Christmas eve crazy – I was in the middle of all the good stuff; the kids and the music, the cooking and the cleaning, lights and movies, Noel, oh well, and fa-la-la…
but I could feel the days and weeks of balancing sickness and celebration catching up with me…my own colours were fading as I poured out in different directions what was necessary and needed. Then I caught a glimpse of the sky from my kitchen window. And just like that, I grabbed my camera and flip-flopped out into a gale to follow the light and colour I saw swirling behind our tree line. I kept chasing that ever-changing scene, crossing our flooded stream and holding on to the ground so that I could reach some breath-taking beauty, so that I could breathe in the wild wonder of it for just a few precious minutes… I didn’t care about the cold or the mud or the possibility of burning cookies, I needed to be there in that place…to wonder as I wander once again…
A new year comes in a few short hours…most of us have no idea what it will bring. But just in case it’s crazy and busy and full of things we’ve not planned for, let us not forget to look out our window, to run to beauty – however fleeting – to get our toes in the dirt and feel this life as we live it.
The landscape we call home is timeless: a patch of Scottish moorland dotted with sheep and cows, watered by a spring, blown by gales, sheltered by trees that were once a hedge. The land is still and swiftly moving all at once. The shifting patterns of October rain, wind, light, cloud and quiet create an ever-changing view. And when I choose to look, to really see, the panorama expands before me and I discover treasure in my everyday…in the familiar rhythms of life-as-normal.
All of these photographs were taken in the past couple of weeks, right outside our farmhouse. Sometimes I need to be reminded that there is beauty in our routine places. Maybe this has reminded you, too. Be encouraged.
Walking out my front door I am caught in a moment – something so beautiful confronts me that I am stilled and silent in the middle of my rushing. Before me is a display of colour and contrast that is overtaking the sky and I am altered by its fleeting light…hushed by its rolling melodies…
and my eyes are adjusted to focus further than the clock. and my mind is flooded with colour and possibilities. and my heart feels full.
A photograph cannot capture these moments in their entirety, but maybe they will inspire you to pause and consider your surroundings.
Where is beauty in today? Be encouraged.
I’d finally gotten enough time in the studio to start some serious painting – 3 small works in a series begun! I was feeling virtuous and creative and then…THE ELECTRICITY WENT OUT. No joke – high gales knocked out everything. Here in Scotland, that means candlelight from about 4:30 pm onwards. sigh. Frustrated, and without anything like the internet or a dishwasher or TV to distract me, I decided to try something totally new – my husband’s LED headlamp. Armed with a whole new way to see, (and a rather ridiculous new look) I went to work. Thirty hours without power produced a lot of smoke from the wood stove, piles of dirty laundry, heaps of dishes, a hundred candle stubs, AND a finished painting! Maybe I should title it “Lemonade”.
The paint just ran away from me. The colours took an unexpected turn.
I could not call them back into the predestined order of shade and hue.
I had a choice to make:
fight the shift or put my whole heart into it,
wallow in a soon-to-be mud pit or paint my way into a new vista.
This painting did not turn out as I had planned, but I’m so glad now that I didn’t give up on it.
If you are in a creative struggle or a LIFE struggle, don’t lose heart. Strength and beauty are forged in the fire.
Sometimes, we spend too much of our day looking into or out of a window.
Your best encounter – inspiration – view may just be waiting right outside that piece of glass.