I am usually a purist when it comes to photos, I don’t like computer art very much. It always seems contrived and inorganic. So when I take a picture, I try to stay away from working it too hard on the computer. My joy comes from creating a picture that doesn’t need a lot of manipulation beyond a little cropping.
Today, it’s a bit on the hot side out there so I hurried to take some pictures only to find that they weren’t all that great. So instead of going back out, I decided to play with the toggles on iPhoto (easier than going into Photoshop although not as much fun) and see what I could do. It’s amazing…if you aren’t worried about capturing the piece “as is” you can get some cool effects. I let go of my purist stance and played with color and exposure. I’m still not sure it’s all that great a photo/piece of art, but for me, it was an interesting process.
Today I was wandering around the property, checking out this and that. The sunflowers are mostly coming up, the pears are looking good. But the peaches? Man, they are looking awesome. It’s gonna be a banner year for peaches.
My dog, Ginger, is thrilled. She loves peaches. She is already sitting under the tree, waiting for them to get bigger and ripen. She has been known to jump up into the tree to get the peaches. (if you knew Ginger, you would know that it takes a lot to motivate her to do anything but lie down and digest. Jumping is low on her list of favorite activities. But peaches are really special.)
I am getting smarter, little by little, when it comes to fruit trees. I am of the “the least amount of work, the better” school of fruit gardening. I did learn my lesson in the past couple of years, especially the year that was such a good harvest that the tree was bending over and touching the ground. This year, I am plucking off the smaller buds in order to have fewer, but larger and tastier peaches.
After holding them in my hand, I thought that they deserved a little more recognition before they go in the woods…so here is my homage to Andy Goldsworthy.
This is one of my favorite times of year, the time when the peonies and iris come out in profusion, and I am able to start putting flowers in a vase again. There is something so wholly satisfying about being able to clip flowers and eat veggies that you grew yourself. In true human fashion, my ego says that it all because of me, but I really know that it is the miracle of the garden, you put a seed, a rhizome or a cutting into the earth, water it, feed it and you get to enjoy the literal fruits of your labor. It’s so cool!
I have a tendency to be drawn to color, but also to different textures and interesting leaves. While the iris, rhodies and peonies fit the bill for color (and smell!), I love the variegated geranium for its delicate flowers and its wonderful leaves.
Now you all get to enjoy the mass of color and texture that is my garden.
How does one see art in everyday life when there is a cloud that occasionally floats into your brain and obstructs your view? And yes, I am thinking of Joe Versus the Volcano when Tom Hanks was told he had a brain cloud. In the not-so-distant past, I was struggling with this cloud on a daily basis. It colored everything I did and thought. It affected my sleep, my eating, and how I felt about the world and myself. Sometimes, my brain did not fire on all cylinders, and waking up in the morning was excruciatingly painful. I stopped working and creating, I stopped exercising, I even stopped eating for a while. It took a long time, a lot of work and an amazingly supportive cast of characters for me to pull myself out of the spiral. It also took the realization that brain chemistry is a major part of one’s daily life. The thoughts I had were due to low levels of certain chemicals in my brain. I did not have control of the brain, but I had control of how I dealt with it and how I could make things better. Exercise was a big component. Making lists helped a lot. I also learned that medication is not the anti-Christ, it is just a tool that may or may not help the brain to work in a productive way again. It’s not perfect but I chose to live life, not just to survive it.
Recently I was reminded of this delicate balance when I took a generic that didn’t work well in my body. I am aware that there are good days and bad days, even now, but all of a sudden the parameters were being stretched further than I was comfortable with. I have changed the meds to one made by a different manufacturer and I am starting to feel a little more stable again.
Okay, if you have continued to read this far, I will get to the point. This is not a post designed to be a pity party, it’s just a musing on how grateful I am to be able to see art in my daily life again, to find the amazing pictures and stories that inhabit my existence. They were always there, even when the cloud took residence in my brain. Occasionally I could see them. But It is absolutely wonderful to not only see them but to enjoy them…and enjoy them I do, perhaps more than I ever did before.
I don’t ever want to go back to the cloudy days and most of the time, I don’t want to go back to the pre-cloudy days. Each day is still a crapshoot in many ways, but I can count on having at least one moment a day when I think…”damn, I’m lucky”. Something or someone (usually my husband) makes me laugh out loud, sometimes I even startle myself with my laughter. And it feels good.
I took my camera and walked outside this afternoon. I am continually amazed that I don’t have to go more than twenty paces to start finding interesting things to take pictures of. My Kwanza cherry is letting go of its petals and I love seeing the blanket of them on the ground. They are beautiful AND soft. Yes, I stepped on them with my bare feet.
They provided several minutes of intense concentration and picture taking. I even went back out to capture a few more pictures.
I went a few more paces and came upon my neighbor’s horses, all of them fairly close to the fence by the driveway. I’ve been wanting to try to capture them for quite some time and today was my first attempt. I think I need more practice.
Ringo was too interested in the camera to let me get anything other than his big, fat, inquisitive nose.
Lucky was way more interested in grazing, besides the big, fat, inquisitive nose dude was in the way…he is really an attention hog. Lucky and I only get quality time when Ringo is elsewhere.
And then there’s Mascara, the old lady of the bunch. She is definitely the lowest on the attention totem pole, so I don’t often get any nearer than this…but I love seeing her in the field of buttercups.
I have to say that writing this blog allows me to have a good reason to take my time and find these moments so close to home. I’ve always been fascinated with the things in my life that seem so small and yet so profound. Thank you for sharing them with me!