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.

Spring Joy #30

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Sure, puppy love is sweet, but what say you about some cormorant love? 🙂 These two were so sweet with their PDA. I don’t know much about cormorants, so I was impressed with how affectionate they were. But I was spying from afar and then I cropped, cropped, cropped, which explains the quality of these photos. Still, I wanted to share these sweet moments with you.

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Spring Joy #27

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Lots of adorable hedgehogs in the nearby park this year… 🙂 I was lucky enough to see five different ones out and about during an evening walk. But it was dark and they were constantly on the move, so not many chances of decent shots… The flash seemed to make them freeze, but as you can notice, one of them is trying to hide behind the other, so I think it frightens them. That’s why I chose not to overdo it. 

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Spring Joy

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Spring 2020, a time of fear, death and lockdown, was also a time of understanding the value of something as simple as freedom of movement. Perched on my windowsill, I photographed birds, trees and flowers, wishing I could be out there, walk in a park or on a beach, go for a hike, the way I had done countless times before. Once I learned what it felt like to no longer have it, I promised myself to no longer take that sort of pleasure for granted in the future.

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Spring 2022 is also a time of fear, death and freedom appreciation, albeit of a different kind. It’s shaking us to the core, yet again making us question our values and actions. Or at least so it should… although we, humans, seem to have repeatedly failed to learn our lesson.

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Once again, it’s time for coping mechanisms to kick in. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to ignore or deny the harsh reality; at the same time, I’m also trying to keep that small promise I made myself back in 2020, because I do need to find something uplifting to just keep me going, and not going crazy.

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In an attempt to put a smile on your faces and mine, hoping to bring you some joy, I’m going to share some images I’ve captured while trying to escape my own thoughts this spring. Nature’s beauty and innocence can still provide such a soothing refuge… I hope you enjoy them.

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Stay safe, everyone! And instead to endeavouring to return to a kind of “normal” which is exactly the root of our problems, maybe we could learn from our past mistakes.

 

 

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…