Happy New Year, everyone! But is it, though? Has anything really changed overnight? For the better, I mean…
Much as I try, I cannot shake the feeling that we’re trying too hard to put 2020 behind us. I can certainly understand the need for a fresh start and the hope for a better future. I share them. What vexes me is the senseless desire to “forget”, as well as the strange belief that everything will not only change, but go back to the way it used to be “before”.
Forgetting means repeating the same mistakes over and over again. And… maybe I got something wrong… but wasn’t what we’d been doing “before” exactly what brought us where we are now, to this place we dread and desperately try to escape? I’m sorry, but I don’t think we learned our 2020 lessons… not all of them and not all of us, at least.
Right… deep breath… it’s neither the time nor the place for yet another rant, much as I feel like one. Instead, I’d rather thank our lovely Lens Artists hosts for keeping us together and helping us in our efforts to stay sane and creative in 2020 (Tina is hosting this week’s challenge – Favourite Images of 2020). Continue reading “2020 Moments”
Christmas Eve used to be for decorating the Christmas tree. Now my artificial tree sits in its corner, nicely trimmed, for over two weeks. Different place, different times, different traditions. But back then, I couldn’t wait for my mother to arrive, usually on December 23rd; and in my very young mind, the fact that we had to decorate the tree together on the 24th was somehow a promise that she would always be there for Christmas.
Perhaps more than ever, in (December) 2020 “A” is for “absence”. Absence of once taken for granted human interactions and loved ones, absence of once taken for granted activities, absence of once taken for granted stability, safety and opportunities, absence has marked the year in so many respects for most of us.
My grandmother repeatedly chastised me every autumn, but I couldn’t care less. All it did was teach me to save that sort of behaviour for when she wasn’t around to notice it and get angry. Even now, when I care about my shoes perhaps more than I should, I still drag my feet through fallen leaves, the way I did as a child.
Well, here we are again… and I can’t say I’m surprised.
No, I’m not talking about finally returning to the lovely Lens Artists community and our inspiring hosts (I’m more than fashionably late for Ann-Christine’s challenge, Found in the Neighbourhood, and I haven’t participated in a few months, but these ladies have been very understanding in the past, so I hope they won’t mind this time either).
Sadly, I’m referring to my town going back in a sort of lockdown and to the fact that the only surprising aspect about it is that our authorities are finally doing (or creating the appearance of doing) something to control the situation. Right… deep breath… I did promise myself not to get political about the whole mess… and truth is, they’re not the only culprits. On top of a tourist filled summer, too many of us, locals, have systematically disregarded common sense safety measures and have refused to believe the threat is real.
A part of me breathed a sigh of relief when June came to an end. Normally the most uplifting, positive, “anything’s-possible” time of year for me didn’t feel quite that way this summer. Melancholy replaced positivity and a strange sort of anxiety reared its ugly head instead of usual excitement.
One person’s smooth road, another person’s torment… Considering everything that’s been going on in the world recently, this may very well sum up the confluence of events, I believe. Knowing what awaits behind the corner is one thing, following the right path is another… and discerning that right path – any path –and transforming it into a traveled road is yet another. Continue reading “Road or no Road… Congratulations, Lens-Artists!”
What’s the point in mincing words? I might as well admit it, the new normal has turned me into a voyeur… No bird outside my window is safe these days, their privacy – much like our freedom of movement – is a thing of the past. I’ve already given up on keeping up appearances, thus I no longer put away that telephoto lens; nor do I care what people from nearby buildings think if they see me… during a spying/photo session of their own. Continue reading “It’s Still Spring… Even at Home”
I know, I’m a couple of weeks late for this party… but there’s a very simple reason for it – I wasn’t going to write this post. Yet here I am, taking it out of that mental bin of posts to never be written. I normally have this funny blog writing process. Something triggers an idea, then at some point of the day I have to drive from one place to another, and during that time my mind runs with that topic. By the time I get to my destination, I also decide whether I’m going to write about that “something” or I discard the idea, rarely going back to it. That’s not an option these days, so that percolating process is no longer in place, leaving me surprisingly uncertain about my writing decisions. Continue reading “All Sorts of Distance and a Different Kind of Bucket List”
One of the annoying things my grandmother used to do when I was a child was tidy up my desk. It was a mess, she would say, and few people who know me would now believe that… because I am a bit of a neat freak. In fact, it wasn’t as messy as she made it sound, it simply wasn’t her kind of order. I knew where everything was and I had a system. She had a system too, everything had to be put away. I completely agree with that now… as long as you have a place to store everything. But pilling everything in a heap behind the desk just so it could be out of sight didn’t help me much. Continue reading “Strange Order in Chaos”
I come from a line of women with strong feelings about red… for or against it. By comparison, I’m quite moderate. While I do love a splash of red here and there, I would certainly not paint a bedroom wall this colour, the way my mother did, nor would I wear red from head to toe. Continue reading “Seeing Red”
This particular January turned out to supply a few more “roadblocks” than expected – literally and metaphorically. From what I’ve seen and heard, I’m certainly not the only one in this situation. No one enjoys being stuck, so we keep looking for detours and escapeways. Whether these paths turn out to be scenic routes or accidents waiting to happen is merely a matter of luck and perspective. Continue reading “Roadblocks and Leading Lines”
I stopped the car by the lake and braved the cold wind in order to take a few more shots of the setting sun. We all have these places we frequent, special spots where the view, the context or the history speak louder to us than in many other similar corners. We unconsciously find our way there when we need them, perhaps we get out of our cars and take a few more shots, very similar to the selection those particular places have already offered us on so many other occasions. Continue reading “One of Those Places”
I’m cheating this week. On one hand I’m not exactly “wordless”, on the other, I’m also using these photos for the Lens Artists’ Weekly Challenge – On Display. But I’ll be brief, so I hope you’ll forgive me. Time is an issue, so I’ll leave you with this interpretation of a Christmas display I saw in Paris two years ago. Continue reading “Almost Wordless Wednesday #77”
There is no age limit when it comes to learning something new. In fact, it keeps the mind young and agile. Just like back in the day, the process implies mistakes; we stumble, we get frustrated, and eventually we experience that rush which comes with every sign of improvement. Hopefully we manage to persevere until those signs become obvious. Hopefully we don’t lose patience with ourselves. Hopefully we don’t let frustration, disappointment and criticism get the better of us. Hopefully… we have the time, strength and discipline to hope. Continue reading “Abstract (or) Failure”
You know how you don’t much care for a certain kind of food, and then you suddenly crave it? I went through that with bananas and melons. Now it’s happening again… only it’s not food, it’s countryside.
There are cat people, there are dog people… are there any hen people? If so, I am certainly one of them. I may not have any pets now, I may be a dog person at heart, but whenever I see these little creatures, I can’t help smiling. You see, I had a pet hen long before it became a fad. Continue reading “Life and Death of Pets”
Note: Not only did Ann-Christine’s topic for this week (Lens Artists Weekly Challenge – Angles) push me to write a new post, but it also reminded me of something I’ve posted a few years ago. Since it still resonates, I’ll share this once more. In case you’ve already read it, I apologize 🙂 .
A radical change in perspective is never easy. Altering that already instinctive angle – be it broad or narrow – from which we regard life is a challenge, to say the least. As a person with somewhat twisted values and ideas (in certain respects), yet who is so stubborn that she hardly ever changes her opinions, I am also aware of the ineffable necessity of never forgetting to keep an open mind, especially when having to reach various conclusions. That’s why I normally perceive the idea of changing my perspective as a positive endeavour.
I would have smiled at the sight of that coffee cup, had I not been so displeased to find myself there. I was invited to have a seat at the dining room table and I was flanked by the two of them, one on each side. My eyes wondered around the room I had known my entire life, a room which was unchanged, a room which didn’t feel familiar at all. I wasn’t saying anything. Neither was she, but I knew that look, that fidgety stance, when she just waited for a person’s first sentence in order to pounce on them with all sorts of accusations. Continue reading “Angles Of The China Pattern”
I often get lost in details; and I love it… I also hate it. Let me explain. I tend to overanalyze, so naturally details are my best friend in such a context. I see more of them than I would sometimes like and there are situations when I need to switch off my brain for a moment or two, in order to properly focus on the bigger picture. I find delight in details and I think they offer people and life in general that special “je ne sais quoi” I have a great memory for these essential spices of life and it’s great fun inadvertently associating quirky details to individuals and situations; they create a unique picture, setting apart moments and people. Continue reading “Details, Details”
Today I would like to thank Tina, Amy, Ann-Christine and Patti – the hosts of the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – for a year of wonderfully inspiring challenges and for the beautiful photos they have shared with us. You’ve done a great job! Congratulations and Happy Anniversary!
If I were to choose a favourite month, June would probably be it. There is something about this month… Good things have happened to me in June, it often marked the beginning of beautiful stories, and it always filled me with energy and hope. It’s that time of year when everything feels possible.
I’m not sure what exactly in our conversation prompted her statement. I do remember we were both in primary school at the time, so she no longer lived in our building, even if she was visiting her grandmother a lot. I had a vague idea about the part of town where she and her parents lived – it was the kind of area you went through on your way to somewhere else. To me, she was the same girl I knew for as long as I could remember. We were the same age and as close as children who start developing memories and ideas while growing together can be, and that was the only reason why I was still allowed to play with her. Continue reading ““When We See A Tree, We Celebrate It!””
I could say I was in the park looking for some beautiful flowers to photograph. After all, I do believe there is something very special about their delicate appearance, making them a good choice for Ann-Christine’s challenge. In spite of looking so delicate, flowers are often surprisingly resilient. No, I wasn’t going to overthink this. Continue reading “Delicate”
She was still yelling when I bid her goodbye, turned my back and left. I had said screamed my piece, there was nothing more to add. She was not getting anything from me. I was already home, the door closed loudly behind me, once again emphasizing the end of our “conversation”, but she was still yelling out there, arguing by herself. Oh well… It was about time for another one of these. Continue reading “When Bad Fights Make For Good Neighbours”
I didn’t know I knew nature. I was just a child and I had this distorted idea that nature was supposed to be something so extraordinary, that mere mortals had no access to it. Well… I did get the “extraordinary” part right, as it turns out; but I had yet to learn about understated beauty and about patiently waiting to reveal itself. Nature’s beauty can often be striking, but that’s not the rule…
It was some of the conversations we had that made it seem like a good idea. Seeing me absorbed by the new toy, pleased and grinning from ear to ear, Santa noted that apparently “it pays to listen”. Continue reading “The Surprise Present”
There are no warning signs in life. Nothing cautions you about those bends in the road ahead or about what they may hide. There is nothing telling you it might be wise to adjust your speed, break or change gears. Those curves simply happen and there’s no telling how challenging they can be, not until they’re already behind. Continue reading “Curves”
Travel as much as you can, it’ll leave you with something nobody can take away from you, my mother told me a long time ago. I made a habit of ignoring her advice most of the times, but she was right about this one.
For as long as I can remember, even as a child, I couldn’t wait to pack my bags and go on a trip. Also, for a very long time, I believed the greatest traveling adventure would be the next one. Like it or not, you learn that’s not always the case, just as that’s not necessarily a healthy way to perceive experiences, no matter what kind they are. As the years passed, I learnt something else about myself and travelling – not all travel opportunities should be taken, one shouldn’t embark on absolutely all journeys, just because they’re within reach. Continue reading “A Time To Travel And A Time To Stay Home”
I have mixed feelings about 2018… and overthinking various moments and decisions of the year which recently came to its end won’t help, that much I know. I also know I’m not the only one in this situation; like many others, I’m trying to focus on accomplishments, positive outcomes and lessons learnt from those less than pleasant moments. In spite of everything else, I still manage to hold on to that feeling of contentment I was mentioning in December.
Winter holidays are probably that time of year when ghosts of our past are most likely to come out and dig their dirty fingernails into wounds closed long ago, hoping to pry them open and make them bleed once more. And if there’s ever a chance for them to succeed…
Well, at least that’s what this time of year is like for me. So here I am, lights twinkling in the tree, Christmas songs playing… and I’m angry dancing in my fuzzy bathrobe and equally fuzzy slippers while brushing my teeth, late at night. Before you say it, no, I can’t blame this on too much mulled wine; that’s simply who I am. Continue reading “Christmas Ghosts”
Someone was telling me the other day that she wasn’t happy because she couldn’t find at least half an hour each day to reflect on the possibility of being happy – certain people in particular and the world in general were plotting to make her miserable, while she had nothing to do with it. I will refrain from any comment on this person’s choices and lifestyle (sometimes I’m actually able to choose my battles), but I will say this much, it made me think of my own issues with happiness. Continue reading “How Not To Be Happy”
I shouldn’t play favourites, I know, but out of nature’s elements, water is the one I prefer. I may have already mentioned it once or twice. So when Patti from Lens-Artists suggested “Splash” for this week’s challenge, countless stories flooded my mind. I have to agree with her when she says, “water is magical. Its beauty, power and persistence are unsurpassed.” So is its ability to surprise and amaze, I was reminded today, as I was struggling with my feelings towards the first snow of this early winter. Continue reading “A Splash Of Snow By The Sea”
Be open to new experiences… be open to trying new things and meeting new people… open all the doors you find in your way and something good will always come of it… and if you cannot open the doors yourself, do everything in your power to find some way or someone who can do it for you… have your doors, much like your arms, open to everybody, nothing bad can come of it… How about knowing when to close those metaphorical doors Continue reading “Those Doors…”
We rushed into the restaurant just as a cold November drizzle started to dampen the cobblestone. It was warm and inviting, a waiter smiled at us and the plates he was carrying looked promising. I chose a table by the window. I wanted to see the square outside. I also wanted a drink, I thought to myself, taking in the place, as I was warming up, sitting comfortably with a menu in front of me. Not too bad, even if touristy. But how else would it be? After all, it was Montmartre… I just hope the food is good.Continue reading “November Night, Artistic Light”
None of the other children are going, so you’re not going either. If everybody else jumped off a bridge, would you join them? Why can’t you be more like everybody else? You need to be better than everyone else. Look at them, they’re not causing any trouble, so why do you have to go about attracting attention? You need to stand up for yourself. You have to let go. You need to get involved. Why do you have to care so much? You have to study and be the best at what you do, that’s the only way you’ll make something of yourself and become an independent woman. Continue reading “Blend In And Stand Out”
From dancing on tables to reading a good book, from walking aimlessly on a sunny day to carefully planned journeys, from teaching a child how to write to taking pleasure in others’ misfortune or even causing it, from being high on life to getting high to bear life, there certainly is fun to be had out there. Now, now… let’s not be too judgemental. After all, much like sorrow, “fun” is a terribly subjective concept. What hurts me, might not touch you – but that won’t diminish my pain. What you find extremely entertaining might not appeal to me, or might even be beyond my power of comprehension, yet it doesn’t mean you’re not having fun.
Promises are made to be broken, they say. Well, this one certainly was. There I was, standing in front of my bookcase once more, trying to make room for my latest purchases.
Sigh… I promised myself not to do this anymore. Living in a small flat, being a person who hates clutter, I am painfully aware that if my shoes don’t kick me out to get more space for themselves, then my books just might. And I hate throwing away books… or shoes…
It’s not the last day of August. I’m not thinking of the autumnal equinox either. There’s this one day every autumn when I get the distinct feeling that’s the end of summer. Sometimes it sneaks up on me; other times it goes by unnoticed and later I regret it. But when I do notice it, I have my little ritual…
It’s often enough to look up from your computer, your desk or the countless other things that clutter your life, and you notice it… you feel it. Of course, checking that weather app on your phone to figure out for how long you can leave some flower pots outside might also prove helpful… That’s what reminded me that I could put off bringing in the plants, but I can’t “postpone” that final hot beautiful summer day of the year. So it was time for one more barefoot walk on the beach. Continue reading “Last Day of Summer”