In the Lenten retreat I'm doing, this week's photography and writing suggestion was to go on a contemplative walk and photograph some indication of the changing season. Then to write from that voice: "I am..."
It has remained pretty "summery" here so there were no autumn leaves or other obvious signs in nature but here's what struck me:
I am a place of refuge for my family.
I love to hold them, keep them safe,
and watch them enjoy the summer.
I open my doors and windows
for fresh air and sunshine,
sandy feet and sunburnt bodies.
I give them a place to rest
and play games
and tuck up for the night.
I’m their home away from home
for the sundrenched months…
But now they are gone
and I am cleaned out, closed up,
curtains drawn – alone.
It takes a bit of getting used to…
but in a way it is restful.
I watch the sea,
hear the waves,
track the changing shadows.
nothing to distract me
from quietly settling down
into the different beauty
For now this home is mine alone.
Was that a cool breeze I felt
or was it a shiver of excitement!
And in the way these contemplative practices work, of course I am writing from some place in me that feels a shiver of excitement as I settle down for the different beauty and pace of Autumn!
On a beautiful sunny Saturday (before the arrival of Cyclone Pam!) we went to the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail near Snells Beach. The written guide suggests allowing an hour to walk the 2km trail. We were happily ambling and enjoying it for two hours! The Glasshouse restaurant at the entrance offers excellent coffee and cabinet food as well as a healthy lunch menu. It makes for a great day out. We enjoyed the variety of "man-made"sculptures (should I be saying "person-made"?!) but also noticed that the natural sculptures of the trees, bush and lake were at times even more alluring. Here are a few impressions:
"Aphasia" (confusion of speech disability)
Mahoe leaf (several of these in the bush in varied colours)
"Choice" (and can you see the spider web?!)
Several of these quirky road signs. I liked this one!
The wonderful Kauri Climb path with red gates at several points along the way.
The colours and patterns of the Kauri are wonderful!
The gates have Tibetan Bells to ring as you climb.
At the top of the Kauri Climb is "Listen-Stop" - pairs of different sized "ear-horns" which allow you to hear the music of the forest in different tones.
And back to the beginning - a reflective view from the Glasshouse restaurant.
This week's photography challenge was to take a contemplative walk noticing light and shadow. Then to reflect on the images that attracted attention and write about them - letting them speak to inner personal shadows too.
This week of the Lent retreat has focussed on "following the thread" of the Spirit as one step leads to another. The early Celtic saints trusted that their coracles (which had neither rudder nor sail) would be blown by the wind and carried by the currents to the place intended for them.
The photography/poetry task was on one day to go for a contemplative walk and take several photos of things that attracted attention or curiosity. Then to review the photos and journal about what they revealed or suggested. That in itself was an interesting and fruitful experience. But then... the second day we were to choose seven key word from the previous day's journalling and write each on on a slip of paper, fold them up and shuffle them. Picking one at random, incorporate that word into a line of poetry... then pick a second word (without being able to see what you are picking) and incorporate that word into the second line... etc for the seven words, seven line poem. Here is what emerged for me with just one of the photos from the previous day:
Cool yourself my friend
in the shade of the gnarled old tree
let all the scattered thoughts converge
in its sheltering shadow
peace depends on opening
to the still point…
new paths diverge
(The seven words were: cool, gnarled, converge, shadow, depends, point, diverge.)