The Lightning That Never Was

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What’s one to do stuck at home on a rainy day, waiting for some papers to be delivered, with no “work” work to be done? Well… a million things come to mind, but that’s part of the problem. Tedious house work to be done… exhausting, stressful thoughts and issues to be mentally sorted out, when one has no clue as to how they could be handled in a way that might provide a positive outcome.

Self-care does, of course, come to mind… but who can empty their mind for long enough in order for that to be an option? So I pace up and down, unable to focus and start doing any of the things I should be doing… knowing that when I’m like this, it’s impossible for me to sit still… hating that I have to wait on the damn papers to be delivered… hating that they never narrow that delivery window of time to anything less than their entire work day… well, hating all sorts of annoying little things, because hating annoying little things outside one’s control can be a lot easier to handle than anger.

What I really want to be doing is go for a photo walk in the park, grab some shots of the probably mostly dead roses that I just didn’t get to photograph yet, see how big the ducklings got, and generally empty my brain of all worries, concerns and fears while walking and shooting.

But no… stuck at home it is… watching the loud funny family of magpies from my window. The two young ones are so big already that it’s not easy to tell them apart from the parents. By the time I half-heartedly get my camera, they no longer are right outside my window, but further away in the garden, at an angle that doesn’t promise decent shots. After a few attempts, I put away the camera without even checking the photos.

I might as well cross some chores off the list, since I’m not able to use my time in more constructive a way. Then, as the wind stirs up, the sky darkens suddenly and loud thunders overpower any other natural noise, an idea emerges from my own mental noise. A delightful summer storm seems to be brewing.

I have a tripod, but I don’t use it often, I don’t like carrying it. So I get it from the back of the shelf where it lives, and I set it up in front of the window. I’ve watched many spectacular storms from this window, why would today be any different? I never tried to photograph lightning, so this might be a great opportunity.

The lightning storm I was hoping for didn’t happen, at least not for me. It rained, but thunder faded in the distance, the real storm happening somewhere else. However, I wasn’t disappointed. Without thinking about it, I just stopped thinking about anything else and immersed myself in my activity, figuring out camera settings, reading a couple of articles on the topic, breathing in the smell of the rain and staring at the sky, waiting for lightning to strike. It didn’t happen, but that made little difference, since what I really needed was reprieve, piece of mind, and not necessarily some great shots.

As the rain stopped, I left the camera on the tripod, hoping for some post rain magpie antics. They didn’t show up, but at least I this time I was enjoying taking a few photos of life outside my window.

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Bad hair day? Rain will do that… we’ve all been there.

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Almost harvest time… I don’t really like these plums, but surely some of the neighbourhood children will have fun trying to pick as many as possible without a certain mean old lady downstairs seeing them.

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Their fragrance in the evening is amazing. 🙂

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Not the nicest of the many neighbourhood strays… He would clearly love a nice juicy magpie rump, yet he’s the one who keeps ending up with his tail pulled and bitten by the birds.

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Finally, some shots of the magpies before the rain. The young one is still a bit shy, but mom and dad no longer care about me… not unless they expect me to offer them some nice cool water on a hot summer day.

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Everything isn’t miraculously better, but my photo session by the window was a step… something that came to me naturally, my mind providing me with a solution, if I was willing to acknowledge it and follow through, in spite of other conscious tendencies. Of course my first instinct was to not drop everything; my first thought was, “I shouldn’t waste my time like this, I should take care of the many things that need to be done around the house, since I have all this time on my hands.”

Somehow, taking care of ourselves instead of doing all those mostly insignificant things feels like a waste of time… Why does it have to be this way, why does self-care have to be so guilt-inducing? Oh, I can come up with several reasons, but there’s really no point. We all know them, we all struggle with them. Meanwhile, body and brain send discrete signals that they need a break, and they’re often ignored. Here’s to hoping we learn to pay attention to them more often!

Take care of yourselves, the best you can… don’t postpone it until irreparable damage occurs.

Fallen Beauty or What A Difference A Week Makes

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A week used to feel like “forever”, “forever” ago… As a child or teenager, having to be away from my friends for a week or so seemed like a terribly long separation, the end of which was nowhere in sight. A week apart from an adolescent love felt like cruel and unusual punishment, something that might very well be the end of the world. On the other hand, a one week vacation or trip with my friends and/or boyfriend was heaven, the kind of thing that could keep me going for months before and after.

A week could radically and irreparably alter one’s existence and anyone saying it was nothing, it would go by in an instant, was a fool. I was sure of it.

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Now… a week is nothing. It goes by in an instant. I can put up with many uncomfortable situations for a week – that’s just life. I can go by without seeing someone I love for much longer than a week. In fact, after doing long distance for a few years and getting used to it, a week apart can be a much needed break (shhh, don’t tell anyone I said that). And when it comes to time off, a week flies by unnoticed and even if it’s better than nothing, it’s far from enough.

Then… the world becomes what it is today… pandemic… war nearby… and a week suddenly becomes very relevant again. Of course a person’s life can turn upside down in an instant, not to mention a week, but at this point it’s once more painfully clear what a difference a week makes.

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I was so pleased to see this old tree about to bloom a couple of weeks ago. There was something uplifting about it. Spring and nature had once again provided a reprieve from the maddening everyday life.

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A week and a windstorm later, the sight was less uplifting. The blossom was gorgeous. And the tree was dead.

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Several obvious analogies came to mind while photographing the old tree one last time, generally about how deceiving and unreliable appearances can be. “Rotten to the core” kept popping into my mind, probably because of the week’s events and personal experiences.

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Now, however, going through these photos… all I can think is, what a difference a week makes…

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Have a good weekend, everybody, as good as it can be under the circumstances… Make the best of it! Who knows what windstorm is lurking around the corner…

A Strange Kind of Serenity

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I will never bake perfect looking gingerbread. But I can bake great tasting gingerbread and, in my book, that’s more than enough. In fact, that goes for all my baking – it’s something I love doing, I’m not at all bad at it, but my baking will always have a homemade look about it. I have neither the patience to strive for an army of identically looking gingerbread figurines, nor do I have the discipline to always stick to the recipe for all my baking. Since I do understand how it works, I have fun with it, I experiment and I enjoy the slightly different results I get. That very diversity and that imperfect homemade look are perhaps what makes the entire process just right… dare I say, my own kind of “perfect”?

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Same Old Story

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Every picture tells a story… even the subjectively bad, uninteresting, cliché or generally “blah” ones. Every picture is a moment in time, a snippet of personal history, the relevance of which might only become clear later on. There’s also that hidden layer, one involving unknown people and who knows how many unknown experiences… Continue reading “Same Old Story”

Much Needed Me-Days

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Just put on that new pair of boots you so wanted, and get out! Go, take a walk… take some photos… feed the ducks… smell the falling leaves and let the cool autumn sun touch your skin. Just take a break! Just stop overthinking. Stop overanalysing. Stop obsessing. Just relax. Just be. Spend some time with you, on you. The world won’t fall apart if you do.

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More often than not, that’s easier said than done. Continue reading “Much Needed Me-Days”

Colours of Autumn

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September has come and gone. Tourists have finally packed their bags and returned home. We, locals, finally feel like we have our town and our space back. But even though it smells and feels a lot like autumn, the colours aren’t quite ready to change yet. In spite of all the years I lived here, by the sea, in spite of knowing better, I still crave autumnal shades every September.

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Much like the people here, nature is also reluctant to let go of those mysterious hopes and promises of summertime fun by the sea, so leaves change colour later than in other parts of the country.

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