The year began with me making an investment in a new camera. My former camera of several years broke. I feel the change made a significant improvement in the quality of the photos. My hope is that my love for the beauty of nature and my choice to share it here, serves as a help to others in awakening to the beauty around them and their need for it. We all need beauty as much as we need love. Beauty is one of those presences that has been so neglected and abused in this culture. I was surprised by the fact that my photos have been found by a wider audience this year. I have no idea at this time where that leads. But I am open to following it to see what might become of it. There is a chance I will be asked to do an exhibit next year for a gallery here in St Louis. It seems like a daunting challenge that would stretch me in new ways. I hope it happens.
Another change happened this year in regards to my work as a hairstylist. The change I made back in March was just some more of the natural progression of a change that began to take shape several years ago with how I work. I moved my business to a private studio. I wanted that part of my life to fit more seamlessly with the rest of my life and I wanted it to become a sort of distraction for my clients. That move and the distraction intended is working out beautifully.
The garden as it always does, changed in many ways this year. It is a living thing. By its very nature, there in no day out there that is the same as the one before. And this year made it very clear that even the seasons can pull some improvisation of their own. Spring began very early. Winter chose to take a leave of absence here in the Midwest. We were then visited by a guest that seemed to not want to leave. This area experienced the worst draught and heatwave in 50 years. You learn to hunker down and survive. Sometimes, we to, have to learn to improvise. I'm actually finding that to be a more healthy rhythm for life...learning to respond to whatever life is presenting. Responding is a way different way of being than is reacting. Mindful presence and a slower pace leads to a life of responding. When a scattered and frenetic life leaves us reacting. I so prefer the life of responding. It changes the experience drastically.
The garden took on a more Zen-Like feel this year. The Asian influence has always been here, I just decided to add more of that to it. I just love the visible sign of harmony and peace that comes from Asian influenced landscapes. They represent visually an invisible inner quality of being that then shows itself externally in a more balanced life of peace and harmony and rest. And do we in the West ever need that reminder. Life here in many ways has never felt more problematic to me. The stress and anxiety and fear I sense in people has been on the rise in very visible ways over the past decade. That life almost caused a nervous breakdown in my life 7 years ago. Okay, some honesty here....I did suffer a breakdown. And it led me to a threshold I chose to cross over, and in the crossing, my life changed. The garden really is just an expression of that....and an oasis for me. A place to slip away to, a place to enter and to dwell deeply in order to recover and heal and discover more and more things I need to reconnect with. I hope it's an encouragement to others so they too might make some changes in their own lives, changes that turn out to lead to the development of some nurturing rituals of their own.
My hope is that you too feel more alive. And that you feel full of hope for the future. And I've never been more aware of the reality that any future I might imagine beyond this moment is just an imagined uncertain one, and that it is best that I limit that activity. Today is enough. And today has enough grace. And the more I learn to live in the moment, the more possible it becomes to respond in a healthy way to myself and others and to what is happening all around me, the beauty and the pain, the harmony and the chaos. And it keeps my feet firmly grounded in the soil of the earth and better aware of what is happening around me, and in me. It has made me a much safer human for me to hang around with :-) as well as the other humans I share this sacred ground, this sacred beautiful space with. It all feels like an ever present invisible embrace to me now, and sounds like ever present eternal echoes....echoes that confirm to me that I/we belong to something bigger than myself/ourselves...and to something more trustable than we are and more lasting than any of the things we create...and even time itself.
The first 4 photos are from today, representing the end of another garden season.