Solitary has as many definitions as entries in this week’s Photo Challenge and is, as we have seen, not a state unique to humankind. Our barbet, although spoiled and overwhelmed with love, knows the meaning of “alone”. Lonesome for his friend, even the first snows of winter do not deter him from his vigil – he sends his doggy thoughts across the fence and waits patiently. The reward is in the simple pleasure of play.